Thursday, April 24, 2008

Racial Politics: Obama vs. Steele

(Hat tip: Jonah Goldberg at The Corner)

Lt. Gov. Michael Steele
(Matt Houston/AP)

Politico puts the charges of "racial politics" by some who are sympathetic to the Obama campaign into perspective:
... In his ultimately unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate, then-Lt. Gov. Michael Steele faced a barrage of attacks centered on his being an African-American Republican.

It actually started in 2002, when Steele was selected as the running mate for gubernatorial candidate Robert Ehrlich.

The editorial page of the Baltimore Sun dismissed Steele’s experience and used race to do it.

Steele, the Sun charged, brought “little to the team but the color of his skin.”

Four years later, the Sun continued to attack Steele, who had at that point served a full term as Maryland’s lieutenant governor and was running for U.S. Senate.

While patronizingly labeling Steele a “likable man and persuasive speaker,” the Sun urged a vote against Steele “on the basis of record and experience alone.”

Dismissing a likable, persuasive African-American on the question of experience sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Watching the attacks on Obama these past weeks, anyone who followed the 2006 elections knows what Yogi Berra meant when he quipped, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

In the 2008 presidential race, Obama should consider himself lucky. He has not been called “slavish” by the majority leader of the House of Representatives, Steny H. Hoyer, or an “Uncle Tom” by Maryland state Senate President Mike Miller, as Michael Steele was.

Perhaps most troubling, the attacks on Steele codified an attitude of many in the Democratic Party, which was crystallized in a 37-page memo by Cornell Belcher, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean’s handpicked pollster.

He laid out a blueprint for how to deny Steele his very ethnicity, calling for a “persuasion campaign” to “discredit Steele as a viable candidate for the [African-American] community.”

While the Clinton strategy has been to brand Obama as an African-American first and foremost, the Democrats’ playbook strategy was the inverse, hoping to “turn Steele into a typical Republican candidate — as opposed to an African-American” (emphasis added).

Still, the Obama camp’s outrage over questions it says are race-based — concerning whether a three-year senator has the experience to lead the free world — cannot be taken entirely seriously.

After all, it was Obama ... who questioned Michael Steele’s experience to become one of his colleagues, saying that while Steele is an “affable person” (articulate? clean?), his record was “pretty thin.”

He then urged a predominantly African-American crowd to vote for the candidate with the “longer record of working on behalf of the African-American community.”

[Read the whole thing]
(emphasis added)

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Is Michael Steele on McCain's "Short List" for VP?

The Story Behind Steele: No One Offered RNC Chair to Marylander

Incredibly Stupid MoveMichael Steele to Head GOP?

Steele Gaining

Black Democrats Pledge Backing to GOP's Steele

One of the Best Preemptive Political Ads That I've Ever Seen

Maryland Lt. Gov. (and U.S. Senate Candidate) Michael Steele Reaffirms Catholic Values

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At 4/24/2008 4:38 AM, Blogger Tito said...

I think Obama is pretty thin-skinned. I can't wait for the primary to begin and watch Obama go down in flames when the same charges against Steele will be used against him (his very own words).


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