Several posts ago, here, I criticized Obama for playing the race and bigot card when he accused unnamed Republicans of planning to “make [voters] afraid of me” because of his funny name, inexperience, “… and did I mention he’s black?”
My criticism may have been strong — I hope it was — but it was the very picture of modest, restrained diplomatic understatement compared to what former Secretary of State (and eminent Charlottesvillian) Lawrence Eagleburger said today in a letter to the Charlottesville Daily Progress, “Obama Is Making Race An Issue.”
Comparing Obama’s sly injection of race to the slimy tactics of Joe McCarthy, Eagleburger writes:
In a recent appearance in Florida Sen. Barack Obama predicted how Republicans would campaign against him. He said: “They’re going to make you afraid of me [by saying] ‘He’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?’ ”
Obama’s accusation of racism dismisses the fact that his opponent, Arizona Sen. John McCain, spent some five years in a Vietnamese prison in the closest proximity to other Americans of various races. They all suffered torture and starvation because they were Americans, not because they were white or black. To accuse Sen. McCain and his party of racism in the face of his history is despicable.
So, despite all hope that perhaps we had finally put the issue of race aside, here it is.
Who raised it? The Republicans? Sen. McCain? It’s Sen. Obama, who has decided that he can use race to his advantage. But McCain has made it clear that he will not tolerate anyone in his campaign using the race issue.
So Obama has had to drag the issue in through the back door.
Sen. McCarthy played on the early post-war fear of communism to gain and hold power, despite the lives he ruined and the constitutional rights he ignored. In the end, those acts brought him down.
Sen. Obama needs to take a hard look at the McCarthy example and decide whether he wants to continue down the path he has adopted.
Most Americans would agree that to introduce race into the campaign, as he has, was both reckless and lacking in any sense of decency.
Who says diplomats, or at least former diplomats, can’t tell it like it is?
My only complaint with Eagleburger’s devastating put down of Obama’s most recent foray into racial politics concerns its concluding warning:
Should he continue down the McCarthy path, he will, sooner or later, pay the McCarthy price. But the damage will be done: He will have turned the clock back to the bad old days when politicians could say aloud — and get away with it — that the color of your skin mattered.
The clock doesn’t have to be turned back. Right now, every day, Democrats, including Obama, insist that “the color of your skin matter[s].” That’s why they defend, as Obama does, programs that distribute burdens and benefits based on race and oppose all efforts to eliminate them.