Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Taking it to the limit

In a post on his blog Joshua Michael Marshall makes the comment that an RNC ad against Harold Ford is racist. Give me a break.

The ad has some people on the street with the following comments -

A Black woman says "Harold Ford looks nice, isn't that enough?" Ford has been a politician for a long time even though he is only 36 but his record is not exactly filled with gravitas.
A White woman says "Terrorists need their privacy" -Ford did not support key areas of the Administration's anti-terrorist proposals.
A White Couple says "When I die Harold Ford will let me pay taxes again." Ford was against the repeal of the death tax.
A White hunter says "Ford's right I do have too many guns." Ford has been more supportive of gun control than many Tennesseans think he should be.
A White Playboy bunny says "I met Harold at the Playboy party" Ford attended a Playboy party at a Superbowl. Most people in the state would wonder why their elected officials would do that based both on the reputation of Playboy and on the simple notion about how much "entertaining" members of congress are treated to.
A White woman says "I would love to pay higher marriage taxes" Ford, like most liberal democrats has opposed measures to reduce the marriage penalty and the alternative minimum tax.
A White farmer sasy "Canada can take care of N. Korea, they're not busy." He rejects the Bush doctrine.
A White man in dark glasses says "So he took money from porn movie producers, I mean who hasn't" If he took money from producers of porn that is a legitimate issue.
A display ad then comes on that says Harold Ford just is not right and then the Playboy bunny comes on and says lavaciously, "Harold, Call me!"

Marshall argues the following - "But then you see that one 'man on the street interview' isn't quite like the rest. It's almost like those old Sesame Street segments, one of these things is not like the other. It's the one spot with the platimum blonde with no visible clothes on, vamping "I met Harold at the Playboy Party." What policy issue is she talking about? It's not connected to anything. It's just, 'I'm a loose white woman. I hooked up with Harold at the Playboy mansion. And I can't wait for him to do me again.'" He argues that the ad is designed to give voters in the state the impression that Harold is having sex with White women. What nonsense. The two people in the ad who do not talk about policy are a White woman and a Black woman. I suspect that many in Tennessee, regardless of race, would be bothered by their legislator going to any party sponsored by Playboy. I think the ad is fair game, it is a mix of personal and issue based attacks that should be open. Had the Playboy bunny been Black and the other non issue person been White - I am sure that Marshall would have still had a problem with the ad.

The news coverage of the ad has been pretty one-sided. For example, one Vanderbuilt professor is quoted as saying that he has surveyed some people (perhaps 2?) and everyone immediately sees the race card. Chris Matthews argued that this was typical of hit ads and that the GOP was the only side doing these kinds of things. What nonsense! The real issue here is whether there is a legitimate issue about how much politicians get entertained by people seeking favors from them. In Tennessee, where Playboy is not held in high esteem by many quarters, the issue of receiving favors from a company like that should be a legitimate issue.

Many Tennesseans remember Jim Sasser, who was elected as a conservative republican and got to Washington and became a good buddy of many things left. Sasser was the yokel who kept yammering about the "dafasit" when he served as chair of the Budget Committee. The veracity of a politician's beliefs should always be in question.

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