Last week I was on the road during Obama’s Berlin Speech. Naturally, the only program I was able to listen to the speech on was Rush Limbaugh, who conveniently gave his commentary while the speech was occurring. To this date, Limbaugh is the only media personality I know of to point out that Obama set the stage to inject race into this election during his speech.
At the beginning of the speech, Obama stated, “ I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen - a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.
I know that I don't look like the Americans who've previously spoken in this great city. The journey that led me here is improbable. My mother was born in the heartland of America, but my father grew up herding goats in Kenya. His father - my grandfather - was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.”
The one statement at the beginning of his Berlin speech should have been a warning to US media outlets and the McCain Campaign that Obama had every intention of injecting his race into this election. There was no need for him to point out that “I don’t look like the Americans who’ve previously spoken”. He could have easily said I am different than those who have spoken or I carry a different message than those before me; but of course, he didn’t. Obama chose, on a world stage, to highlight that he LOOKED different; just as days later he would state, and repeat, and repeat again that Republicans would scare Americans by pointing out that he looked different than those other Presidents.
Even before Limbaugh commented, my jaw dropped and I was amazed at the inference that America was a country that had painted a lily-white picture of its leadership. The comment was a campaign driven statement, after all there are black European leaders, just as our nation has had globally present black leaders. Limbaugh, of course, stated that Secretaries of State Powell and Rice must not have counted. After all, they are well-respected US leaders whose very jobs are centered upon an overseas presence. The comment was unnecessary and at the time irrelevant, but in light of Obama’s blatant injection of racial issues into the election this week, the comment should be noticed.
The Obama campaign has defended their remarks by claiming that his intention was to portray that he was a different type of politician. The reality, however, is that Obama is one of the best SCRIPTED politicians in modern US political history. There is no campaign stump speech that shoots from the hip; his remarks are scripted, well thought thru, and 100% intentional. This was not an uh-uh-uh gaffe made when an unexpected question arose, these comments were prepared.
John McCain has not injected race into this election, the same way that Hillary Clinton did not inject race, yet when confronted with opposition, Obama supporters and surrogates immediately cry racism, regardless of the issue.
On the Hannity Show last week, an Obama supporter accused Sean Hannity of being a racist for mentioning that Obama supporters were Kool-Aid drinkers, despite the fact that the term goes back a generation in reference to a 1970’s campaign that never involved a black candidate.
The Obama campaign launched the low-road express yesterday, attacking John McCain for his political ads decrying Obama’s celebrity status and ridiculous energy policies. Yet there is no lower road than a candidate who decries racism and injects race into a campaign when his opponent had not stooped to that level. These tactics may have worked during a primary campaign where certain States had African American turnout that represented 30%-40% of the voters, but in a general election they will not work. A vast majority of White, Hispanic, and Asian voters are not racist and will eventually create a backlash against a campaign that is set upon falsely accusing its retractors of racism.
As a black colleague and friend of mine pointed out two months ago, we should be celebrating the fact that our nation has progressed to a point that for the first time in history the presumptive nominee of a party is African-American. But he also went on to state, the Obama campaign's tactics and injection of race into this campaign may have the inevitable effect of causing a rise in racial tensions; and that Obama, the candidate who was supposed to transcend race, may end up as the most destructive political candidate in terms of rising racial tensions since George Wallace. The Obama campaign needs to stop their injection of race into this campaign before they create an environment of racial tensions that explode in LA, Chicago, Atlanta and other cities when he loses the election.
August 1, 2008
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