Much ado about “Whitey”

While I have avoided covering this rumor here on these pages, this week we may finally see an end (one wary or the the other) to speculation about an alleged tape showing Michelle Obama saying “Whitey” in a racially charged speech. While real data on this has been impossible to locate, finger pointing has gone on from all sides. Some charged that no such tape even exists and it’s all more “dirty tricks” by the Republicans. Others claim that there may, in fact, be such a tape but it’s in the hands of the Clinton campaign. Most of the blog buzz seems to be coming from Larry Johnson’s No Quarter, where updates this morning and previous posts from the weekend claim that not only does such a tape exist, but that it’s “in the hands of a TV network.

Republican strategist Roger Stone: “this has little to do with the general election and a lot to do with why hillary clinton is staying in the race. look, there is already a buzz in washington at least seven news organizations have contacted me. wanting to know how to get their hands on this tape, giving me more information than i had after i had spoken to each one of them. i now believe the tape exists and i believe a network has it. if this pans to out to be true based on michele obama’s previous comment that this is the first time she had been proud of her country which i think shows an attitude it is problematic.

I found myself nodding in agreement with an associate I spoke to over the weekend who said the following.

If there is such a tape, and I’m not saying there it, but if it exists it’s in the hands of the Clinton camp. Think about it… if the Republicans had that tape you’d never see it until October. Clinton’s coming into the last two primaries this week. It’s back against the wall time. If she’s got that tape she’ll use it before the [superdelegates] jump ship to Barack and bury her once and for all.

Doing some more reading this morning I came across an account of what the alleged tape may actually include. (Keeping in mind that this is still all strictly rumor at this point.) At Booman Tribune, we find Booman claiming that the tape does exist and shows Michelle Obama criticizing previous actions of the Bush administration.

How you’d write it:

Why did Bush cut folks off medicaid?
Why did Bush let New Orleans drown?
Why did Bush do nothing about Jena?
Why did Bush put us in Iraq for no reason?

How you’d say it:

Why’d he cut folks off medicaid?
Why’d he let New Orleans drown?
Why’d he do nothing about Jena?
Why’d he put us in Iraq for no reason?

How Larry Johnson wants you to hear it:

Whitie cut folks off medicaid?
Whitie let New Orleans drown?
Whitie do nothing about Jena?
Whitie put us in Iraq for no reason
?

If, as Booman claims, this is the speech in question and its proponents are attempting to turn “why’d he” into “whitey” I think there are two significant pieces of fallout. First, Larry Johnson has been blogging for quite a while now. He’s a former CIA spy with many contacts and an interesting perspective to bring to us. Backing a tape like this would likely be a crippling shot to his credibility. But secondly, even if the charges turn out to be completely false, once the rumor is out there it never goes away. The endless whisper campaigns which haunt the steps of all high profile candidates will already be put in motion. There are still voters who come on TV and say they don’t like the fact that Obama is a Muslim. (He never was.) They are bothered by his attending a Muslim school indoctrinating him to hate Christians. (Didn’t happen.) And now, there will be those claiming that his wife is a racist who runs around screaming about how evil “whitey” is.

Mr. Johnson claims that at 9 AM today (a few minutes from now) the “big news” will be coming out. Stay tuned. Will this story turn out to be a boom or a bust. We’ll keep an eye on it for you.