McCain Gurgles in the Slime

McCain campaign manager, Rick Davis, in a television performance, which, if he were a woman, would be called strident, or a black man, angry, faced down a cowed Andrea Mitchell after she questioned him about a McCain ad that even offended the Time’s gentle Bob Hebert. Herbert wrote: ”Now, from the hapless but increasingly venomous McCain campaign, comes the slimy Britney Spears and Paris Hilton ad. The two highly sexualized women (both notorious for displaying themselves to the paparazzi while not wearing underwear) are shown briefly and incongruously at the beginning of a commercial critical of Mr. Obama.

“The Republican National Committee targeted Harold Ford with a similarly disgusting ad in 2006 when Mr. Ford, then a congressman, was running a strong race for a U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee. The ad, which the committee described as a parody, showed a scantily clad woman whispering, ‘Harold, call me.’” Herbert even located some dog whistle meat in the ad. Phallic symbols like the leaning tower of Pisa. Davis for his part accused Obama of playing the race card, when he commented that he didn’t look like the presidents whose faces appear on the currency. Of course, Hillary Clinton said something similar during the primary, yet nobody accused her of playing the gender card, but Davis and his associates weren’t interested in consistency.

Their ad, which suggested a sexual connection between Obama and two blondes, was meant to do for McCain what the Willie Horton did for Bush One and what the Ford ad did for Senator whatshisname. So clumsy and obvious and removed from contemporary culture was this ad that Paris Hilton replied with one that was superior and probably cost less.

That they would slime ball Obama from the bottom at this stage of the campaign might be viewed as a sign of panic, no matter what cable reports about a tight race. His campaign most know something that the MSNBC and CNN infotainers and McCain enablers of the segregated media don’t.This kind of Hail Mary pass, using the kind of sports metaphor with which commentators on shows like “Morning Joe” use to convince their viewers of their familiarity with the working class, usually occurs in October a few weeks before the election. What Robert Crumb might call the “When–The –Niggers- Take- Over America” ad. After the ad, cable ran panels which included the usual prattle, filler that takes place between ads, except this time, Rachel Maddow, the brightest of the on air commentators, David Gergen and Ron Brownstein deciphered the racist codes of Davis’s recent appeals, for example, that Obama was “presumptuous, ”while black on- camera puppets of the far right denied that this was the case. They all seemed to be employers of Rev. Sun Moon, one of whom was used to frame the discussion on Jonathan Klein’s sinister attempt at gaining ratings, the sleazy infotainment spectacular, “Black In America, ”replete with the sort of images of blacks CNN runs each day: criminals, addicts, sexual predators ( especially when the victims are white women) and the stragglers of American society, only this time dignified with panels- a carnival of charismatics- who competed with each other for applause lines. Klein, America’s Julius Streicher and Davis probably think that their values are superior to Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan’s family’s.

To respond to the Davis ads, MSNBC ran Joe Mitchell, a black regular and former Cheney speechwriter, all day. He was one of those who predictably discounted the racist features of the ad. I’m wondering where the MSNBC and CNN producers get these far right black people. Does Karl Rove have a secret Maryland laboratory where if one could hurdle a barbed wired fence, one would find a windowless building where inside these black right wingers are being created in tubes, ready for use by the networks as opinion stand ins?

Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised that Congressman Harold Ford defended McCain’s camp from charges of racism. He’s the head of Clinton’s post race Democratic Leadership Council, an outfit that was formed to stop Jesse Jackson.The DLC holds that whatever problems black Americans encounter is a result of their personal behavior. I think that my personal behavior is o.k., yet when I show up at an exercise track in a white neighborhood, I get stalked regularly by the Berkeley police. (Progressive Berkeley is now the whitest tract in Contra Costa Country.) It’s a track owned by the university where I’m a faculty member. What do the upper west side progressives say about class being the basic “contradiction” of the United States? To the police, blacks belong to the same class.

I’m sure that Ford was aware that McCain meant to spring one of these skanky ads from the beginning of the campaign, the ad that exposed the other McCain, not the beatific faced martyr lying on a prisoner of war cot, but the man who makes sick jokes about bombing Iran, finds humor in rape, and offers his wife as a contestant in a biker’s beauty contest in which nearly nude women do awful things with bananas while gyrating their buttocks, which makes you wonder why some of the Clinton feminists are threatening to vote for the man or assent to his election by staying home.The Zogby poll says that Obama is losing the votes of younger white women. Maybe you got to treat them rough, In order to woo this faction, maybe Obama should invite Mrs.Clinton to join him in an Apache dance.

I’m sure that Ford knows that McCain’s first hire was Terry Nelson, a former Bush-Cheney campaign operative, who gets to exhibit his weird fantasies before the public and get paid for it. McCain fired him in July of 2007 for “ mismanagement of operations and excessive spending.” Nelson was the man who designed the ad connecting Ford to a blonde Playboy girl. The notorious bimbo ad for which Rev. Jesse Jackson got him fired from Wal Mart. Thank god for Jesse Jackson. Maureen Dowd sounds silly when she sums up Rev. Jackson’s career as that of exploiting “white guilt, ” on the basis of comments by Shelby Steele who gets paid by the far right for his recycling of the same two or three ideas. That blacks are prone to “victimization” and that they exploit white guilt which he repeats endlessly like a windup toy. His ideal is an African American who allows injustices to happen to them without protest less they be accused of “victimization,” a word that rich publishers insist be used in scores of Op Eds that blame black men for all social problems so as to deflect attention from the excesses of the taxpayers’ subsidized “Free Market” system. In the 19th Century, Steele’s ideal African American was known as “The Contented Slave.” Like John McWhorter, who told a C-Span audience that whatever complaints that blacks lodge about their treatment in American society stem from their “”insecurity, ” Steele even accepts money from billionaire Eugenics quacks.

If his associating Obama with two hot blondes were not enough, McCain’s bottom feeders followed this one up with one of a Obama grinning after the fading image of a vulnerable white man and a child, an ad that was supposed to have been based upon the form used by the show “America’s
Most Wanted.” They were reaching all the way back to the middle ages with that one. According to legend, St.Nick’s assistant Zwarte Pete (Black Peter), stuffs white children into sacks and transports them across the border from the Netherlands into Spain.

They also did an ad in which Obama was linked to a movie made in 1956, and starring Charleton Heston.

If I were to cast Obama in a movie, I would have him fighting through a crowd of flesh eating zombies and the lead zombie would be labeled “the media.”

How did I feel about the ads? Some years ago, a clique of white students tried to needle me by writing racially offensive stories. I told them that they could write all of the racist material that they desired as long as they made it fresh and original. That ended their efforts. The ringleader finally came to my office and confessed that I reminded him of his father.

ISHMAEL REED is the editor of Konch. His new book,”Mixing It Up, Taking On The Media Bullies,” was published this month by De Capo.


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Ishmael Reed is the author of The Complete Muhammad Ali.

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