I hope those wingnuts don't play the race card on Rangel

Ladd Ehlinger Jr., an Alabama political consultant who produced larger-than-life spots for Republican candidates like Dale Peterson and Rick Barber this year, laughs uncontrollably when told that Democrats are even talking about this. “I have advice for Republicans who are too weak-kneed to make hay out of Rangel,” he says. “If anyone starts coming at you about Rangel or any of this stuff, just [say] this is post-racial America. This isn’t about race. It’s about a fat guy lying out in the sun on a beach and not paying his taxes.”…

That’s the conservative response to the “race-baiting” charge, more or less. They have the right to bring up these issues; they fully expect Democrats to try to deflect them with a debate about race. If liberals think the lesson of the Willie Horton ad was that Republicans use race to win elections, conservatives think the lesson was that Democrats will scandalize and racialize just about anything.

“Americans of all colors/beliefs/persuasions don’t have jobs,” says Floyd Brown, who produced the Horton ad in 1988 and continues to work as a political consultant. “The economy sucks, and liberals want to hold college seminars on racism and gender bias.”