September 16, 2009

Craig Silverman looks for a case where Obama personally played the race card.

Filed under: Uncategorized — tommoriarty @ 11:18 pm
Tags: , ,

Today former President Jimmy Carter said:

“I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African American.”

I am not going to discuss the merits, or even the sanity, of Carter’s comments at this time.  Instead, I am going to directly answer Craig Silverman’s (Caplis and Silverman, Denver’s 630 KHOW) analysis of this controversy.  Silverman points out cases where Obama’s associates or underlings have played the race card, but Obama has attempted to put out the fire with reassuring words.  But that Obama has never personally played the race card.  For example, Silverman says

“…I think if you are going to make it specific to Barack Obama, then you are going to have to point to examples…I don’t see Barack Obama himself playing the race card…. If Barack Obama would have said what Jimmy Carter did – wow – that would be bad.  I’d have to re-evaluate Barack Obama.  But instead you have Jimmy Carter saying it and Barack Obama’s white house immediately saying ‘We don’t agree'”

Dan Caplis responds…

“Which was smart on their part because they understand the blowback from the tactics they’ve already employed which come from the same family. I mean, the overall tactic here is to go out and to try to silence and intimidate people by labeling them something horrible if they oppose you on policy….”

Silverman’s again insists that it is some of Obama’s supporters who play the race card, but that there are no examples of Obama playing the race card himself.  Silverman explains…

“What’s insidious, what’s dangerous for the country is the playing of the race card.  So I’m specific to that.  So, I’m looking for examples of when Barak Obama personally has played the race card.”

Well Craig, look no longer.  Here is the example you are looking for:  It was widely reported on August 1st of 2008, during the heat of the presidential campaign, that Obama implied the Republicans would resort to a campaign of racial fear to keep him out of the white house.  Obama said…

“What they’re going to try to do is make you scared of me. You know, he’s not patriotic enough. He’s got a funny name. You know, he doesn’t look like all those other Presidents on those dollar bills, you know.”

The implications of Obama’s statement are perfectly clear.  He played the race card.



  1. Does Obama being multiracial make any difference here? I just blogged on it at http://soozah.wordpress.com/2009/10/12/rush-limbough-on-the-banking-queen-and-the-magic-negro/

    Comment by Federal Farmer — October 12, 2009 @ 12:17 pm | Reply

    • Federal Farmer,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Do you think I should pass your question along to my three multi-racial children? Perhaps they could answer it better then me.

      I look forward to your response.

      Best regards,
      Political Pen

      Comment by tommoriarty — October 12, 2009 @ 12:27 pm | Reply

  2. The point that you are making here seems ambiguous to me. Am I being dense, or are you intentionally trying to leave this question open ended?

    I see this situation as this. Latent racism is still a very big part of who we are in this country. From the point of view from someone who has been on the receiving end of suppressed racism, I have become very aware of who I am around, and if necessary I manage to squeeze in the point that I am a NY Jew into a conversation. As I travel around the country, I have become very tuned into the nervous reaction from certain mid western evangelical sorts, who kind of look around to see if my horns are sticking up. Sometimes it is best to take a strike first kind of attitude to get the elephant out of the room. Then according to the reactions that I see, I can base the rest of my conversation accordingly.

    I remember when Barack Obama made the statement that you quoted above, and I remember being extremely happy that he had addressed that huge elephant that was hovering over our nation. So was this playing the race card? This question alone is a loaded one. The way I see it, he cleared all the crap away and then was able to move passed it. I guess everyone would see this differently however.

    Comment by willpen — October 14, 2009 @ 9:52 am | Reply

    • Dear Willpen,

      Thank you for your very thoughtful comment.

      First, let me state that I was not intentionally trying to leave this question open ended. If it seemed that way, then I will take your comment as a fair criticism of my prose.

      With his statement, Barack Obama was saying that his opposition in the campaign was racist. but if you examine McCain’s campaign closely – it was obviously not racist.

      His statement also implies that his opposition was appealing to the racism of the voters. I think if you honestly evaluate the campaign you will come to the conclusion that this is also not true. Obama’s statement casts the undeserved suspicion of racism on millions who voted for McCain. I suggest that a large fraction of the population lives with the fear of being unfairly painted by this brush.

      Were there some people who voted against Obama because they are racist? No doubt. What fraction? I would guess less than 1%. Were there some people who voted FOR Obama because they are racist? No doubt. What fraction? I would guess 3%. Were there some people who are NOT RACIST, but voted FOR Obama because he is black. No doubt. What fraction? I would guess 10%.

      You seem like an intelligent guy who is seeking the truth. I am going to lay some criticism on you, and I hope you will take it in the proper spirit: You have presented a prejudiced picture of “mid western evangelical sorts.” For the record, I am not and evangelical, and although I was raised as a Christian, I am not one now. However, I know plenty of people who are Christian and some who are evangelical. Sometimes evangelicals can be irksome in their genuine (but in my mind misguided) beliefs, but I find them to be tolerant and good neighbors when it really matters. I have never met a single one in my daily life who expressed any hatred for Jews, but I have met many who have expressed great sympathy for Jewish suffering over the centuries. My guess is that if a holocaust situation were to brew up in this country, there would be a lot of evangelicals hiding Jews in their attics and basements.

      Like you, I also remember clearly when Barack Obama made the statement I quoted. That very statement had a great personal impact on my life. Someday I may write a blog post on that impact, but at this time I am not ready to share those personal details.

      Very best regards,
      Tom Moriarty (PoliticalPen)

      Comment by tommoriarty — October 14, 2009 @ 2:23 pm | Reply

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