Monday, August 4, 2008

Gergen: McCain Ad Calls Obama “Uppity”

David Gergen, a long-time political adviser to presidents from Nixon to Clinton (and thus earning him the honor of pissing off both sides of the aisle at the same time), told the round table on ABC’s This Week that the McCain campaign’s ad featuring Paris Hilton and Britney Spears was a dog-whistle way to call Barack Obama “uppity.”

“There has been a very intentional effort to paint him as somebody outside the mainstream, other, ‘he’s not one of us,'” said Gergen, who has worked with White Houses, both Republican and Democrat, from Nixon to Clinton. “I think the McCain campaign has been scrupulous about not directly saying it, but it’s the subtext of this campaign. Everybody knows that. There are certain kinds of signals. As a native of the south, I can tell you, when you see this Charlton Heston ad, ‘The One,’ that’s code for, ‘he’s uppity, he ought to stay in his place.’ Everybody gets that who is from a southern background. We all understand that. When McCain comes out and starts talking about affirmative action, ‘I’m against quotas,’ we get what that’s about.”

This comment got the expected reaction from the right wing, some of whom whined that everyone’s getting so politically correct that there’s no way to criticize Barack Obama without being called a racist.

Sure there is. You can disagree with him on any number of policy issues, and a whole lot of progressives (one such example here) are doing that. But those are substantive issues, not crap like comparing him to air-headed celebrities or the fact that he’s too physically fit to be president.

That would require that those who are running the McCain campaign to come up with a reason to vote for him. So far they haven’t been able to do that.