Sadly, there isn't the slightest chance liberals will forgo the race narrative in this presidential race because painting the other side as racist is essential to their need to feel morally superior.
They can't accept Obama's candidacy as evidence of progress toward racial equality. They can't permit the advancement of colorblindness because they sense it is detrimental both to their political interests and their self-esteem. After all, if liberals lost their self-anointment as moral paragons, they'd have nothing left because their policy agenda has the track record of an Edsel, with the exception that it won't ever be taken off the market.
A mainstream media favorite, MSNBC's Howard Fineman, in a piece criticizing McCain for allegedly painting Barack Obama as less American and patriotic than McCain, couldn't help but throw in a pointed reference to race.
In describing the attendees at a Pennsylvania event for McCain that McCain surrogate Joe Lieberman headlined, Fineman wrote: "The crowd comprised a slice of America that McCain needs if he intends to win Pennsylvania and the election. And that slice is: white (I did not spot a single African American in the crowd), rural, 'exurban,' and mostly Protestant, with local roots stretching back centuries."
See who always brings up this subject? What conservative would spend his time obsessing on skin color to the point of surveying the crowd for evidence of racial diversity? And what conservative would refer to American Caucasians as a "slice" of America, as if whites were some monolithic voting bloc?
But now that you brought it up, Howard, I suppose all of us commentators, as fellow masters of the obvious, can acknowledge that because Barack Obama is uniformly projected to capture 90 percent of the African-American vote and the majority of Hispanics, simple arithmetic dictates McCain has to win a majority of white voters.
So in the very column Fineman condemns McCain for supposedly playing the patriotism card "to scare the bejesus out of … Southern whites, evangelical Christians and combative neocons," he dutifully plays the race card to scare and shame whites with all the subtlety one might expect from a liberal media soldier.
But Fineman is just one of hundreds of the media megaphone militia and academic armies foisting race into the campaign. They cannot and, more importantly, will not let it go.