In which the single dumbest, most paranoid racial charge of the campaign is recycled on national television by a former presidential advisor and current Harvard professor. I said it before but it bears repeating: If you take this logic to its conclusion, there’s literally no non-racist way to accuse a member of a minority group of having an outsized ego. Any synonym you can conjure — elitist, arrogant, “megalomaniac narcissist” (to quote Hitchens) — can all happily be dismissed as “code,” regardless of whether the subject might in fact (a) display his very own presidential seal, (b) be known to describe rural voters in terms that call to mind Cletus the slackjawed yokel on “The Simpsons,” and (c) oh, by the way, lead his very own cult with himself as godhead.
George Will makes a point I made myself last week, that the irony of all these bad-faith charges of racism is that most of the GOP’s knocks on Obama’s ego are straight out of the playbook they used against “haughty, French-looking Democrat” John Kerry. Granted, there was no “Moses” ad for Waffles, but that’s because most people hated him; Obama is adored to an absurdly iconic extent, especially vis-a-vis his actual accomplishments (in Lindsey Graham’s words, “fame without portfolio”), which is why he gets goofed on as leading people to the Promised Land whereas Kerry got the windsurfer treatment. (Although there are plenty of goofs on Obama along the same dorky windsurfer lines to be found if you look around.) The real “tell” here, though, is what Gergen offers as further evidence to support his point — that McCain, when asked about affirmative action, said he opposes quotas. A perfectly mainstream conservative position, and certainly one McCain would also hold if he was facing Hillary, but because he’s facing Obama McCain’s no longer allowed to talk about it. Presumably he should be responding to questions on the subject with a terse “no comment” lest halfwits like this whip out their secret racial decoder rings to tell America what he “really” meant.
That’s okay. The more ridiculous the left’s demagoguery becomes, the more credibility they lose with voters. See, e.g., the new Rasmussen poll on McCain’s Britney ad. Not only did a vast majority see nothing racist about it (Democrats themselves are evenly divided) but fully 53% found St. Barack’s “dollar bill” comment over the line, including 44% of blacks. Keep talking, Gergen. Click the image to watch.