There are many ways to play the race card. One way is to exploit ancient prejudices and stereotypes of one race as inherently inferior to another. John McCain knows that one well.
He was the improbable victim of racism eight years ago when it was suggested to some South Carolina voters that he had fathered a black child out of wedlock. In fact, McCain’s adopted daughter, Bridget, is from Bangladesh. It’s the type of racism employed by the David Dukes of the world, and it diminishes us all.
But there is another way to play the race card, and it is just as pernicious and hateful as the first. It turns any disagreement with liberals into an issue of race rather than a difference of opinion. And it’s being played by the political Left with increasing frequency as Election Day draws near. Three examples this week illustrate the extent of the smear.
Sen. McCain too has been the target of the Left’s use of race as a weapon to cut off debate. McCain’s reference to Obama as “that one” during Tuesday night’s debate was taken by a number of leftwing journalists as proof that McCain is running a dishonorable campaign. Maureen Dowd, for instance, accused McCain of using the term in order “to warn that white Americans should not open the door to the dangerous Other.”
To suggest that either McCain or Palin is racist is absurd and completely unfounded. But in politics, perception is often reality. Which is perhaps why Whoopi Goldberg recently asked her co-hosts on The View whether under a McCain presidency there would be a return to slavery. And it is why Philadelphia Daily News columnist Fatimah Ali predicted that if Obama loses to McCain, Americans can expect “a full-fledged race and class war, fueled by a deflated and depressed country, soaring crime, homelessness — and hopelessness.”