Ed Driscoll

But You Only Get To Play This Card Once

Paul Mirengoff of Power Line writes that “Obama Removes his mask”: “It’s not even quite August yet and he’s still ahead in the polls, but Barack Obama has played the race card, claiming that he expects Republicans to inject race into the campaign.”:

It seems clear, therefore, that the race card has become a permanent part of Obama’s hand, a wild card to be played whenever the spirit, or the circumstances, so moves him.

What does Obama’s latest play tell us about the current circumstances? I think it tells us that, despite Obama’s presidential preening, he senses he may be in trouble. The “world tour” bounce appears to have been a short-hop only, and his pretentiousness is beginning to grate even on some in the MSM. The McCain campaign is ridiculing Obama as a celebrity and little more. There’s enough truth in this suggestion to make the candidate uncomfortable. He doesn’t feel he can ignore the attack, but he also cannot respond with “I am too a man of substance who deserves my celebrity.” Hence the whining; hence the race card.

But for maximum effectiveness, you only get to play this card once–use it repeatedly, and it increasingly seems like crying wolf. And firing it in late July, when nobody but us wonks is paying much attention to the presidential race seems like a rookie error. Which plays right into the McCain camp’s hands when the media takes the bait, as Ace writes:

Obama’s attempts to mau-mau (am I allowed to say that?) the press may or may not be successful; but some reporters aren’t buying the Obama camp’s preferred practice of crying racism at the drop of a hat.

But it definitely won’t work with the broader public. So Obama’s game here is a dangerous one for him. White people bitterly cling to their resentment that they can’t say boo without being accused of being closet, or out and proud, racists. If Obama thinks he’s actually going to persuade the middle by claiming that you don’t vote for him, you must be a racist, he’s in a for a bad surprise.

This worked in the primary, because all liberals are required to pretend that every single cry of racism is valid. Not so among the bitter, clingy folks.