Rick Davis: Obama Played Race Card ‘From Bottom of the Deck’Rick Davis: Obama Played Race Card ‘From Bottom of the Deck’ | The Washington Independent
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Yesterday I wrote about Sen. Barack Obama’s response to the attacks leveled against him by sources named and unnamed questioning his patriotism and heritage in a series of speeches across the state of Missouri. There he addressed the public attacks by his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, who, for months now has called Obama "naive" and last week went as far as saying Obama would rather lose a war than an election. But Obama also addressed the dark undercurrent of Internet rumors and racial prejudice that has underwritten the negative attacks by opponents who’ve essentially said Obama is a Muslim extremist, plopped here from another source to lead the United States into chaos and bring down the sovereignty of the United States.
"So nobody really thinks that Bush or McCain have a real answer for the challenges we face," Obama said in Springfield. "So what they’re going to try to do is make you scared of me. You know, he’s not patriotic enough. He’s got a funny name. You know, he doesn’t look like all those other Presidents on those dollar bills, you know. He’s risky. That’s essentially the argument they’re making."
Today Rick Davis, McCain’s campaign manager, sent out a message saying, "Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck. It’s divisive, negative, shameful and wrong."
At issue is the link Obama made between the on-the-record attacks by the McCain campaign and the far-fetched ones made by the extremist, racist members of American society by bringing up the analogy of the dollar bill. In many ways, it’s a dangerous turn for Obama to take. Never in this campaign has McCain brought up Obama’s race or name or appearance. He even went as far to disavow an introduction by radio talk show host Bill Cunningham in Cincinnati when Cunningham repeatedly harped on Obama’s unfortunate middle name "Hussein." But at the same time, the McCain campaign has done little to lift the rhetoric of the debate and denounce the rumors that continue to be spread via email and over lunch tables in Middletown, Ohio and in ballparks in Los Angeles and Houston. While Obama and his former Democratic rival Hillary Clinton go out of their way in speeches to recognize McCain’s heroism during the Vietnam War, McCain has not responded with any kind of nod of respect for what Obama’s done for his country, particularly in the South Side of Chicago.
Race is an issue in this campaign because it has to be. Now, 143 years after Ulysses S. Grant and Robert L. Lee ended the Civil War at Appomattox and 40 years after the great avatars of of racial justice were struck down by assassins’ bullets, we are still very much a nation holding onto an image of what a leader should look like. And that image happens to be one very close to the sight of John McCain. It is an issue Obama must continue to bring up as the campaign moves forward should he hope to win the general election, giving an answer to the question that always begins "Are we ready…."