Credit where credit is due. My only quibble is that he seems to think the paranoia’s in earnest. I’m loath to speculate on which liberals genuinely “see” the supposed subtext and which are dishonestly demagoging an issue from which there’s political advantage to be gained, but let’s just say it doesn’t surprise me to find some of the most reliably cartoonish partisans in the media on board with the racism narrative.

Lucky thing for Timothy Noah that he didn’t publish his “skinny = black” opus until late yesterday evening or else he’d have probably made the cut for this segment. As it is, it falls to his fellow lefties at TNR to be embarrassed on his behalf. Such is the backlash against the paranoia, in fact (with as many Democrats detecting no racism in McCain’s ads as those who did, despite having every partisan incentive to do so), that I’m tempted to think maybe we’ve reached some sort of turning point on bad-faith accusations. I don’t quite buy it — it’s simply too valuable a political weapon — but stuff like this does offer at least a whiff of, er, hope and change.