Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Dangerous Strategy

CBS News has an article up about how some in the GOP see Rev. Wright as a path to beating Obama, if he's nominated -- even to the point of saying:

“For the first time, some Republicans are rethinking Hillary as their first choice,” said Alex Castellanos, a veteran media consultant who recently worked for Mitt Romney’s campaign.

Later in the article this is mentioned:

“I usually get three or four emails a week on Obama,” said Michigan Republican chairman Saul Anuzis Monday. “Today I received more than 10 - all of them on his minister.”

Among the e-mails Anuzis received was a link to a mash-up video splicing together Wright’s most extreme comments, Michelle Obama’s statement, footage of Obama not putting his hand over his heart during the anthem at a political event and images of Malcolm X and the two black Olympians in 1968 who raised their fists in the “black power” salute set to the iconic rap song by Public Enemy “Fight the Power.”

While Wright's comments won't make many friends, including those other images strikes me as very dangerous for a Republican party that's already struggling.

This isn't the 1960s -- and I'm not at all sure that modern Americans will react that negatively to Malcolm X or those two black Olympians raising their fists. Americans of all color are awfully sympathetic to the underdog rebel, even if we have doubts about their methods. Are they trying to indicate that blacks in the 1960s didn't even have a right to be angry? Are they trying to sell that idea now? In 2008?

I can guarantee that if I had been subjected to segregation and similar policies up through the 60s that I would have had a hard time keeping my anger in check.

And I also wonder to what extent it's even possible to make a criticism such as "he's not patriotic" stick to a presidential candidate. Did they even manage that against George McGovern? They didn't even try against Kerry and instead went after his truthfulness.

Thinking more about it, I suspect this is a feint. They can't really hope for it to work in the general election -- if they did, they'd wait until the general election to bring the full force of their arguments to bear instead of blowing their (perhaps only) wad in March. But maybe by media-blitzing this now, they could influence the primary and super-delegates into putting Clinton at the top of the ticket.

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