What other reason could an old man have for his “biography tour,” one obviously designed to instill in white voters a sense of nostalgia for Jim Crow ahead of the showdown with Obama? Ahem.

There’s not much meat left on the bone now that Karl’s finished devouring this so let me offer one of his table scraps:

I must admit that I am vaguely disappointed in Stoller and Yglesias for not being paranoid enough in playing the race card. McCain’s biographical speeches are very much about the father-son relationship. To fully reverse race-bait, Stoller and Yglesias should have claimed McCain’s father-centrism is a subtly-coded contrast with Obama’s black absentee father. After all, if you are going to be nitwit, don’t be a half-wit about it.

Don’t forget, his last ad dealt with his high school honor code. An oblique attempt to spark a glint of remembrance of any other “codes” in the minds of septuagenarians? The question answers itself, my friends.

What you’re seeing here is the extension into left-wing punditry of the Obama campaign strategy described by TNR, in which the Messiah himself remains a beacon of post-racial promise while his more cretinous spokesman race-bait the hell out of anyone in their way. The reason Yglesias and Stoller — “respectable” left-wing intellectuals, mind you — are willing to resort to an argument this feeble is because no one inside McCain’s tent has said anything offensive thus far (on the contrary) and they’re chomping at the bit to get this meme rolling. Their best bet was Bill Cunningham’s “Barack Hussein Obama” idiocy, for which Cunningham was duly criticized by McCain and for which McCain was duly criticized by Josh Marshall under the new “you’re responsible for everything your side says no matter how quickly you denounce it” principle — which, curiously, didn’t apply to Obama vis-a-vis Jeremiah Wright. Exit question: How is it that the left is able to detect alleged subtexts as subtle as this or the darkening of Obama’s skin in that Hillary ad, and yet cheering on a cartoonishly racist preacher for 20 years somehow ends up as no biggie?

Update: Here you go. Loads of black-and-white footage. QED.

Update: Coming from a black Hillary supporter, this’ll earn a few grumbles from the left. Coming from a black McCain supporter, it’d warrant saturation coverage on nutroots blogs. I think electing Obama would be good for race relations, sufficiently so that I regard it as the chief consolation prize if he wins, but I saw a video a few weeks ago by a black YouTube user making the same points Cleaver’s making here. The racial aftereffects of his election aren’t a reason to vote for or against him since we can’t know what they’ll be, but it’s an interesting subject:

Following up on remarks he made to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in which he described Obama as a “mediocre” orator, Cleaver said he thought the Illinois senator will win the Democratic presidential nomination, but that doesn’t mean the work will be done trying to improve race relations in America.

“I think whites would say, ‘How could anybody say we were racist, that we have any racist residue when you look what we just did (potentially electing Obama)?’ And African Americans would say, ‘Look at what we just did. So now we ought to have unblocked access to all of our dreams, all of our hopes,’” Cleaver said.

“And I think there would be great disappointment when they saw some issue of race surfacing. It would be like, ‘Oh my goodness. I thought we were past that.’”