Mary Katharine Ham

I’m a racist. You’re a racist. He’s a racist. She’s a racist. Wouldn’t you like to be a racist, too?

This election cycle has sounded like a sicko version of that old Dr. Pepper ad. So many people are racists, it’s hard to keep up!

Let’s take a look at this week’s charges of racism, which come from the Left. They focus on two ads in the Tennessee Senate race. This race features Republican Bob Corker and Democrat Harold Ford, Jr. Corker is a white, former mayor of Chattanooga, and owner of a successful construction business. Ford is a black Congressman from a prominent political family in the state.

Here’s the TV ad in question. Go ahead and watch it. I’ll be here when you get back. The alleged racism lies in the fact that a white, blonde woman says, “I met Harold at the Playboy party,” and entreats him to call her at the end of the ad. The theory of those crying racism is that the idea of a white woman fraternizing with a black man was meant to conjure up some good Old South feelings about interracial dating.

It’s a serious reach to assume that was the intent of the Republican National Committee. Had they featured a black woman asking him to call her, I’m sure there would have been some coded message there as well, like, “Harold Ford should stick to his kind.” I don’t know how the liberal mind works, but I’ve gotta believe if it weren’t this racial overreach, it would have been another one.

People disagree with me on this. Republicans disagree with me on it. Ken Mehlman said he understands the other side’s point of view and Corker disavowed the ad on the grounds that it was “tacky.” Others have told me it was a Republican gaffe, racist or not, because it could be read as racist. Well, frankly, if we limit our political advertising things that won’t offend liberals, we will have no political advertising.

Try the other one on for size. It’s a radio ad, once again anti-Ford. Listen to it, here.

Now, the “racist” story behind this one is that there are drums as soundtrack to the parts of the ad that talk about Harold Ford. Liberal blogs have referred to them as “tom-toms” and “jungle drums,” and suggested that they’re meant to evoke images of Africa, the Dark Continent, thus turning off lily white Southern voters. Of course, it’s hard to make the argument that the anti-Ford ad is accentuating Ford’s ethnic “savagery” when the ad copy refers to his prep-school education and Northeastern roots.

Mary Katharine Ham

Mary Katharine Ham is editor-at-large of, a contributor to Townhall Magazine.

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