[NOTE: This post has been UPDATED — July 27]
At first I was not going to write about Jonathan Capehart’s almost indescribably disgusting column in the Washington Post yesterday because Prof. Jacobson has done such a thoroughly effective demolition of it on his terrific blog, Legal Insurrection. But since Capehart, like his idol Obama, has a nice smile and a manner that leads many gullible and uninformed viewers of MSNBC, where he appears frequently, to regard him as reasonable, I decided his racialist rant could not go unblogged. Don’t stop here, however; Prof. Jacobson’s take down is a must read.
If I tried to summarize or characterize Capehart’s attempt to play the race deck (in Capehart’s hand, every card in the deck is a race card) you probably wouldn’t believe me, even though he does work for the Washington Post and appear on MSNBC. Moreover, since the most effective way to discredit him is to quote him, that’s what I’m going to do. Referring to an RNC ad that is embedded in his column, he writes:
All that stuff about what the president promised he’d do and didn’t isn’t what bothers me….
No, what bothers me is that last line spoken by the narrator as we see a black-and-white still image of a downward looking Obama.
He tried. You tried. It’s OK to make a change.
Millions of Americans were swept up in the drama of the 2008 presidential contest and were proud to cast a ballot that helped elect the first African American president of the United States. Doing so was and will remain one of our nation’s crowning achievements. But there’s no denying that many of those same millions have soured on Obama because of what they believe he hasn’t been able to achieve. Yet, they are conflicted….
By telling potential voters “It’s OK to make a change,” the RNC is acknowledging all that I mention above. It’s OK to like the guy personally but not vote for him again. This is not a popularity contest. It’s OK to vote against the black guy. You gave him a shot. He gave it his best shot. He failed. And the most effective message is: “It’s OK to make a change” — and not be thought of as a racist.
How dare the RNC even suggest, even subliminally so that only trained racism detectors at the Washington Post and MSNBC can detect it, that “It’s OK to vote against the black guy,” that it’s possible to vote against Obama “and not be thought a racist”!
The only thing I can think of to say in partial defense of Capehart’s dismal racial screed — and it is a very sad thing indeed — is that it’s probably true. People like him, people who don’t so much have race on the brain as race and nothing but race in their brains — and I include not only a brace of Washington Post and MSNBC journalists but elected Democrats who are members of Obama’s “truth squad” — will in fact think of Americans who vote against Obama as racists.
It’s only July, but already the attempt to brand any criticism of Obama — including quoting him or showing actual videos of him — as racist is starting to bore. Breitbart has a very nice takedown of Jonathan Chait embarrassing himself in New York Magazine with a particularly crude example this charge.