Delivered, with exquisite nuance, within two minutes of congratulating Maverick for toning down the rhetoric yesterday in Minnesota and within a few hours of Rep. John Lewis comparing McCain to George Wallace, a smear for which the campaign is demanding an apology. In fact, Obama used this same rhetoric against the Clintons before the South Carolina primary and was called on it by the New Republic, among other lefty websites. TNR contributor Cinque Henderson:
His use of the phrase is resonant. It comes from a scene in Malcolm X, where Denzel Washington warns black people about the hidden evils of “the White Man” masquerading as a smiling politician: “Every election year, these politicians are sent up here to pacify us,” he says. “You’ve been hoodwinked. Bamboozled.”
By uttering this famous phrase, Obama told his black audience everything it needed to know. He was helping to convince blacks that the first two-term Democratic president in 50 years, a man referred to as the first black president, is in fact a secret racist. As soon as I heard that Obama had quoted from Malcolm X like this, I knew that Obama would win South Carolina by a massive margin.
It’s code, in other words, used by The One when he wants to accuse his opponents of racism but doesn’t want to do it so directly that he’ll be held accountable. I’ll let Jonathan Martin take it from there.