Racial Politics: Obama and Steele
Great piece over at the Politico about the Democratic Party being the new home of racial politics.
Doug Heye draws interesting parallels and highlights Democrat double standards comparing Obama’s run for the White House to Steele’s 2006 Senate campaign. He also rehashes some of the past low blows from the usual suspects.
The editorial page of the Baltimore Sun dismissed Steele’s experience and used race to do it. Steele, the Sun charged, brought “little to the team but the color of his skin.” cough–Diane Donovan–cough. Four years later, the Sun continued to attack Steele, who had at that point served a full term as Maryland’s lieutenant governor and was running for U.S. Senate. While patronizingly labeling Steele a “likable man and persuasive speaker,” the Sun urged a vote against Steele “on the basis of record and experience alone.”
These attacks dovetailed perfectly with Steele’s opponents and were echoed by The Washington Post, which editorialized against Steele twice in the waning days of the campaign. Dismissing a likable, persuasive African-American on the question of experience sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Watching the attacks on Obama these past weeks, anyone who followed the 2006 elections knows what Yogi Berra meant when he quipped, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”
In the 2008 presidential race, Obama should consider himself lucky. He has not been called “slavish” by the majority leader of the House of Representatives, Steny H. Hoyer, or an “Uncle Tom” by Maryland state Senate President Mike Miller, as Michael Steele was…
Still, the Obama camp’s outrage over questions it says are race-based — concerning whether a three-year senator has the experience to lead the free world — cannot be taken entirely seriously.
After all, it was Obama — whose presidential campaign has engaged in its own racial rhetoric, “(D-Punjab)” — who questioned Michael Steele’s experience to become one of his colleagues, saying that while Steele is an “affable person” (articulate? clean?), his record was “pretty thin.”
He then urged a predominantly African-American crowd to vote for the candidate with the “longer record of working on behalf of the African-American community.”