Oh, you have GOT to be kidding me…Racism??

[UPDATE: Welcome, Fox News “Embeds” readers! Feel free to have a look around.]

And here I was, worried that the “special place in hell” line would be ripped out of context by the media.

I suppose I should have predicted that the racism card would be played once the McCain campaign went on the attack, but I must admit I never thought that Sarah Palin noting Barack Obama’s association with Bill Ayers yesterday would be the trigger.  To top it off, the charge comes from an “analysis” piece by Douglass Daniel at the Associated Press, “Analysis: Palin’s words carry racial tinge:”

By claiming that Democrat Barack Obama is “palling around with terrorists” and doesn’t see the U.S. like other Americans, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin targeted key goals for a faltering campaign.

And though she may have scored a political hit each time, her attack was unsubstantiated and carried a racially tinged subtext that John McCain himself may come to regret.

Unsubstantiated?  Racially tinged?  The first is demonstrably false; the second is a product of Daniel’s wishful thinking; both are contemptibly ridiculous.  Explanation below the break.

First of all, the “unsubstantiated” charge:

No evidence shows they were “pals” or even close when they worked on community boards years ago and Ayers hosted a political event for Obama early in his career.

(Leave aside the fact that “pal around” is a figure of speech; you don’t need to sign a sworn affidavit establishing palhood to the satistaction of the Deputy State Secretary of Pal Affairs to “pal around” with someone.)

Yes, we’ve heard the Obama talking points on Ayers as repeated in Daniel’s piece, but Ethics and Public Policy Center senior fellow Stanley Kurtz, who has actually taken the time to study the archives of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge — the Chicago education initiative on whose board Obama and Ayers sat together — has determined that the two of them cannot possibly have served in their respective capacities on that initiative without extensive collaboration.  (The bureaucratic roadblocks thrown up in Kurtz’s path in his efforts to gain access to the CAC archives are another story entirely.)  The Times Online, in an article last April, notes that the two of them also sat on the same board of the Woods Fund, and shared the stage at two academic conferences.

As the Times Online further notes, when Obama ran for State Senate he attended a fundraiser hosted by Ayers and his wife, fellow former Weatherman and terrorist Bernadine Dohrn, at their home.  Aren’t politicians in the habit of familiarizing themselves with the people who place themselves at the forefront of said politician’s money machine?

Given that Obama and Ayers necessarily worked closely together on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, worked together in the same capacity on the Woods Fund, shared an academic platform twice, and were political allies during Obama’s rise to power (to the point where Obama would have been in Ayers’s political debt), does it count yet as “palling around?”  And given that Ayers told the New York Times about his criminal past with the terrorist group the Weather Underground (in their edition published 9/11/2001, in a perverse case of awful timing):

”I don’t regret setting bombs,” Bill Ayers said. ”I feel we didn’t do enough.”… So, would Mr. Ayers do it all again, he is asked? ”I don’t want to discount the possibility,” he said.

wouldn’t it be fair to call Ayers not only a terrorist, but an unrepentant terrorist?

But let’s go on to the second charge:  that pointing out the relationship between Obama and Ayers is “racially tinged.”  Daniel takes issue with this passage from Gov. Palin:

“This is not a man who sees America like you and I see America,” she said. “We see America as a force of good in this world. We see an America of exceptionalism.”

Assigning racist undertones to such a mundane statement of principle wouldn’t normally fall within the confines of responsible journalism, but that doesn’t stop Daniel:

Palin’s words avoid repulsing voters with overt racism. But is there another subtext for creating the false image of a black presidential nominee “palling around” with terrorists while assuring a predominantly white audience that he doesn’t see their America?

In a post-Sept. 11 America, terrorists are envisioned as dark-skinned radical Muslims, not the homegrown anarchists of Ayers’ day 40 years ago. With Obama a relative unknown when he began his campaign, the Internet hummed with false e-mails about ties to radical Islam of a foreign-born candidate.

Whether intended or not by the McCain campaign, portraying Obama as “not like us” is another potential appeal to racism. It suggests that the Hawaiian-born Christian is, at heart, un-American.

There is not a political candidate in memory who has not based their campaign at least in part on highlighting the differences between their approach and their opponent’s.  It’s very generous of Daniel to grant that Palin was not making outright appeals to racial animus — I suppose we should be thankful for small favors — but anyone who has paid even the slightest attention to this or any campaign knows that there are perfectly legitimate ways in which Palin’s opposition is “not like us,” and they have nothing to do with race.  Palin is clearly referring to ideological differences; it is Daniel who brings up September 11th and “dark-skinned Muslims,” points out the “predominantly white” nature of the crowd (entirely coincidental, since it was an event open to the public), and rehashes untraceable emails from the Democratic primary campaign season.

It is especially precious of Daniel to dismiss intent in a throwaway line:  “Whether intended or not by the McCain campaign…”  In Daniel’s world, racism is all in the eye of the aggrieved (or the aggrieved’s self-appointed journalistic proxy, as the case may be).  This brings to mind the firing in 1999 of an aide to D.C. Mayor Anthony Daniels for using the word “niggardly;” or, more recently, the outrage of the Dallas county commissioner who objected to the “racist” term “black hole;” or, closer to home, the howling of Obama fans over the use of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton juxtaposed with Obama in McCain’s earlier “Celeb” ad.  For those of us who don’t live in Daniel-land, intent is the crux of the entire charge. Without racist intent, Daniel’s allegation falls apart; if Palin was not appealing to racism, then one cannot trace what she said to racism.  She cannot be held responsible for some racist crank interpreting it otherwise any more than she can be held responsible for the results of Daniel’s blind grasping for far-fetched “subtextual” messages rooted in racism.

We can expect to see a lot more of this.  The McCain-Palin ticket is still the underdog, and they don’t give any sign of backing off their new aggressive approach planned for the final month of the campaign.  Just as the “Celeb” ad effectively punctured Obama’s glamour-induced popularity bubble following his visit to Germany and sent his numbers into a downward slide, so the new approach of highlighting his association with William Ayers (and you can bet Tony Rezko and other previously ignored skeletons will follow close behind) is likely to hurt Obama’s standing in the polls.  And as with the “Celeb” ad, in the absence of any other defense, the usual Obama surrogates will fall backward, arms pinwheeling, onto the same reflex of crying racist.

Instapundit, Mudville Gazette, Allahpundit, Miz Michelle, and Gateway Pundit have more.

10 thoughts on “Oh, you have GOT to be kidding me…Racism??

  1. rjjrdq

    I ripped apart that article as well. This Daniel character is obviously an Obama goon. Even more disturbing is the “impartial” Associated Press released this sewage…

  2. mah29001

    Think of the situation would someone like John McCain be in if he paled around with some apologists of abortion bombers such as those within the Army of God.

    The Army of God, and the Weather Underground are no different. But I guess it seems that it’s okay for Obama to pal around with a terrorist like Bill Ayers.

    Also note, Ayers also has his own blog you’d might want to spy on.

  3. Pingback: Preach on, SarahCuda! « The Right Daily

  4. expatforobama

    Nice article! But…McCain pals around with a lot of shady characters, too. Some of his current pals are dirty as hell (Davis, Graham, Rove,etc…), and some of his former pals did time for their crimes (3 of the Keating 5)Unfortuantely that’s the nature of politics in our country. Shady characters come with the territory. No one is calling out Sarah Palin for palling around with McCain and he was intimately involved in the S&L scandal that cost taxpayers billions. Sure, “terrorist” sounds worst but Barack was an infant when that nonsense went down. So, let’s talk straight (for a change)and stick to the issues and stop trying to distract the American people from what’s really important.

  5. Charlie Post author

    @expatforobama: Glad you liked it. But please, let’s refrain from hyperdrama, shall we?

    Honestly, Davis, Graham, and Rove are hardly comparable to a serial bomber who not only has a body count to his name, but by his own admission would rather have done more, and is so devoid of remorse he refuses to say he wouldn’t do it again. The alleged “shadiness” of Rove, especially, is more attributable to visceral dislike than identifiable wrongdoing.

    As for the Keating Five, no, none of them did time (who told you that?), nor were any of them McCain’s “pals,” in that Cranston, Riegle, DeConcini, and Glenn were all Democrats and not remotely supporters or partners of McCain’s.

    McCain originally wasn’t even going to be targeted in that probe; the scandal started only with Cranston, Riegle, and DeConcini. The only way to get the then-Democratic Senate to investigate Keating’s shadier Senate beneficiaries was to include a Republican in there somewhere, so investigators cobbled together the appearance of impropriety out of a series of entirely lawful campaign donations to McCain from Keating. This angered Republicans, who retaliated by demanding that Glenn, another Democrat, be included as well. McCain and Glenn were naturally cleared of wrongdoing (and both later re-elected), since they were essentially sacrificial lambs whose wrongdoings were manufactured through partisan motives. (The remaining three received formal reprimands or lesser citations from the Senate Ethics Committee.)

    Other than this Keating connection, which eventually came to nothing, how do you conclude that McCain was “intimately involved in the S&L scandal?”

    And I hate to break it to you, but Obama’s past associations are not distractions from the issues, but an issue all their own. Obama owes his political ascendancy to people like Ayers, Tony Rezko, and Jeremiah Wright; it stands to reason to wonder what kind of people would have his ear if he should become president. With his apparent character judgment skills, I don’t know if I’d want him determining who gets Oval Office access.

    Thanks for commenting.

  6. expatforobama

    Obama owes his political ascendancy to people like Ayers, Tony Rezko, and Jeremiah Wright;
    That’s a bit of an overstatement…
    If that’s true then it is also true that Keating bankrolled McCain’s early political career and owes his political ascendancy to Keating. McCain and Keating had become personal friends following their initial contacts in 1981 and McCain was the closest socially to Keating of the five senators. True or false?
    As for Rove, he got Bush elected and Bush is responsible for the death of untold numbers of innocent Iraqi citizens, of which he is unrepented and unapologetic, and McCain DEFINITELY pals around with him! Talk about terrorism. Or am I being too theoretical?
    As far as judgment is concerned, look at how McCain has run his campaign. He’s clearly out of touch, he’s surrounded himself with sleezy people who used him as punching bag in 2000. That’s poor judgment if you ask me. They are the ones who assasinated the Maverick in him years ago and now he pays them to help him get the Maverick back???? You want him calling the shots in the Oval??? And that’s just one example…
    Anyway, I think there are valid arguments on both sides of this spectrum. May the best man win.
    BTW I wasn’t being fecetious when I complimented your article. I really get tired of people who support McCain without any good reason. And you clearly have good reason and I respect that. Thanks

  7. Charlie Post author

    No, no, the “nice article” part I did take at face value. And, in that spirit, I was actually “glad you liked it.” 🙂

  8. Pingback: Scroll For Updates: Imagine That: The AP Sees Racism In Palin Calling Obama Out On His Ties To Ayers | Right Voices

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  10. Greg

    Such torturous logic. You don’t get to have it both ways. Saying “Leave aside the fact that “pal around” is a figure of speech” as you do, with the purpose of mainstreaming it is disingenuous. Like you don’t want us to get the image it immediately evokes – one of back-slapping friendship. There’s a guy at work who has made comments that I consider racist. Not outright racism, but I think it’s not too far beneath the surface. Because we both work for the same company, there is a bit of an enforced connection, and we have had to be in the same meetings and have talked in the hall about work issues. Could you then say that I ‘pal around’????? I think not.

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