The Lonely Centrist

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Maybe the Problem is that I'm Not Racist

Or at least not as conscious of race in factor of life as the New York Times. The Times calls a recent ad by the Republican National Committee, criticizing Democratic Representative and Senatorial candidate Harold Ford, Jr., for, among other things, attending events with Playboy bunnies, a "transparently honed ... racist appeal."

You can judge for yourself here at You Tube.

I've watched this ad at least a dozen times (it's a good ad, really) and I can't find the racism. The Times claims that it is "resonating with the miscegenation taboos of Old South politics." I wonder what the editorial board of the New York Times knows about the "old South." Or the "new South." I'll bet most of them have never crossed south of the Mason-Dixon line, except to visit Washington, D.C. Having lived quite a bit in various parts of the old Confederacy, methinks the ad resonates with the sexual taboos of the New South, where cavorting with Playboy bunnies - by anyone of any race - is frowned upon by more than a few folks. And of course, that's a small part of the ad. Much of the other stuff is better. (Especially the guy chuckling about Ford getting campaign contributions from a porn producer, near the end of the ad). But maybe the problem is that I'm not as racist as (the Times thinks) the citizens of Tennessee are. Those redneck wannabe Klansmen (one senses that this is the Times image of the typical Tennessee white voter) pick up on this stuff right away. They get the message. "Harold Ford wants your women!!!!!!!!!" Because we all know Republicans only win election by appealing to racial prejudice anyway. Or so the Times thinks.

Watch the ad yourself, and see if you don't agree with me. The appeal of this ad is not in race, but in it humor, and the way in which it suggests - compellingly - that Ford holds different values than his would-be constituents. Playing the race card does the Times no credit.

It may also be worth noting that the Times editorial is incorrect, simply as a factual matter. It suggests that voters will miss the statement about who paid for the ad because they will be "transfixed by the blonde’s vixenish sign-off." But that sign-off actually comes after the spoken statement of who paid for the ad. Again, I think there may be some "projection" going on here - perhaps it's the Times editorial board that it smitten. Sometimes those city slickers ain't so worldly as they think.

And the time is wrong in a more important way. Whines the Times, "it takes the statuette for political hypocrisy as G.O.P. leaders insist they were hobbled by campaign law from cutting off what is clearly their own handiwork."

Sorry guys, but it's exactly true, and it's the result of "reforms" that the Times has favored, as Bob Bauer explains.

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  • Middle East Media Research Institute
  • Right Democrat
  • Democrats for Life