The Corner

Subject: Race card from the bottom of the deck


Mr. Lowry,

In the AP piece to which you link (“McCain campaign accuses Obama of playing race card”), correspondent Mike Glover makes the following attempt to interpret Senator Obama’s insinuation:

“Obama himself didn’t make clear what distinctions he thinks McCain is likely to raise regarding the presidents on U.S. currency – white men who for the most part were much older than Obama when elected.”

I suppose Andrew Jackson ($20, 61) could fairly be described as much older than the Senator, and we could argue about George Washington ($1, 56) (and Thomas Jefferson (57), though I can’t remember the last time I saw a $2 bill) – I’m 36 myself, and I wouldn’t say that Senator Obama is “much older” than I – but Abraham Lincoln ($5, 51)? And Ulysses Grant ($50) was…46.

Needless to say, Mr. Gibbs’ explanation:

“’What Barack Obama was talking about was that he didn’t get here after spending decades in Washington. There is nothing more to this than the fact that he was describing that he was new to the political scene. He was referring to the fact that he didn’t come into the race with the history of others. It is not about race.’”

doesn’t wash: what does someone new to the political scene “look like” (Senator Obama’s words)? Which leaves?

ME: Yeah, and Washington didn’t even serve as president in Washington. And Lincoln, Jackson, and Grant weren’t Washington time-servers. In fact, they are better as examples for Obama of how you don’t need Washington experience (if you put aside, of course, the genius political and moral leadership of Lincoln prior to getting elected and the inspired generalship of Jackson and–especially–Grant).


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