Obama & The Race Card ...

Posted: Mar 13, 2008 5:35 PM

"No, (Obama's) not playing the race card.  And Matt -- your previous guest -- couldn't be more dead wrong."

I was just on Neil Cavuto, arguing that -- although Hillary Clinton's campaign has made inappropriate racial comments about Barack Obama -- his campaign has intentionally egged them on, and gone out of their way to keep these stories alive for weeks.  In essence, Obama is playing both the race card -- and the victim card.   What is more, it is hypocritical because he has always talked about bringing people together, and getting past the politics of the Baby Boomer generation ...

My other concern (which I didn't have the chance to bring up during the interview) is that, although some of the comments made by folks like Geraldine Feraro and Bill Clinton were obviously over-the-top, Obama's team has also cried "foul" over comments that were likely not intended to be of a racial nature.

For example, when Andrew Cuomo said Obama was trying to "shuck and jive", that was assumed to be a racist comment.  It may have been.  Or, it may have been a boxing reference that could be used to describe any candidate who is effective at parrying tough questions.  In fact, it is unclear if Cuomo was even directly referring to Obama.  Didn't matter though.  Obama's people played the race card.

My concern is that you can win any political argument by accusing the other side of racism.  But that sort of tactic only stifles legitimate debate and discussion.  If Obama is the nomineee, will his team will be quick to say that even legitimate attacks against him are racist?  What if someone brings up drugs (as BET founder Bob Johnson did)?  George W. Bush had to answer (or, at least, avoid) questions about his past.  Shouldn't Obama -- who has written about it in his book -- have to as well?) 

Shutting down legitimate debate over a candidates personal history or positions isn't healthy for Democracy.