Media Blog

Crying Racism in a Crowded Political Theater

Here’s Time’s Karen Tumulty on John McCain’s new ad featuring former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines:

This is hardly subtle: Sinister images of two black men, followed by one of a vulnerable-looking elderly white woman.
Let me stipulate: Obama’s Fannie Mae connections are completely fair game. But this ad doesn’t even mention a far more significant tie–that of Jim Johnson, the former Fannie Mae chairman who had to resign as head of Obama’s vice presidential search team after it was revealed he got a sweetheart deal on a mortgage from Countrywide Financial. Instead, it relies on a fleeting and tenuous reference in a Washington Post Style section story to suggest that Obama’s principal economic adviser is former Fannie Mae Chairman Frank Raines. Why? One reason might be that Johnson is white; Raines is black.

Agh. Really? So pretty much any juxtaposition of a white woman and a black man is racist. Riiiiight. Doesn’t matter what Raines has actually done, as long as a spectrographic analysis of his skin tone confirms he is in fact black — so much for evaluating the content of his character. Also, here’s the Washington Post story on Raines referenced in the ad:

He has shaved eight points off his golf handicap, taken a corner office in Steve Case’s D.C. conglomeration of finance, entertainment, and health-care companies and more recently, taken calls from Barack Obama’s presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters.

What’s unfair or “tenuous” about that? Also, I hate to break it to Tumulty, but the reason why they didn’t use Johnson in the ad is not because he’s white — but because they were saving Johnson for another ad. The only person here injecting race into the campaign here is Tumulty. 
UPDATE: More on this over at Perfunction.