Streams

The Race Card

Friday, August 01, 2008

WNYC political director Andrea Bernstein and Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart analyze the latest scuffle between John McCain and Barack Obama: Obama's alleged playing of the 'race card'.

Guests:

Andrea Bernstein and Jonathan Capehart

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Comments [46]

Mike Leung from Brooklyn

With no sense of irony:

"And as far as the Obama's Muslim upbringing, the point was merely to show how dreaded a subject it is for the pro Obama media. It's a story that has never been aired by the MSM..."

"No one is accusing him of being a Muslim!"

There is no defense against the inconsistencies you reserve as privilege to make.

Aug. 04 2008 06:14 PM
Gary Krasner from New York

QUOTE-----When Obama goes overseas and Disney Birds deliver diplomacy cred to his hands -- it's news because McCain dared him to do so. Understanding this does not require a degree in Rocket Surgery.-----UNQUOTE

No Mike, I think Obama's Great Adventure abroad would have made a newspaper story even if McCain didn't encourage him to go to Iraq and Afghanistan. Again, to my point on news balance, does anyone remember the huge crowds in Eastern Europe that showed up to hear Bush's speech? And they weren't drawn there to watch a concert as with Obama.

QUOTE------Obama has only practiced Christianity. To call someone an Muslim Christian or a Christian Muslim is an oxymoron.-----UNQUOTE

Again Mike, you missed the point. No one is accusing him of being a Muslim! Rather, having once been a Muslim raises some salient issues. For example, mainstream Muslim jurisprudence specifically forbids apostasy. Several of our allies make it a capital crime for their svereigns to leave the Muslim religion. How would that affect their populations to see an American President in that light? Instead of any sorts of questions like that (nor a peep on the entire issue), we get debates over whether McCain is a citizen!

QUOTE-----Heaven forbid "everyone seems to know" something that's actually true.------QUOTE

Indeed!! My exact point!

Aug. 03 2008 11:08 AM
Mike Leung from Brooklyn

'Mike, I wasn't referring to "political inexperience" and ability to spin.'

I'm not saying Bush/Cheney 2004 was absence any spin.

Nothing I said depended on political experience and "ability to spin" being terms with overlapping applications in the least.

"Obama's supposed mastery of the laundry list of your examples are all examples in which the media aided him with favorable spin."

When Obama goes overseas and Disney Birds deliver diplomacy cred to his hands -- it's news because McCain dared him to do so. Understanding this does not require a degree in Rocket Surgery.

"And as far as the Obama's Muslim upbringing, the point was merely to show how dreaded a subject it is for the pro Obama media."

Obama has only practiced Christianity. To call someone an Muslim Christian or a Christian Muslim is an oxymoron.

"It's a story that has never been aired by the MSM, yet everyone seems to know the far mor essoteric tidbit about McCain being born in the Panama canal zone!"

Heaven forbid "everyone seems to know" something that's actually true.

Aug. 01 2008 04:51 PM
Gary Krasner from New York

And as far as the Obama's Muslim upbringing, the point was merely to show how dreaded a subject it is for the pro Obama media. It's a story that has never been aired by the MSM, yet everyone seems to know the far mor essoteric tidbit about McCain being born in the Panama canal zone!

Aug. 01 2008 03:52 PM
Gary Krasner from New York

Mike, I wasn't referring to "political inexperience" and ability to spin. Bush was extraordinarily inarticulate and disinterested in details. Anyone, including Obama was better in that dept. But rather the important aspect of governing experience. Bush had little, and Obama even less. Obama is severly untested in that area, as even Hilary was able to show with his willingness to confer the legitimacy of the US Presidency to a host of pariah regimes without preconditions.

Obama's supposed mastery of the laundry list of your examples are all examples in which the media aided him with favorable spin. All of which are recounted in the op-eds:

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/CharlesKrauthammer/2008/06/27/obamas_long_march
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/CharlesKrauthammer/2008/07/04/obama_flips_and_flops?page=1
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/CharlesKrauthammer/2008/07/18/who_does_he_think_he_is

As Krauthammer writes:

QUOTE
his grandiloquent Philadelphia speech -- designed to rationalize why "I can no more disown (Jeremiah Wright) than I can disown my white grandmother" -- then wiped away a tear and hailed him as the second coming of Abraham Lincoln. Three months later, with Wright disowned, grandma embraced and the great "race speech" now inoperative, not a word of reconsideration is heard from his media acolytes.
UNQUOTE

Aug. 01 2008 03:52 PM
Mike Leung from Brooklyn

Journalists don't need to be free speech absolutists. If they were, news organizations would fire their editors. There is no inconsistency here.

Aug. 01 2008 03:27 PM
the truth from Atlanta/New York

The fact that you deleted my comment this late in the day and did not delete #32 answers my question on #36. Cowards your people.

Aug. 01 2008 01:07 PM
the truth from Atlanta/New York

LOL whatever moderator! Happy deleting!

Aug. 01 2008 01:07 PM
eva

27]
Posted by: Mike Leung
August 01, 2008 - 10:46AM
Brooklyn
"I, for one, look forward to selecting "looks like a dude on a dollar bill" as an ethnicity on the next census."

LOL!

Aug. 01 2008 12:39 PM
Mike Leung from Brooklyn

"...try reading some of the books critical of Bush. The consensus was that he was NOT "too intellectually deficient". Rather, he was too inexperienced. And Obama has even less experience than Bush had."

Bush and his handlers didn't beat the "inevitable" candidate for his party's nomination. Obama did. Hillary wasn't on top of his campaign, but Obama's personal touch in handling the Wright controversy demonstrated he is on top of his.

McCain challenged Obama on his diplomacy experience. Obama responded by flying overseas, and it was like Disney Birds flew to him and dropped Diplomacy Cred™ from their beaks to his hand.

The difference between Bush's political inexperience and Obama's is that Obama is still masterful in spite of the experience he has yet to accrue.

"Let's talk race, and lets be really clear that this country is full of people who won't vote for a black man."

"There's an even greater segment of the population that wants to vote for Obama solely because he's black. It makes them feel good about themselves. That's not exactly how they put it. Rather, they claim that the world would love the US for putting aside our racism!!"

Which counts for =what= against the insistence of many that Obama is Muslim? Heaven forbid the recipient of chickensh*t should enjoy any justifiable relief from it.

Aug. 01 2008 12:29 PM
the truth from Atlanta/New York

@#33 then how did #32 get past ya?

Aug. 01 2008 12:18 PM
Gary Krasner from cfic@nyct.net

Paul, let's be totally honest, OK? There's an even greater segment of the population that wants to vote for Obama solely because he's black. It makes them feel good about themselves. That's not exactly how they put it. Rather, they claim that the world would love the US for putting aside our racism!!

I don't recall any nation commending New Yorkers for electing David Dinkins. And as it turned out, following 8 years of Dinkins in office, not even New Yorkers commended New Yorkers for electing him!!!

Aug. 01 2008 12:06 PM
Gary Krasner from cfic@nyct.net

Elaine, try reading some of the books critical of Bush. The consensus was that he was NOT "too intellectually deficient". Rather, he was too inexperienced. And Obama has even less experience than Bush had.

ALSO, you seem ignorant of the fact that Obama reads all his speeches from a teleprompter. ALL OF THEM. That's why he speaks smoothly in a set speech, but VERY haltingly when speaking off the cuff without a script.

Obama's teleprompter is far off to his right all the time. He has 2020 eye sight, which enables him to see it acutely and not strain. That's his only talent----reading a speech!

Aug. 01 2008 12:01 PM
BL Moderator from nyc

Okay, guys, let's be clear, there is no free speech on this board per se, and we don't make people register because we're lazy, but we will beg for their money and take their cc number, which we DO have the time to do, so keep on posting and we'll keep on deleting! Thanks guys! 1st Ammendment rocks!! Woo hoo!

Aug. 01 2008 11:58 AM
Bob Fredley from nyc

By the time John McCain is done, Obama will be "the nigger."

Aug. 01 2008 11:55 AM
paul from bk

Let's not play the "race card", lets bust out the whole deck.

This country's history of racism is almost as thorough as it's history of hiding racism. Let's talk race, and lets be really clear that this country is full of people who won't vote for a black man.

Aug. 01 2008 11:26 AM
Mike Leung from Brooklyn

"What are the other cards?"

Privileged classes shelter their privileges by establishing taboos to deny their privileges even exist. It's like when people from wealthy families tell you it's rude to talk about money. Poor people have no reservation against talking about money. Now the McCain camp is trying to raise a flag that the taboo against talking about race is endangered simply from the most casual remarks by a black candidate running for president.

The rebuttal that one is "playing a card" -- when referencing an unfaithfulness to reality -- refers to tapping into an agenda that's easy currency in the culture, whether the person you're accusing of playing a card is indulging in a red scare, public-photography scare, etc. I read a recent news report you can't even photograph your own kid in a park in England without the other mothers openly challenging you as a pedophile.

The rebuttal that one is "playing a card" -- with no reference to an unfaithfulness to reality -- seems to literally refer to a taboo against accuracy, to shelter a privilege, whether the taboo is ethnicity, money, sex, liberalism, etc. It can be very annoying.

Aug. 01 2008 11:24 AM
Elaine from New Jersey

I think that Obama's surrogates need to start playing the age card. McCain seems to be "confused." McCain now needs to read his statements b/c he can't be trusted not to get tangled in his message when speking off the cuff. McCain seems to be straining to keep his wits together when he's speaking. For 8 years, we have had puppet president b/c GWB was too intellectually deficient to govern. W/McCain, we will have another puppet president b/c, while McCain may have once been intellectually fit to govern, he very obviously has lost that ability significantly. Obama needs to start suggesting that, with subtlity, of course.

Aug. 01 2008 11:12 AM
the truth from Atlanta/New York

McCain is trying to distract with this ignorance. Most Black people do not use the term "playing the race card" What are the other cards? This phrase irritates me as much as gays likening being Black to be gay.

Aug. 01 2008 10:48 AM
Mike Leung from Brooklyn

I, for one, look forward to selecting "looks like a dude on a dollar bill" as an ethnicity on the next census.

Aug. 01 2008 10:46 AM
Gary Krasner from cfic@nyct.net

Another well ballanced panel of pundits!!! Good Lord! To say that your opponent ran for president with a mere 100 weeks experience as senator is using the race card is incredible. Same with claiming a vote for Obama is risky (somthing that DEMOCRAT Bill Clinton said.) Where's the logic to all this?! And then Jonathan claims "this is all that McCain has"?!! Jonathan, read Krauthammer for the last 3 weeks. Obama has changed positions on every issue he's taken in his short tenure as senator.

To show "balance", Jonathan says in Obama's defense is that raising race (where nothing racial was even said) was MERELY to preempt what the Republicans are PLANNING to do!! What Republicans? Obama is the one with all the 527s gearing up to smear McCain!

Let's get the dirt out now. Obama was raised as a Muslim as a young man. He was attended a Muslim school. A FACT. Where is the media asking him what was that like? Yet they discuss all the time that McCain was born outrside the US. That's balance?

Obama is cashing in on his celeb status. That makes it a legit target. IT IS NOT A RACIAL SMEAR! And it worries me that people of other nations love this fellow. They have separate agendas than Americans. All nations advance their own interests. Not ours. OOPS . . . I just made a racial attack!!!!

Aug. 01 2008 10:42 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Ahh, thank you #15, I thought it was Scott Simon, but wasn't 100% sure.

Aug. 01 2008 10:23 AM
Reese from Queens, New York

The fact that McCain would accuse anyone of playing the "race card" when he spent 27 years using a racial slur in reference to Asians, is actually pretty funny.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/02/18/MN32194.DTL

And no, having been a POW in Vietnam, is not a good excuse. Especially for someone who is running for president.

Aug. 01 2008 10:23 AM
Brian Lehrer Moderator

Hey Guys,

We've deleted some comments that were either off-topic, or not within the WNYC comment posting guidelines.

Please remember to keep your conversations subject appropriate and civil (no name calling).

Thanks.

Aug. 01 2008 10:23 AM
Teal Postula from Pomona, NY

Pundits note that campaigns "talk in code", a picture= 1,000 words. The true "race card" issue is that the McCain commercial flashed unflattering images of Obama's face between images of two young blond scantily clad celebrity girls. This reaches the deep fear Id of the racist segment of America. For McCain to take offence at Obama's response is as disingenuous as if he were to defend mouthing " I respect Senator Obama" while dispalying his middle finger to the camera!

Aug. 01 2008 10:23 AM
Tasha from Marietta, GA

This is just like the white man! It's okay for you all to lump every other ethnic group together (you're all the same- same color, same name,same religon). But when someone puts the shoe on the other foot, they must be playing the 'race card'. Race is not a game for us!

Aug. 01 2008 10:21 AM
the truth from Atlanta/New York

Notice did you just hear how this caller just skated around answering the question, when asked what is meant by "playing the race card"?

Aug. 01 2008 10:20 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

I don’t think what the McCain campaign is doing is any different than what NPR has already done. In a commentary on Weekend Edition Sunday, a senior reporter (sorry, the name escapes me) weeks ago chided Senator Obama for directly painting Senator McCain as racist by criticizing code words on race coming from the McCain campaign. The person on NPR even brought Senator McCain’s adopted children into the commentary with a “how dare Obama attack a man who has opened his home to non-white children” attitude. So, I guess everyone thinks Obama is racist. John McCain and NPR. Glass houses?

Aug. 01 2008 10:20 AM
Judith Ren-Lay from Manhattan

You said Obama had not served out a full "year" as Senator. You mean a full "term". Let's not spread lies so easily.

Aug. 01 2008 10:20 AM
the truth from Atlanta/New York

I agree w/#10

Aug. 01 2008 10:19 AM
the truth from Atlanta/New York

FYI - there is no "race card"

Aug. 01 2008 10:18 AM
TroothSkwad

Hear Scott Simon on this from a month ago

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91769883

Aug. 01 2008 10:18 AM
Jay F. from west village

Why are comments being deleted? Why the censorship by the BL show?

Aug. 01 2008 10:17 AM
BORED

Honestly what are McCains plans. He lays out no policy proposal for anything. All we hear about is offshore drilling and "the surge". When does the media ask him about his policies.

Aug. 01 2008 10:17 AM
seth from NYC

The Polls cannot be trusted.

http://journals.democraticunderground.com/kpete/6752

Aug. 01 2008 10:17 AM
the truth from Atlanta/New York

typical= characteristic, representative, archetypal

Aug. 01 2008 10:17 AM
Owen from Rochester

McCain's campaign is furiously trying to distract from how lousy a candidate he is and how bad his ideas are.

Aug. 01 2008 10:16 AM
Pat from nyc

Obama wasn't playing the race card, he was playing the AGE card. He doesn't look like the other presidents on the dollar bills because he isn't OLD!

Aug. 01 2008 10:16 AM
Look in the Mirror from Manhattan

Andrea Bernstein's 'analysis' is about as fair and balanced as Fox News.

Aug. 01 2008 10:15 AM
Jeffrey Slott from East Elmhurst

The only entity making a big deal of all this BS is the media. You are devoting far too much energy and time into this. With some exceptions, the majority of the voting public could not give a flying fig.

Aug. 01 2008 10:15 AM
the truth from Atlanta/New York

Confusing lineage?? not happy with that comment

Aug. 01 2008 10:14 AM
Tom from Upper West Side

The McCain campaign is getting nasty because of the infusion of Rove proteges into the organization. The desperate negativity will not end until/unless McCain SUPPORTERS demand that it stop. Since they want him to win, they won't say anything.

The nastiness also shows how empty McCain's platform really is.

Aug. 01 2008 10:11 AM
Newyorkistan from Manhattan

Senator Barack Hussein Obama is also the candidate who called his grandmother a 'typical white person'.

What exactly is a 'typical white person'?

What exactly is a 'typical black person'?

Which is more racist? (What if McCain had said it?)

Why is it ok for Senator Obama to classify someone from another race as 'typical' of that race?

Aug. 01 2008 10:09 AM
chris o from New York City

Campaign coverage in this country is so pathetic, even tragicomic, that I have to tune out now. These little meaningless mini-controversies are what drives everything, it is very very very wrong.

Aug. 01 2008 10:09 AM
Richie from Queens

It is time to change the format, we need new blood on this station. People that reflects modern America.

Aug. 01 2008 10:09 AM
BORED

The Race card is what usually unites white people. So all Mccain had to do is bring it up and now it will be a ralying cry for conservatives since its not PC for blacks to acknowledge their skin color.

Aug. 01 2008 09:57 AM

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