A fitting story on a day when Loughner’s back in the news, in case you were ever tempted to believe that the Democrats’ demand for a “new tone” post-Tucson was anything more than a cheap political bludgeon. In fact, Clyburn once offered his own theory about what drove Loughner to kill, and it was, shall we say, distinctly Clyburnesque.

In a way I’m glad that the left’s gearing up for 18 months of Mediscaring. The more time they spend accusing Republicans of wanting to kill old people, the less time they’ll spend accusing Republicans of hating black people. Demagogue us if you must, but at least change the answers to the Mad Libs every few years.

House Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn, the highest-ranking African-American in Congress, on Wednesday blamed most of President Barack Obama’s political problems on racism…

“You know, I’m 70 years old,” he said. “And I can tell you; people don’t like to deal with it, but the fact of the matter is, the president’s problems are in large measure because of the color of his skin.”…

Clyburn suggested that the “birther” movement of Americans who say Obama wasn’t born in the United States is fueled by racism.

“I don’t know why anybody didn’t ask for John McCain’s” birth certificate, Clyburn said. “He wasn’t even born in this country.”

This, of course, explains the right’s comparative fondness for white liberal presidents like, say, Jimmy Carter. I’ll say this for Clyburn: If nothing else, the man’s at least consistent. He’s been demagoging Obama’s opponents as racist since The One’s first month in office, when he hint-hinted that Mark Sanford’s and Bobby Jindal’s opposition to the stimulus was driven by some sort of animus towards blacks. Six months later, he compared ObamaCare protesters to the thugs who attacked civil-rights marchers. All he’s doing here is following his usual playbook, and of course unwittingly offering a sneak preview of the DNC’s strategy next October if the Mediscare game plan doesn’t work out and The One trails in the polls with only a few weeks to go. Sure, Americans are upset about nine-percent unemployment, high gas prices, and catastrophic federal spending — but what’s really driving the Republican nominee’s lead?

As further reading, here’s Shelby Steele gaming out the inevitable racial slant to next year’s Democratic messaging. Exit question: Is the whole Senate racist?