More on Politics and the Great Racial Divide
Worse, Palin’s routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric’s questions for her “less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media.” At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, “Sit down, boy.”
It’s a tightrope walk trying to examine Obama’s character without casting racist overtones. McCain’s campaign wants to bring up that Obama is a relatively inexperienced newbie who’s past associations could call his future judgment into question.
“It’s a dangerous road, but we have no choice,” a top McCain strategist told the Daily News. “If we keep talking about the economic crisis, we’re going to lose.”
Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart agrees that it isn’t racist to ask questions about Obama’s background.
Now, I’m not saying that it’s wrong to ask questions about Obama’s relationship, such as it was, with Bill Ayers. Or with Tony Rezko or with Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Just as it wouldn’t be inappropriate to raise questions about McCain’s association with G. Gordon Liddy, the convicted Watergate burglar whose colorful history includes telling listeners to his radio show in 1994 to shoot federal agents in the head. When McCain went on Liddy’s radio show in November 2007, he told Liddy, “I’m proud of you, I’m proud of your family… It’s always a pleasure for me to come on your program, Gordon, and congratulations on your continued success and adherence to the principles and philosophies that keep our nation great.”
The problem could all be in the language. Kathleen Hall Jamieson is the director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania and has been watching the race. She feels that the vitriol of the supporters has been inflamed by what they have heard on stage and negative commercials that run in key states. Words like “Dangerous … Not truthful … Hypocrite … Disrespectful … Not ready to lead” have helped to shape some voters minds and incite anger.
“Red-meat rhetoric elicits emotional responses in those already disposed by ads using words such as ‘dangerous’ ‘dishonorable’ and ‘risky’ to believe that the country would be endangered by election of the opposing candidate,” she said.