Democratic Strategist: Debating While Black

Democratic Strategist:  (9/22/08)

Debating While Black

Mine probably weren’t the only eyebrows raised at the news that former Maryland Lieutenant Gov. Michael Steele is playing Barack Obama in John McCain’s preparations for his first presidential debate on Friday. Steele’s preeminent qualification seems to be that he’s African-American.

Now it’s true that MI Gov. Jennifer Granholm is playing a similar sparring-partner role for Joe Biden in his prep for debating Sarah Palin. But this is almost certainly attributable to the need to deal with the Lazio Factor–the famous 2000 precedent whereby Rick Lazio seemed to condescedingly bully Hillary Clinton in a classic gender-inflected dynamic.

It’s not exactly clear what the racial analogy to the Lazio Factor might be, unless Team McCain is concerned their candidate will slip up and address the relatively youthful Obama as “boy” or something.

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