Does Obama Campaign Deserve Benefit of the Doubt on Race?

Carol Platt Liebau

10/22/2012 1:13:37 PM - Carol Platt Liebau

Remember Joe Biden telling an African American audience that Mitt Romney would "put y'all back in chains"?  Now the Obama campaign is running an ad that claims Mitt Romney is "not one of us" -- a phrase that likewise has an ugly racial provenance.

Now, one might be tempted to give the campaign the benefit of the doubt -- maybe they just didn't know? -- if it, and its allies, didn't show such exquisite sensitivity to supposed "dog whistles" in other contexts.  Simply critiquing Obama's policy of largely eliminating welfare work requirements were enough to get the Republicans tagged as racists. MSNBC and like (deranged) minds have similarly announced that references to "Chicago" and the President's penchant for playing golf were denounced as racial "dog whistles" (indecipherable to the GOP ear, mind you -- seemingly no one could hear them but Democrats).  But surely some of these highly-attuned hearers must either be part of or close to the Obama campaign, so no doubt they'll be voicing their principled objections soon.

Given that even some of the President's ideological allies reported on suspicions that the Obama campaign's attacks on Romney's supposed "weirdness" were code for his religion, does the Obama campaign now really deserve the benefit of the doubt running an ad with such an ugly tagline?