Wednesday, March 19, 2008
wasn't born hustlers, i was birthin em:
Is John McCain running against Barack Obama, or running against Blackness?

So, a long time ago, as a goof, Yglesias, Capps and I signed up for McCainSpace pages. I picked BenevolentHegemon as my McCainSpace nick. That, I soon learned, entitled me to endless McCain fundraising emails. Today I got an interesting one.

"My Friends," it read, "I am not running for president to be somebody, but to serve our country with honor. I seek the office of the President of the United States because I am as confident --"

OK, stop right there. He's not running for president "to be somebody"? What does that mean? Who says he's running for president to be somebody? Oh yeah, I almost forgot -- Jesse Jackson.

In (I think) 1971, Jackson wrote a poem called "I Am Somebody." Later, of course, Jackson ran for president. I have absolutely no idea if McCain is trying to sound some kind of dog whistle to the right -- "Black man running for president! A lot like that scary Negro!!!" -- but I can't think of any alternative explanation for that awkward, conspicuous phrase.
--Spencer Ackerman
McCain's writers probably wouldn't mind if a dog whistle was sent, but I think they also intended to spin the McCain-is-old meme in a positive direction. They'd like us to think that compared to Obama, McCain is a fully developed statesman and compared to Clinton McCain isn't on some kind of ego trip. Ultimately, I think McCain's own lack of fire (as evidenced by his lazy remarks conflating Al Queda and other "extremists" and by his impatience with certain lines of questioning) will emphasize the McCain-is-old meme. If he persists in telling us that his campaign is solely for us, we'll come to believe (if we haven't already) that he's either lying or reluctant to be President. Those that conclude the latter won't be inspired to punish him with their votes.
Blogger jsrutstein | 6:34 AM