Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Answer Before the Question

Angie Harmon, formerly a star on Law & Order and now selling eye make-up, offered the following:

Here’s my problem with this, I’m just going to come out and say it. If I have anything to say against Obama it’s not because I’m a racist, it’s because I don’t like what he’s doing as President and anybody should be able to feel that way, but what I find now is that if you say anything against him you’re called a racist.

Um… okay, fine, but who called you a racist? I grant you I don’t keep up with all the celebrity news, but I’ve never heard anyone call Ms. Harmon a racist, regardless of her political views. And besides, she’s entitled to her opinion, the same as anyone else.

This is an interesting tack the critics of President Obama are taking; setting up the straw man of racism and accusations thereof when it hasn’t happened. A lot of people have criticized the president and his administration — myself included — and no one has accused them of racism. Sure, there have been some racially tinged things out there, but to throw up the defense against something that isn’t there is a little odd, and it makes you wonder why Ms. Harmon brought it up out of the blue. Maybe she’s prepping to play Queen Gertrude in Hamlet: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

This is not a new tactic. The Republicans are very good at warning us about dogs that don’t bite — the freak-out about the re-imposition of the Fairness Doctrine when no one is suggesting it or the hoo-ha last week from Michele Bachmann about “global currency” — sets up straw men that their opponents must then knock down, and in doing so, give the issue air-time that it doesn’t deserve.

HT to Melissa.