The point of playing the race card is to get your opponent to shut up. It’s to create a high cost for anyone staking out the opposing position. It’s cynical. It poisons public discourse. And it actually fosters real racism in two ways: by stoking racial hostility and by making it harder for the public to distinguish between actual racism and everything falsely called racism…

When the Super PAC “Herman Cain for America” repurposed Thomas’s overheated phrase for Cain, it was worse than just sensationalistic — it was embarrassing and cynical.

As things get difficult for Obama’s reelection next year, we can expect the president’s proxies and defenders to use charges of racism in an effort to discredit his critics. Such charges always hurt feelings, but they have been cheapened so much by the Al Sharptons and Ed Schultzes of the world that they’ve lost their political potency.

The last things conservatives should want to do is lend some legitimacy to the race card.