Latest Illogical Obama Defense
Supporters of Barack Obama who cannot substantively defend the Senator’s subtle infusion of race in his campaign take to name-calling of critics and irrelevant theses instead. Let’s look at one recent prominent example and try to analyze the issue with evidence.
In the Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson’s latest defense of Sen. Barack Obama [“Who’s Raising Race?,” August 5, 2008], he (Robinson) is outraged that Sen. Lindsay Graham would characterize Sen. Obama’s now famous reference to his “not looking like previous presidents” as tantamount to saying “You’re a racist.” Mr. Robinson says this is a “canard,” that Sen. Obama didn’t actually say the word “racist,” and that such a charge is a “convenient refuge of scoundrels.”
Let’s, as Mr. Robinson suggests, look at a (briefer) deconstruction. When Sen. Obama says Sen. John McCain is trying to make people “scared” by making the “argument” that he (Obama) “doesn’t look like all those other Presidents on those dollar bills,” to what precisely is Obama referring? It sounds like Obama is accusing McCain of implying that Obama’s race is why people shouldn’t vote for him, which would be a racist thing to say, no?
If Sen. Lindsay and others are wrong about what Sen. Obama meant, the easiest way to counter their interpretation is to provide a different one, not just call names and point out that Mr. Obama didn’t use the word “racist.”
The gratuitous infusion of race in this campaign so far has been due entirely to Democrats’ rhetoric, not Republicans’.
Richard E. Vatz is professor at Towson University