That's it. One of the emptiest racial attacks by the mainstream media yet.
Jim Geraghty wrote a piece when Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour was hit with a similarly weak attack and it still works today:
Any white Republican who grew up in the South is going to be accused of racism. In fact, there's quite a bit of evidence to suggest that any Republican running against Barack Obama will be accused of racism, period. Hell, any Republican, running for office, anywhere, at any time, will be accused of racism eventually.I've decided to work on the text of a racial speech that I want some Republican candidate to give. It's not quite done yet, but once I have it finished I'll post it. It's time the real racist culprits are named and shamed.
The Monday campaign against Barbour ran on two tracks; outspoken liberals called him racist; more mainstream sources simply emphasized that he's associated with a racial controversy, which in time will turn into the modifier, "Barbour, who has been accused of racism by critics because of some comments about the South during the segregation era," and so on. The description becomes the inverse of a Good-Housekeeping Seal of Approval, warding off anyone who might give a Southern Republican the benefit of the doubt. Everyone with good sense, not wanting to be associated with a dreaded racial controversy, keeps their distance.
If Barbour's future career is derailed by these comments, it will further reflect the epic double standard reflecting race and partisan politics.Harry Reid can marvel at Barack Obama's lack of a "negro accent" with no real consequence. Bill Clinton can describe Obama to Ted Kennedy as a "guy [who] would have been getting us coffee" not long ago with no real consequence. Hillary Clinton faced accusations of racism for appearing to diminish the accomplishments of Martin Luther King in comparison to Lyndon Johnson -- until the Democratic primary ended, and then no liberal had much reason to stir the controversy further. Joe Biden can utter awful stereotypical jokes about Indians running 7-11s and Dunkin' Doughnuts with no major repercussion. The President's mentor trafficked in explicit racial insults -- referring to Italians as "garlic noses" -- and the topic was deemed irrelevant by many. And of course, there is the former recruiter of the Ku Klux Klan who used the n-word on national television with little major repercussion.
Every major Democrat in public life has made controversial comments about race; it's probably a natural consequence of speaking extemporaneously about the topic in front of television cameras. But that benefit of the doubt is rarely if ever extended to a Republican official.