In perhaps the grossest ad of the political season (see the ad at the bottom of this post), John McCain isn’t even subtle about the way he uses visual images and racial stereotypes to manipulate white racial anxiety.
The ad opens with Obama cocking his head like an incomprehending monkey—as if he is intellectually incapable of understanding the complexities of the issues before him.
Then the ad visually links Obama to a seemingly corrupt and incompetent big-grinning urban black man—and then abruptly shifts again to an image of an elderly white female who looks as if the two previously depicted black men have violated her home and stolen her life savings.
And John McCain approves this message.
As would George Wallace.
As would Jesse Helms.
This is the lowest any American politician can go—visually endorsing racial stereotypes and stoking the fires of racial fear to frighten elderly white voters to the polls.
And McCain just went there.
We need to redouble our efforts up to election day to see that this type of politicking is not rewarded.
It is worthy of George Wallace’s Alabama in the 1950s—or Jesse Helms’ South Carolina in the 1960s—not 21st century America.
And just to be clear: If you watch the ad closely, you would think that Franklin Raines, a former Clinton cabinet official (and someone who is NOT a formal Obama campaign advisor on housing policy) somehow caused the economic collapse of the housing industry and made off with millions.
But Raines is in no way connected with the collapse of Fannie Mae, and the millions that he made was as a corporate CEO of Fannie Mae up until 2004. Raines, in other words, has been unconnected to Fannie Mae in its current crisis.
The extent of his contact with the Obama campaign appears to be little more than the occasional informal phone call with Obama’s formal housing advisors.
Yet the ad falsely represents Raines as somehow being in Obama’s inner circle—and even his chief advisor—and having his ear on housing policy and the economy.
In fact, Raines denies that he has ever even advised Barack Obama.
So, obviously, he is being used in the ad for ONE reason: He is black.
Here’s the ad:
And to help us remember what it is we’re fighting for, and that America can be better than this, here’s Martin Luther King: