Earlier, I wrote about the racebaiting that the Obama campaign has conducted and how it has poisoned policy debate in this election cycle. Obama adviser Austan Goolsbee gives a real-life demonstration of this tactic in a debate on economic policy yesterday with Douglas Holtz-Eakin. After Holtz-Eakin wondered aloud when Team Obama juggled around a tax policy, Goolsbee all but accused Holtz-Eakin of being a racist:
“Is that socialist? Are you a Muslim?”
Holtz-Eakin had a perfectly understandable objection to Goolsbee’s statement — it differed from what Team Obama had proposed earlier. Holtz-Eakin challenged Goolsbee on the accuracy of his statement, and Goolsbee responded by basically admitting that Team Obama is making up their tax policy as they go along. He then took a fair point about the McCain health-care plan using the same mechanism and turned it into an accusation of racism against Holtz-Eakin.
No one on Team McCain has ever accused Obama of being a Muslim — ever. But it serves Goolsbee and Obama to make the accusation. Now, discussion of mortgage-deduction policy can be declared racist and off-limits to Team McCain for the final two weeks of the election … and to the rest of the country for the next four years.
It’s unethical, dishonest, cheap, and finally stupid. But that’s the Team Obama approach to this election.
Addendum: This isn’t the first time Goolsbee has been sent to reverse Obama. Remember the NAFTA Dance?