Jesse Jackson is right.
In response to the face-off in Arizona between President Obama and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer last week, Jackson said, "Even George Wallace did not put his finger in Dr. King's face." And it's true; he didn't. Similarly, not even Josef Stalin wrote two autobiographies the way Obama has. And even Genghis Khan didn't have a Swiss bank account the way Mitt Romney did.
Of course, Jackson's non sequitur is a single note in the cacophony of asininity surrounding the wildly overhyped confrontation between Obama and Brewer. An MSNBC host (and putative expert in matters racial) said the photo reminded her more than anything else of the iconic image of Elizabeth Eckford, the 15-year-old black girl who was harassed in 1957 by racists on her way to a desegregated school in Little Rock, Ark. And liberal talk radio host Stephanie Miller concurred that Brewer was "playing the fragile-white-woman-scared-of-black-man card." Al Sharpton, Bill Maher and Maureen Dowd sounded similar refrains.
Lost in all of this is the simple fact that the president instigated the confrontation. He was upset with how an earlier meeting with Brewer was characterized in her book, "Scorpions for Breakfast" (full disclosure: my wife collaborated on the book). She probably shouldn't have raised her finger, even if it was only to get a word in edgewise.
But good Lord, given the liberal overreaction to this incident, you'd think the governorship of Arizona outranked the presidency, or that Obama was a beleaguered civil rights activist sneaking into Arizona by cover of night, and not the president of the United States touching down in Air Force One.
Obama simply messed up a campaign swing by stepping on his message. But his most ardent supporters had to turn the incident into some sort of racial Gotterdammerung. Obama had it right later when he said it was all "not a big deal."
But this absurd controversy is surely a harbinger of greater inanities to come. As even some Democrats in Washington concede, Obama can't run on his record. That's why he's running against a "do-nothing Congress" and unfairness in the tax code. That's simply not exciting enough for his supporters, particularly given the fizzling of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
And nothing more excites the base of the Democratic Party -- or gets more free media -- than wildly implausible hysterics over racism, even when there's so little evidence to support the claim.
Take what appears to be the left's strongest claim: Newt Gingrich's blowout victory in South Carolina was a triumph for his racist "dog-whistle" political rhetoric on child labor and the huge rise in food stamp use under Obama.