So much for “code words”

OK, the good news is that Obama surrogates appear to have abandoned the “devious conspiracy” approach of racist code word warnings.  This means the English language may have a chance to breathe again soon, even when the subject turns to politics.

The bad news is that they’ve done so in favor of a more (ahem!) straightforward approach.  In the absence of any other explanation for Sen. Obama’s failure to dominate this race unquestioned, they’ve resorted to flat-out, blanket accusations of racism against huge swaths of the voting public (and not necessarily Republicans).

Enter the freakshow below the break.

Two Ohio Democrats, State Reps. Bob Hagan and Tom Letson, came to this brilliant conclusion earlier this week when they had the following conversation with the Youngstown Vindicator:

“Race — that’s the only reason people in the Valley won’t vote for him,” said state Rep. Thomas Letson of Warren, D-64th, about Barack Obama, his party’s presidential nominee. “There are 1,000 reasons to vote for Obama and one reason why you won’t — race.”


“When we speak to swing voters and we talk of issues, the only reason they’re undecided is because of race,” [State Rep. Bob] Hagan said.

In an interesting twist, though, the two state legislators actually exempted Republicans from these charges:

“Staunch Republicans” who make up 35 percent to 40 percent of the population would never vote for a Democrat regardless of race, Letson said.

It is the independents, the “swing voters” and Democrats who are or will support Republican John McCain who are the “racists,” Letson and state Rep. Robert F. Hagan of Youngstown, D-60th, said.

(Unsurprisingly, Rep. Letson backpedaled yesterday and denied that the conversation ever happened.)  I dunno…should it count as progress that these two sound willing to consider that the opposing party is made up simply of unbending ideologues and maybe not hateful bigots?

I suppose those of us still holding on to sanity should savor these baby steps while we can, since Letson and Hagan are Johnny-come-latelies on this tactic compared to cable news.  From the blog of CNN’s Jack Cafferty:

Race is arguably the biggest issue in this election, and it’s one that nobody’s talking about.

The differences between Barack Obama and John McCain couldn’t be more well-defined. Obama wants to change Washington. McCain is a part of Washington and a part of the Bush legacy. Yet the polls remain close. Doesn’t make sense…unless it’s race.

No, couldn’t possibly make sense, could it?  Cafferty’s narrowness of vision hardly befits a thoughtful journalist.  I’m reminded of the infamously clueless (and, to be fair, many insist apocryphal) quote by the late New York Times critic Pauline Kael, on the day Democrat George McGovern lost 49 states to then-President Richard Nixon in 1972:  “I don’t understand how Nixon won the election; I don’t know anyone who voted for him!”

1 thought on “So much for “code words”

  1. Pingback: Swimming against the rapids « WitSnapper | The Blog

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