John McCain told CNN Thursday it is fair for his campaign manager to claim Barack Obama is playing 'the race card.'The Obama campaign has issued a denunciation.
"I'm sorry to say that it is. It's legitimate," McCain told CNN's John King. "And there's no place in this campaign for that. There's no place for it and we shouldn't be doing it."
Earlier Thursday, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis lashed out at the Democratic presidential candidate over his comments that Republicans are making an issue of his race.
"Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck. It's divisive, negative, shameful and wrong," Davis said in a statement sent to reporters.
Yet, McCain's on solid ground here. Peter Kirsanow explains why:
Obama's statement yesterday about Republican scare tactics is merely the latest in a string of statements in which he suggests that certain Americans are intrinsically racist, and those Americans aren't just confined to political opponents. His declaration that his grandmother was a "typical white person," was, at the time, derided primarily because it was seen as Obama "throwing her under the bus" for political expediency. But the statement's premise — that the "typical" white person is a reflexive racist — is at least as offensive.Kirsanow's comments are in keeping with the points I've made on Democratic racial hypocrisy, here and here.
Similarly, the commentary surrounding Obama's statement to San Francisco elites about bitter, working class voters focused largely on the condescension in his claim that such folks "cling to guns or religion." Somewhat ignored was the clause "...or antipathy to people who aren't like them..." Again, Obama is branding a huge swath of the American populace in unsavory terms.
During the primaries his campaign lept upon any statement that was even remotely related to color as evidence of racist intent. This is, to say the least, peculiar for someone whose campaign was based in part on racial transcendence. Even more so for someone who doesn't seem to have encountered any pernicious racism or racial barriers in his personal life. His profligate insinuations of racism now are far beyond unseemly. As the possible next President of the United States, he needs to be called on it.
John McCain will be mercilously attacked by Obama's supporters, but he's absolutely right to take a stand on this issue. Indeed, McCain might further consolidate his campaign's comeback by making his own national address on race. Although Democrats continue to hold 90 percent of the black vote, the GOP's stress on bolstering family institutions, and meritocracy in economic opportunity, continues to offer a powerful moral-mobility agenda for America in the post-civil rights era.
See also, Jonathan Martin and Ben Smith, "Race Issue Moves to Center of Campaign."