Dover Bitch

Friday, August 01, 2008

Southern Strategy 2008

Cross-posted at Daily Kos (just cuz I felt like it)

Mike Barnicle on MSNBC is dumbfounded today. He didn't see any of the racial subtext in the Britney Spears and Paris Hilton ad. Why, he asks, would John McCain want to woo crazy racist voters who would vote for him anyway? He should look in the mirror for his answer.

Let's just get one thing out there that anybody should be able to understand: There is no way -- none -- that the McCain campaign did not know that some people in America would see the racial/sexual subtext in that ad.

It doesn't matter if the ad "really" is racist. If, like Mike Barnicle, you didn't see the racism that I did, no, that doesn't make you an idiot.

However, if you think the McCain campaign was surprised that some people did see racism in an ad in which a handsome black candidate was coupled with a pair of young blondes who are famous for not wearing underwear, then, yes, you are an idiot.

These people get paid millions of dollars for their expertise in putting these ads together. They run everything by a series of focus groups. They have been exploiting racial divisions for decades. It's no secret: Former Republican Chairman Ken Melhman even apologized to the NAACP for it three years ago.

There is absolutely no way the McCain campaign put these ads on the air without expecting some people -- maybe not Mike Barnicle -- to gasp and point out the racial subtext. No way on earth they didn't know this would be the reaction from a good slice of the left. They knew it and they wanted it.

But why, Mike Barnicle asks? They already have the racist vote locked up! True, Mike, but there are millions of independent voters who, like you, didn't get the subliminal message. Millions of voters who might have liked Obama because he's not Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. John McCain wants these voters, independent white voters who don't hate black people, but hate when black people "play the race card."

John McCain, the honorable John McCain, couldn't possibly have known people would think these ads were racist. right? As concerned as the McCain campaign is that they'll be branded as racists, they had no idea that anybody would get the wrong idea from those images. Nobody could have predicted...

Of course they knew. They wanted the reaction and they got it, along with the media's obtuse confusion. Now, to a host of independent voters, Obama is just another Jackson or Sharpton.

UPDATE Josh Marshall flags this must-read article in New York Magazine, which makes my point precisely.

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