Racism In The Presidential Campaign

There seems to be a lot of discussion of race in the presidential campaign this month—all of it coming from the Democrats.  If you remember during the primaries, the Democrats brought race into the campaign frequently, so we shouldn’t be surprised.


What we’ve seen so far this month, in part includes:


On September 9th, New York Gov. David Paterson drew attention to a phrase used numerous times by speakers at the Republican National Convention to describe Barack Obama’s leadership experience: community organizer.


“I think the Republican Party is too smart to call Barack Obama ‘black’ in a sense that it would be a negative. But you can take something about his life, which I noticed they did at the Republican Convention – a ‘community organizer.’ They kept saying it, they kept laughing,” he said.


Paterson referred to McCain’s running mate Sarah Palin who compared her work experience to Obama’s.


“So I suppose a small town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except with real responsibilities,” she said at the convention.


Paterson sees the repeated use of the words “community organizer” as Republican code for “black”.


“I think where there are overtones is when there are uses of language that are designed to inhibit other people’s progress with a subtle reference to their race,” he said.


On September 17th, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has revived Democratic fears of a “Bradley effect” by suggesting that some Americans who claim to support Barack Obama will end up voting against him because he is black.


While campaigning for Obama in Iowa Tuesday, Sebelius was asked why the election is so close.


”Have any of you noticed that Barack Obama is part African-American?” the Democrat said. “That may be a factor. All the code language, all that doesn’t show up in the polls. And that may be a factor for some people.”


Sebelius appeared to be alluding to the “Bradley effect,” a political phenomenon in which African-American candidates fare better in opinion polls than in actual elections. The effect is named for black Democrat Tom Bradley, who lost the California governor’s race in 1982 even though he was ahead in the polls.


On September 22nd, former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis said that John McCain’s presidential campaign is using the same race-based tactics that were used against him in his 1988 presidential run.


The Brookline Democrat was referring to a recent McCain ad that claimed Democratic nominee Barack Obama received economic advice from Franklin Raines, the former CEO of the recently bailed out mortgage lender Fannie Mae.


Asked if he considered the ad to be in the same vein as the infamous ‘Willie Horton’ ad run by a third party group in support of George H.W. Bush in the 1988 presidential campaign, Dukakis replied: “Essentially, yes.”  Referring to McCain’s ad, Dukakis said “the same thing is happening again this year.”


Now on September 24th, Florida Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings pointed to Sarah Palin on Wednesday to rally Jews to Obama.



“If Sarah Palin isn’t enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you damn well had better pay attention,” said Hastings. “Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. So, you just think this through.”


Hastings, who is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, made his comments in Washington, D.C., while participating in a panel discussion sponsored by the National Jewish Democratic Council.


Frankly, everyone I know who is opposed to Senator Obama becoming President of the United States tell me that it is his leftist positions on issues or his being perceived as being an elitist who is out of touch with common citizens.  Nobody seems to care about his being black.  They care more about the security of the nation and whether they are going to get hit with higher taxes.


I would hope that we could get over injecting racism into the political race.  Sure, there are racists out there on both sides.  They should be considered the kooks that they are and we should keep it out of the campaigns.





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