Obama: Get Ready For GOP To Play The Race Card

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In what has to be one of the most blunt preemptive political statements ever, Democratic presumptive nominee Barack Obama has warned supporters at a fund raiser about a rough campaign to come where he fully GOPers to play the race card:

“It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to run on their stewardship of the economy or their outstanding foreign policy,” Obama told a fundraiser in Jacksonville, Florida. “We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run. They’re going to try to make you afraid.

“They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?”

Of course, the reality is that if it’s done it won’t be done as crassly as that.

It’ll be done via images and code words. Remember the (in)famous photo of Obama in African garb? It was the best of both worlds for demonizers: it was suggested he looked like a Muslim but it turned out and reported it was African dress.

UPDATE:

But NOTE this: So far in campaign 2008 the controversies about playing the race card have involved Democrats. Senator Hillary Clinton’s campaign was accused of raising the race issue in a subtle way…and then in some not so subtle ways: her husband Bill Clinton was widely condemned for some comments he made and Clinton herself was denounced by many for talking about her support from hard-working white voters.

And the African garb photo? It turned out it was given to the Drudge Report — the website that has launched dozens of (sometime planted) political controversies — by a Clinton staffer. Some Clinton supporters not officially connected with the campaign have also been the most adamant about the existence of the Michelle Obama “whitey” tape which most now believe does not exist and they are seemingly the most eager to get it on the web.

Is Obama just being politically crafty or paranoid or both? Perhaps entirely not. This week it became evident that the McCain campaign was using a lot of Hillary Clinton’s old attack lines on him. The GOP is using what worked against Obama in the primaries. If some even freelancing GOPers think the Clinton campaigns alleged race card use worked (and the Clintonistas deny they were ever raising the race issue) the “issue” could surface again.

(UPDATE ENDS)

If the race card is played, it would be done in a way so there would be plausible deniability so if the issue is raised whoever is accused of using racist tactics could say: “That isn’t what we said or suggested. You’re now raising the race card! You’re paranoid! You’re PC!” But a visitor from Mars and the vast majority of Americans will know the message has been thrown out there if it’s thrown out there and so will the old and new media.

The question: how will Obama confront it, if it happens? And if the card is indeed played, can it boomerang?

Obama also added this:

He said he was also set for Republicans to say “he’s got a feisty wife,” in trying to attack his wife Michelle.

“We know the strategy because they’ve already shown their cards. Ultimately I think the American people recognize that old stuff hasn’t moved us forward. That old stuff just divides us,” he said.

But that’s not the issue. Even those who use these tactics know it is divisive. The fact is: divisive tactics work and they’re part of existing American political culture. Is the Obama campaign ready to respond if the politics of division is played big-time this campaign season?

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  • DLS

    The question is, how low can some playpen leftist Obama voters go?

    It's pretty bad when none other than *** NPR *** corrected, criticized, and outright lectured the Obama campaign this morning for exploiting race and their own misuse of racism. (What was said about Obama and his campaign applies to the worst Obama camp followers here and elsewhere, too.)

  • Silhouette

    Indeed.

    It was I who talked recently about the two faces of racism:

    1. To denigrate or suppress someone based on race or skin color in spite of their acheivements

    2. To promote or idolize someone based on race or skin color in spite of their acheivements.

    Both shamefully ignore the individual him/herself…
    ****
    Obama has opted for racist track #2. He was the one who blatantly stole his credibility from the late and great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and promoted himself on the identity of his absentee Kenyan finance-minister father's race, after he himself was raised in a white household in Hawaii. And the worst of it all is how he exterminated those fellow minority progressive campaigners in Chicago on trivial details he himself was likely guitly of.

    “Change”…my hiney. He actually is more brazenly entrenched in dirty politics than quite a lot of GOP oldtimers. Brazen, or is he careless? Did he think in today's world with online information at the tip of everyone's fingertips that his nefarious performance AGAINST minorities in Chicago, published by the Chicago Tribune, would stay dead and buried?

    The audacity: Stealing King Jr.'s persona all while abusing the very people King Jr. represented…I have this cold icky feeling inside when I remember voting for him in the primaries…

    The GOP doesn't have to play the race card. Obama himself already beat them to the punch.

  • DLS

    *** BOTH *** sides of the table (and Obama's side was shameless!)

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?st

  • DLS

    “Obama has opted for racist track #2. “

    Riding the PC wave, as we see here, too, yes; but now he's Copying Clinton (fake systemic sexism in society) by setting himself up to be a Victim [tm] and falsely accusing the other side of racist track #1, exploiting that side of the issue, too.

    I'll beat the worst lefties on here to the most slick pathetic argument that can be made: perhaps this already shows the extent of Clinton's campaign personnel and strategy in Obama's campaign now that the Clinton team is joining Obama.

    It doesn't excuse the pre-racism racism accusation at all.

  • Silhouette

    Another thing about this article's title is something worth noting.

    It is assumed that if anyone notices a glaring foible about Barack Obama, it is automatically assigned as GOP originated. Here we go with the implied threat: “get onboard the Obama (soon to derail) train or else we'll label you a neocon”.

    I'm tired of this abuse as a moderate democrat. We have every right to look closely at the insidious nature of a man we are considering promoting as our representative to the highest office in the land. And we don't have to be associated with horrible people because we are doing so. Many Clinton supporters who would have nothing to do with the GOP and will opt instead to write-in Hillary Clinton this Fall are against Obama's nomination from the raw and sordid facts of his past, his manipulation of reverse racism and his sad lack of experience in the job he's applying for.

    We don't need to be associated with the GOP in order to notice this. Give us a break!

  • D. E.Rodriguez

    “We have every right to look closely at the insidious nature of a man we are considering promoting as our representative to the highest office in the land.”

    Apparently this poster has a priori made up his/her mind that Obama has an “insidious nature” and will now “closely look at” it. This is quite revealing

  • vwcat

    The Texas RNC conventional was peddling a button about Obama's race and the white house.
    So, yeah, it's gonna be used.
    But, I heard some of what he said and it also sounded like Obama was having some fun and riffing with the whole thing.
    And though he rarely uses his race, he will do so sometimes in making jokes or riffing as he did at the Father's Day speech.
    I think so it is less a subject that is hanging out there but, avoided more then anything.
    But, it is something that will used because the clintons used it so much, it figures the republicans will do so as well.

  • DLS

    “Another thing about this article's title is something worth noting”

    I noticed instead the “pre-emptive” remark (which may or may not have had ugly motives behind it, i.e., dishonesty as we see with the PC crowd, who behaves as if it's 1960 rather than 2008 when it comes to racism) and the quite dishonest PC claim, which is a routine liberal lie, that when we observe no racism, it's still there (we must have our myths to cherish, after all), just in “code” [sic]. (The prediction based on this “claim” also in this article is worthless.)

    Things fall down, not up. No, there is no “code” used in a sinister fashion by our Evil Victimizing Oppressive Society [sic] concealing the actual upward motion.

  • DLS

    “Apparently this poster has a priori made up his/her mind that Obama has an 'insidious nature' and will now 'closely look at' it. “

    It does not follow, of course, that this is referring to Obama's race, but to, for example, his record, in the same way we'd be viewing Daley's record back in Chicago or the record of Hillary or Bill Clinton. Now, a lot of losers in our society will say it is all about race, even though it isn't, and it's they who are in need of a great degree of self “pre-emption” as well as getting their heads back in the air like the rest of us.

    I thought originally of saying “fifty points,” but that is hyperbolic — if the GOP tried a truly racist attack on Obama (not the dishonest “racism” the loser Left will claim), it would lose several percentage points immediately and permanently, not to mention the Presidential election. (The interesting speculation would be about to what depth it would lower the GOP's election results this year in other contests.)

  • DLS

    Or as Scott Simon said on NPR, most people are aware this year that Barack Obama is black — AND THEY DON'T CARE.

    (far left lies notwithstanding)

  • runasim

    The media and blogs are badly misusing the notion of paranoia in Obama's statement. As is customary, they react to headlines without bothering to research the stories under the headlines.
    i read that Hillary's campaign had to take down a website, because it was overrun by frightenlingly foul sexisr attacks, even threatening ones.
    Obama experienced a lot of personal in-your-face racism while campaigning, and there have been overt, explicit racial remarks by local GOP politicians and groups
    I'm sure their staffs also read blogs and the comments on blogs, and the blogosphere gets very ugly. Some websites seem to relish the ugliness..

    Talking about candidate 'paranoia', then, is largely a superficial reading of the political world. They all have good reasons to be concerned. Notice the bodyguards?

    Hillary and Obama reacted diferently, though. Hillary's camp chose to complain very publically.
    Obama's camp chose to keep it out of headlines as much as possible.
    Therefore, perceptions are different, and I'm not sure that there is a clear “better' way that, in the end, benefits the candidate.
    Some women are definitely overdoing it and are creating a backlash against Hillary.
    Since Obama has not gone public before, the reaction is stronger when he does.

    I do wish commenters would resist making on-the-fly assesments withoutt looking more fully into what theiy're commenting acout.
    They, too, are often just trying to make headlines, though. and research time can be an inconvenience. Often it's a purposeful exercise in creating false perceptions.

    It's just plain dangerous how much is dominated by perrceptions rather than reality..

  • runasim

    About Hillary's role in the racist card.

    Obama can't very well refer to it publically now that the Dem healing process is underway. That;s why he limited his remards to the GOP, i think.

  • Silhouette

    “Apparently this poster has a priori made up his/her mind that Obama has an “insidious nature” and will now “closely look at” it. This is quite revealing”~Doriancito

    ***

    Wrong. Anyone here who's read my posts of late will tell you I am basing my comment on direct knowledge of Obama's extermination of fellow progressive minorities in the Chicago bid for Senator. Here's the link so you yourself can see where my “prejudice” comes from. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-07

    Nice try by the way.

  • chyng

    Nice try Silhouette or as your friends call you Carl Rove! Every one knows that the Chicago Tribune is a Right wingnut birdcage liner just like the NY Times, You want the truth, if you can handle it, its at Huffpo.

  • http://themoderatevoice.com T_Steel

    Senator Obama is the FIRST black candidate to get the nomination for a major political in the USA ever! For all the people and groups who don't care about his race, there are people and groups who do care about is race, and not in a positive light. That's the reality. Senator Obama's comment is said by a sizable amount of black folks off-handedly in some social situations in talking about job interviews, mortgage applications, etc. It's not paranoia. It is the recognition of a minority status and that there are those that will use it against you. Does it mean we can't work with white people? Heck no. Does it mean we can't be friends with white people? Heck no no. Does it mean we are afraid of white people? Heck no no no.

    Why not use the Senator Obama's “first” status in a negative way? There's an audience that is receptive. It may be distasteful but it's the American political way. I expect it and would be BEYOND surprised if “the race card” isn't played.

  • runasim

    Chyng,
    I find that scrolling by commenta by ranters who have lost every shred of credibility is often the only rational response.
    People like that are just having an internal echo-chamber hissy fit. Logic can't get past their mantras, no matter how senseless they are.

  • StockBoySF

    The fact is that racism, sexism and other bigoted beliefs are alive and kicking in this country (and all over the world for that matter).

    The GOP has previously used the race card and they will do so in the future. The GOP will not make bold statements and comments but subtle accusations. The audience the GOP is aiming for will have heard it loud and clear while the rest of us are left debating whether or not the statement was racist, or whether Team Obama is just claiming it's racist. If we have to discuss whether a particular statement is racist or not probably means it is. Though there have been some absolutely horrible twisting of comments during this campaign so it's not a hard and fast rule. Furthermore when people intentionally twist comments to suit their purpose, it distracts from healthy discourse on the truly “bad” statements out there.

    I want to take a moment to get slightly off topic and remind everyone of the very real and positive impact this election has had for both women and African Americans. Two years ago who would have thought that the battle for the Dem. nomination would be between a woman and African American? Even just a few months ago people did not think America was ready for an African American president. This election caused many people to think about their own views on race and gender. It took some courageous people, from all walks of life, to stand up and face bigots down, to say that gender or race did not matter. If these Americans did not speak up when they heard bigoted comments then we would not be where we are today and this shows what a wonderful place our country is. If the candidates value diversity and the citizens they are supposed to lead then they will need to speak out against all forms of bigotry. So far Obama has gone way further than McCain on this, whether it's in support of women, latinos, blacks, gays or other minorities. Obama's warning that the GOP will use bigotry to get votes is simply the truth- they've done it before and continue to do so. I hope the American people see through these GOP tactics and demand a leader that does not allow bigoted comments to go unchallenged.

  • DLS

    “Senator Obama is the FIRST black candidate to get the nomination for a major political in the USA ever!”

    Not everyone is simply PC. There's also (as with Hillary Clinton) that “final hurdle” (being elected President) that is bigger than ever the closer it is getting to being overcome.

  • DLS

    “The GOP has previously used the race card and they will do so in the future.”

    If they do it this year, consider not only the self-destruction of their attempt to retain the White House, but the ripple effect throughout the other elections. Dissatisfaction with the GOP was general, broad, already in 2006; the election results that year were not only about Bush or Iraq, despite what Bush-haters may believe. It was broad dissatisfaction with the GOP in Washington in general, and it's not simply that they behaved as Dems once in power (in the Congress) and even were corrupt, but they still don't offer voters a constructive, positive alternative to the Dems, widespread interventionism, and cradle-to-grave entitlements.

    If they compound their plight by being racist, they'll do as well as the Dems do if the Dems try anything to satisfy “progressives” [sic; radicals]. For every approval they get, they'll lose several more.

  • DLS

    “Even just a few months ago people did not think America was ready for an African American president. “

    Not true. (Nor is the other series of “firsts” you listed.) We were ready for a President Powell in 1996, 2000, 2004. 1992 would have been true as well; we just had a GOP president trying to get re-elected, plus Powell had another job he wasn't ready to leave.

  • StockBoySF

    “We were ready for a President Powell in 1996, 2000, 2004.' I certainly admit that many Americans were ready for a President Powell before now, but not enough Americans were ready to actually elect an African American.

    As far as your comment about the GOP losing support if they pull the race card… on the one hand I agree with you, but on the other hand the GOP has been successful in dividing the country (think gay marriage and the “us v. them” mentality of the Bush administration). So what the Republicans decide to do is what they think will work, not what we think will work with our back seat driving. Just to be clear I don't mean Republicans in general, there are tons of decent and Republicans, I refer to the Republicans who have years of strategy experience and are advisors in these matters.

  • runasim

    “We were ready for a President Powell in 1996, 2000, 2004. 1992 “

    The GOP gets around the problem with electing blacks by appointing them.
    It may have some benefit, anyway, but it repreents avoiding an issue, instead of confronting and solving it.
    Clarence Thomas ended up on the SC due to affirmative action hiding in plain sight. He was far from best, or even well, qualified His primary qualifications were his skin color and his conservatism, although the Repubs didn't understand what kind of conservative he was. They're not good at understanding anyone but themselves, and even there understanding is lacking in scope.