Today it was New York Governor David Patterson’s turn to enter the sweepstakes for the most inane sighting of racism in criticism of Obama.
New York Gov. David Paterson said Tuesday that there were racial overtones in the Republican presidential ticket’s criticism of Democrat Barack Obama’s work as a community organizer.
“There are overtones of potential racial coding in the campaign,” Paterson said at an event in New York City.
Paterson said that while Republican candidates John McCain and Sarah Palin haven’t directly talked about race, it’s strongly implied in comments Alaska Gov. Palin and others have made about Obama….
“The Republican party is too smart to call Barack Obama ‘black’ in a sense that it would be a negative,” Paterson said. “But you can take something about his life, which I noticed they did at the Republican convention. A ‘community organizer,’ they kept saying it, they kept laughing, like what does this mean?
To Gov. Patterson it obviously means the Republicans are engaged in coded, or not so coded, racist criticism.
The McCain campaign was quick to respond.
… Peter Feldman, a spokesman for Mr. McCain and his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, called Mr. Paterson’s remarks “disappointing.”
He said that Mr. Paterson was “playing the race card” by suggesting that Ms. Palin’s comments about Mr. Obama’s career as a community organizer were a kind of coded racial appeal.
“This is a tactic that the Obama campaign has used before, and which McCain campaign manager Rick Davis correctly called ‘divisive, shameful, and wrong,’ ” Mr. Feldman told The News.
Governor Palin’s remarks about Barack Obama’s work as a community organizer was in response to the Obama campaign’s belittling of her executive experience. There is certainly a place for community activism, as demonstrated by Sarah Palin’s own record of civic involvement. But Barack Obama’s role as a community organizer pales in comparison to Governor Palin’s demonstrated experience.
Mr. Feldman added that Mr. Paterson’s comments were “a sure sign of a flailing campaign that is bordering on desperation.”
One unintended but beneficial effect of these continuing absurd accusations of racism behind all criticisms of Obama (that he is an empty suit celebrity, that he is inexperienced, that his community organizing experience is not commensurate with being a mayor or governor, etc.) is their implicit recognition that real racism is so hard to find.