At moments like this, one has to wonder whether Barack Obama regrets his running-mate selection. Going where Obama refused to go during his entire campaign, Joe Biden argued that voters in North Carolina should vote for Obama because of his skin pigmentation rather than his policies or accomplishments. Or perhaps it’s because of his cleanliness and articulation?
Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden, campaigning in North Carolina where black votes could help swing the state to the Democrats, said today that electing a black person to the White House would be transformative.
Biden said the policies of running mate Barack Obama make his presidency even more urgent and declared this to be the most important election that any living person has seen in their lifetime. But he particularly singled out the meaning of electing someone who is black.
“That will be a transformative event in American politics and internationally,” Biden said. “That all by itself will be significant.”
It’s an extension of the Identity Politics Primary that the Democrats conducted this year, which boiled down to whether the party would nominate an African-American or a woman rather than look for experience, electability, and individual accomplishments. This has been the subtext of the Obama campaign all along, but Obama and his team have been smart enough to let proxies make that argument at arm’s length from the candidate. Now Biden has made the Obama campaign look like it needs to make overtly racial pleas to garner votes, and to play on fears and guilt of white voters.
Obama himself warned that the McCain campaign would make an issue of his race. He never offered a single shred of evidence for it, and at least some of the media remained skeptical of Obama’s claims. Joe Biden now has completely undermined this argument, and stupidly put the issue directly on the table. What does that gain him? Obama had 90% of the black vote locked up, and anyone inclined to vote for Obama out of some sense of collective guilt and expiation had long ago made that calculation on his own.
McCain won’t touch this, of course, nor should he. Res ipsa loquitur. (via Michelle)