Media de novo
Isn't it wonderful that we have media de novo -- campaign coverage that treats every election (if not every day of the campaign) as if there is simply no connection to the past.
It was an open secret for a long time that the GOP employed the "Southern Strategy" in order to win by exploiting racial divisions in America. But it's not even that anymore. Ken Mehlman, former RNC Chairman, went before the NAACP in 2005 and explicitly conceded that was the strategy and even admitted that it was wrong (read: immoral) for them to have done it.
But here we are in 2008 and it's a fresh start! A couple promiscuous blondes paired up with Obama in a McCain ad and how dare the Obama campaign play the race card? Everybody knows blond girls who don't wear underwear are the only way to make the point that Obama lacks experience.
On MSNBC today, they've made the point that the Harold Ford ad with the "call me" girl (and don't forget about the radio ad with jungle drums) was explicitly sexual and this McCain ad isn't.
In our media de novo, that's a fantastic point. But for anybody with a memory that goes back two years, it's nonsense. They no longer have to be explicitly sexual.
Digby nailed it yesterday with this Lee Atwater (awful) admission:
You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger" - that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.
And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me - because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger."
Our media stars are so obtuse, they couldn't even conclude that the Bob Corker ads were out of line. Of course these McCain ads are beyond their capabilities. But it doesn't help that they're willing to completely ignore history.
By the way, it's not even ancient history they're ignoring.
How dare Obama inject race into the campaign!