Portside columnist Richard Cohen was first to raise the issue of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Barack's spiritual mentor, whose magazine last year declared that Louis Farrakhan "epitomized greatness." Minister Farrakhan, Cohen reminded his readers, "has reviled Jews in a manner that brings Hitler to mind."
Cohen's call for Obama to renounce Farrakhan was echoed by Hillary in the last debate, and she further demanded that Barack "reject" him. A beleaguered Barack dutifully did.
This was the old one-two to the midsection. Publicizing the Wright-Farrakhan ties alarmed Jewish voters backing Barack, while African-Americans, many of whom admire Farrakhan as a defiant black man, saw Barack as dissing a brother on the orders of the white liberal establishment.
Last weekend, The New York Times gave page-one coverage to the Farrakhan-Wright matter and Jewish concerns about Obama's ties to Zbigniew Brzezinski, who, said the Times helpfully, is "loathed by many Jews."
The Times also regurgitated Barack's statement of last fall that "no one has suffered more than the Palestinians."
On March 5, the New York Post ran a page-one story with the banner, "Shady," and subhead, "Black Ops: Hill Ad 'Darkens' Obama." The story was based on a left-wing Website's claim that Clinton's campaign is "darkening the tone of Barack Obama's skin in a new TV attack ad."
Post columnist Amir Taheri drove the wedge deeper between Barack and Jews. Saying Barack should be proud of his middle name, "Hussein," Taheri then accused him of cutting Israel loose.
"In an important symbolic move designed to signal an end of the special relationship between Israel and America, Obama has become the first major presidential candidate in 25 years not to commit himself to transferring the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem."
Barack, said Taheri, is meeting the key demands of "all radical Islamist forces, Sunni and Shiite."
Usually Democrats play the ethnic card against Republicans. Al Gore said Bush revered a Constitution that declared blacks to be three-fifths of a person. The NAACP said Bush did not care about the dragging death of African-American James Byrd.
This time, the liberals are playing the race card on each other, and showing real proficiency.