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Apr 28, 2008


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What's sadder is that ads can work.


What is even sadder is that the ad is being used against Perdue and Moore who are both white and the only "racially charging" is coming from Rev. Wright's mouth, not the GOP.

I'm still waiting for someone to tell me exactly how this ad is supposed to be racially charged when it is actually a condemnation of racially charged speech by Rev. Wright.

Wright says whites created AIDS, goddamn America, etc. Obama listens to Wright for 20 years, Perdue and Moore support Obama, GOP runs ad pointing these facts out and labeling Wright's speech as too extreme, the GOP is accused of being racially divisive for having a negative view of Wright's divisive words.

It's a dumb ad because the links to Perdue and Moore are tenuous, but to label an ad that essentially condemns the racially divisive language of Rev. Wright as being too extreme as being racially charged itself is simply stupid logic for idiots.

Really, a point by point as to how this ad is a racist act by the GOP would be nice, otherwise the criticisms are completely ass backwards.

Britt Whitmire

Sam, if the ad was done by one of Helms' "boys". Ergo, it IS racial or bigoted or whatever you wish to call it. Ask Carter Wrenn. Look at the record.

Dave Dobson

Sam, the ad basically runs like this:

Obama, a black guy, has a preacher who's a really crazy black guy. See, look at how crazy this black guy is. Perdue and Moore support Obama, so they support this crazy black guy. We don't need crazy black guy supporters running the state.

In a slave state not so long out of segregation, with Confederate flags flying or adorning trucks in many towns, the ad looks a lot like an excuse to make cheap spurious connections to black extremists, and to use Wright's and Obama's blackness as a source of difference.

It's not as overtly racist as a Klan rally, but spare me the "Who, me?" defense - these folks know what they're doing, and they're doing it on purpose.


So we also don't need crazy white guy supporters running the state. Maybe the ad is "we don't need people who support extreme positions, including positions of bigotry running the state".

It just goes to show that more white people have such blinding guilt about race that they will read race into everything. Or it could just be partisan hackery and a need to defend Obama at all costs. Has it occurred to you that Wright isn't being featured because he is black, but rather because he IS extreme?

Would you feel the same way if the ad was about Ayers instead of Wright, or is the new rule that black men with extreme positions cannot be featured in ads or it is racism?

I also wonder where your condemnation of Bill & Hillary Clinton is considering they have been running around saying essentially the same thing. But that's different...

The more politically correct you guys get, the more ridiculous you appear.

Andy Vance

Would you feel the same way if the ad was about Ayers instead of Wright

What if this weren't a hypothetical question?

Tony Wilkins

It's odd that you would link to a "rumor" using terms in the ad such as "word on the street".
And then you seem to confirm the rumor with your headline, "Haunted by Helms".
Reminds me of a line from a movie that goes, "Your left, your left, your left".

Ed Cone

You find it odd that I would link to a column Rob Christensen, one of the best-known political reporters in the state?

NC is haunted by Helms no matter who made the ad. It's a ghost I would love to exorcise.


Funny Ed, but most voters in NC didn't see it that way when it came to Helms. To what do you attribute that to? 51% of the state being racists?


NC is haunted by many issues. I wonder if the hauntings can ever stop with folks referring to NC as a slave state almost as if it is present tense?

I am a Repub. I dont like the ad either. But more because I believe the Rev Wright issue to be over (not to mention overblown).

Ed Cone

Obviously not all of Helms' appeal was based on race, and I'm sure a lot of people voted for him despite his retrograde views on the subject.

But attitudes do change over time. Go back far enough, and many North Carolinians were in favor of chattel slavery. Somewhat more recently -- into my lifetime, in fact -- Jim Crow enjoyed broad political support in our state. Views on the subject of race continued to change over Helms' own long career, and have changed more since he left office. My hope is that the race-baiting part of his legacy will be consigned to history just as thoroughly as the earlier attitudes it echoed.


Well your vision is not likely to come true as long as accusations of race baiting are raised anytime a black person is criticized for making radical statements or featured in a television ad condemning those views.

The famous "black hands" ad really couldn't have been done any other way, now could it? Who other than a white male was going to be affected most by affirmative action? Listen to that ad again and tell me what part of it was false or misleading or non-topical. In the land of make believe I suppose we aren't supposed to discuss or debate such issues in a campaign lest we are accused of racism.

I don't get all of these white people seeing race baiting every time a black man is shown in a political ad. If that is the standard, then I suppose Obama can never be attacked solely because of the color of his skin. I think most people in NC have figured out that he is black by now and he is still well ahead in the polls. We knew Harvey Gantt was black, too.


Ironically, given the topic du jour, several months ago I compared the odious Clinton/Obama hyperracial campaign unfavorably with the much-denounced "white hands" ad, adding the caption "This infamous campaign spot from 1990 is far too understated on race issues, at least by today’s Democratic Party standards."


But it's okay when Democrats do it. Hillary/Bill have race baited in this campaign over and over again, but the wrath is reserved for the NC GOP. Many of the people complaining about this new ad would almost certainly vote for Hillary if she were the Democratic nominee because "other issues are more important".

The GOP gets no such break, nor is this ad which is an attack on extremism anywhere close to the race baiting that the Clinton's have engaged in.

I said a few months ago that Democrats have no business lecturing anyone on race issues any more considering the pass they are giving the Clinton's and the double standard that has come to the fore in this campaign. Obama wants change and to end this kind of politics, yet many in his own party can't seem to avoid playing that card.


I'm not giving the Clinton's a pass, and I know others who feel the same. Wrong is wrong.

Ged Maheux

PBS or UNC had a great documentary on a couple months ago about Helms. Was scary as all get out. Seeing how he operated and the hacks he had working on him that played on racial fears was quite disgusting. Took a great deal of constitution just to get through the thing.

I remember when I moved to NC I didn't know who the hell he was. But I found out quick enough. He did manage some positive measures for NC, but most of the time his power came from the fear, uncertainty and doubt of North Carolinians.

Andy Vance

this ad which is an attack on extremism

Here's your moment of Zen.

Britt Whitmire

Billary have been called out for their racist tactics MANY times during the primaries. You're premise of "it's okay if they do it" is factually incorrect. It hasn't and isn't okay for them to do it and they have suffered a backlash because of it.


Obama condemned Wright today saying "I gave him the benefit of the doubt in my speech in Philadelphia explaining that he's done enormous good. ... But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS. ... There are no excuses. They offended me. They rightly offend all Americans and they should be denounced."

I guess that means that Obama himself is playing the race card for pointing out and condemning Wright's extremism (or NOT extremism according to some of the commenters on this subject).

Of course, I'm still waiting for Ed to write that post- which he probably won't because it confirms what I have been saying about Wright for the past week- a view now being confirmed by Obama himself.

Britt, how many of those condemning Billary for racist tactics do you think will still vote for Billary if she somehow gets the nomination? That's the real test of "it's okay if they do it".

Ed Cone

You were far from alone in noticing that Wright said objectionable things, Sam.

You were pretty much on your own in equating him to David Duke, who built his career as a Klan leader.

Obama (and pretty much everyone else who is still paying attention to Wright) jumped on his latest statements. I don't really have much to add. Dave Winer had a good take, and I liked Alessandra Stanley's NYT front pager: "He is not out of touch with the American culture, he is the avatar of the American celebrity principle: he grabbed his 30-second spots of infamy and turned them into 15 minutes of fame."

Wright just is not the defining issue for me in my view of Obama, or the campaign.

As for people voting for Hillary despite disliking her campaign tactics: sure, many of them will. They'll vote on the economy, and health care and foreign policy and other issues, and by comparing her platform to McCain's platform, not by holding up the things they dislike about her against an imaginary blank slate.


Hmm, maybe your last paragraph also could apply to Jesse Helms. You know, the idea that people might vote for him because of his stands on the issues as opposed to merely being duped by race baiting.

Don't twist the Wright thing. There a number of people on that thread attempting to excuse/rationalize Wright's comments and accusing the GOP of racism for pointing them out. Today, Obama has essentially done the same thing as the GOP ad by declaring those positions of Wright as extreme. I also stand by the Duke comparison because both are extremist bigots.


Oh, but there is more. Obama backs up my argument about Wright fostering hate-

“The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago. His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe they ended up giving comfort to those who prey on hate".

Still no difference from David Duke?

Don't forget the point that if a Republican had this 20 year association with an extremist who fosters hate, many of our liberal friends would be all over them. Indeed, Ed himself tried to link John Hagee with George Bush and other conservative politicians and called it "scary stuff". This is no different than what the NC GOP did with Obama and Wright. But yet it is always is. There is always some nuance used to rationalize why it is okay for us, but not for them.

Andy Vance

There a number of people on that thread attempting to excuse/rationalize Wright's comments and accusing the GOP of racism for pointing them out.

Please. Why and how are just as important as what. Context matters.

Suppose I said, "John McCain made extreme racist statements about Asians during the campaign" (which he did), went on to compare him to David Duke and said it disqualifies him for office.

How would you react?


Wrong analogy. Now if you said "John McCain has been a friend to David Duke and willfully listened to David Duke's speeches on white supremacy for 20 years" that might be comparable.

The only context you and so many others care about appears to be what side of the aisle the offender is on. A little intellectual honesty instead of constant political posturing would be nice.

Andy Vance

So the fact that the candidate himself made the remarks makes them less relevant.

But that's not a rationalization!

Back to the point, wouldn't you agree that McCain's background might have some relevance to a statement about Asians?

Jim Buie


Speaking of "intellectually honesty," do you still think, given Obama's latest and unequivocal condemnation of the views of Rev. Wright in the strongest terms, that it is intellectually honest for the NC GOP to continue to run that ad calling Barack Obama as well as Bev Perdue and Richard Moore (who probably have never met or heard Rev. Wright speak), "too extreme for North Carolina"?


I said from the beginning that I thought the links to Perdue and Moore were the weakest/dumbest part of the ad, but that it was fair to question Obama's links to Wright. I also stated that I accepted much of Obama's first statement about Wright that he made a few weeks ago, and I accept his condemnation today. I haven't been inconsistent. However, just because I accepts Obama's explanation doesn't mean everyone will or should. I still think it is fair to question why Obama spent so many years there and didn't criticize Wright much earlier.

Now do you think that those who attacked me last week for saying Wright was in fact "extreme" and hateful will have the intellectual honesty to make a mea culpa? Do you think they will have the honesty to say they were wrong to label the ad as racist simply for pointing out Wright's extremism? Will they have the honesty to admit that calling the ad racist is in fact the real race card that is being played? What about the honesty to admit that they would forgive Hillary for her race baiting sins out of party/ideological loyalty?

Do you think it is fair for the DNC to run ads accusing John McCain of saying we could wage war in Iraq for 100 years when that is clearly not what he said?

Andy, that isn't what I am saying. You said that McCain made remarks about Asians and then tried to link that to David Duke, which does not follow. Using your logic in the last sentence, the same could be said about Duke or any racist. That isn't an excuse.

What about Easley's comments today? Care to rationalize them? Do you feel the same way about Easley as you did about Ann Coulter calling John Edwards a faggot? Are you just as outraged? Or is that also somehow different?

Andy Vance

Of course it doesn't follow. That's the point.

You don't believe John McCain is morally equivalent to David Duke for making a racial slur and saying he'll hate "%#%$@s" for the rest of his life. Neither do I.

The context is different. Explaining that context isn't excusing McCain or rationalizing the slur.

Big L

As much as I hate Wright and everything he stands for, I love it when he talks. Every time he opens his mouth, he proves how clueless he is to his own wickedness. And every time he talks, he tells us a little bit more about the real Hussein, the side Hussein tries to squash and prevent us from knowing.

Keep talking, Wright. Go on every show possible, and tell us every little thing about Hussein that you know. By the time he's done, not only will Hussein be done for as an American, much less a politican, but the rest of his kind will be done for as well.

Tony Wilkins

Sam, I thought about this thread when I heard today's Wright/Obama news late tonight and I wondered if you would be serving Crow Soufflé.
Of course not.
When I read Ed say, "Wright just is not the defining issue for me in my view of Obama" it makes me believe Obama could have shot the Pope last week and the same people at this thread would still be supporting him.
They pacify Obama's association with the hatred of Wright for 20 years yet speak of NCGOP being "haunted by Helms".
I'm left to wonder if the left side of my brain was injured during childhood.


Tony, the difference is that we are expected to define conservatives by these associations. When Ed attacked George Allen for his "macacca" remark, you would think it was the only issue that mattered.

The whole theme has been to portray conservatives as the philosophy of hate and bigotry by emphasizing all of these "gotcha" moments. However, when done by liberals, they have to be rationalized with nuance or twisted to be used against conservatives to try and avoid the label of hypocrisy.

The Left made this bed when they embarked on this journey of political correctness designed to make them appear morally superior to the Right, and now it is being used against them and they simply cannot take it. They will lie about their motives and crank up the spin machine to eleven to rationalize these types of comments so they don't appear as bad as the conservatives they have bashed over the years. They simply have too much invested in this theme of moral superiority and "Right equals hate" to allow a little thing like intellectual honesty get in the way.

I find it all amusing. And now Mike Easley drops off a new gift that is virtually ignored- especially when compared to George Allen's "macacca" remark and Ann Coulter's "faggot" remark.

Ed Cone

Tony, your Obama shooting the Pope analogy may strike a lot of people as willfully stupid, but it is useful in its extremity because it provides some perspective: There are things Obama could do to lose my support, even things short of assassinating a world leader. Having a pastor who says nutty things that Obama disagrees with is not one of those things.

Obama is not Wright. Allen said "macaca" -- you covered yourself with glory on that one, Sam -- not Allen's pastor. (I say in my standard speech about the interwebs that it wasn't the crypto-racist slur itself that cost Allen the election, but the revelation that the supposed sunny heir to Reagan could be kind of an asshole.)


No, I didn't cover myself up with glory on Allen Ed, unless you take one comment out of context. The fact is that I said back then Allen was finished. My initial comments on that thread were questioning what Allen actually said because I hadn't heard the clip- I said that several times.

So you think being an asshole is a voting issue, and that the racial slur makes one an asshole. But the race baiting by Hillary is acceptable and far more acceptable than a racial slur; and it's okay that Mike Easley uses the word "pansy" or Obama goes to Church regularly to listen to an asshole.

Way to split that hair, or as Britt Whitmire would say, "polish that turd".

Admit the only real voting issue is party affiliation, Ed, and that the attacks on Republicans are simply phony outrage because Democrats do the same thing but still get your vote. Be honest. Don't be a pansy.

Jim Buie

My impression is that Sam and the others here who are so quick to condemn Obama for his association with Wright have never been open-minded at trying to understand the black experience in America or the black religious experience, and will only accept black people who believe that there is no difference between black and white experiences in America. It is that unwelcoming, narrow-minded, even hostile attitude that keeps blacks out of the Republican Party. And if the NC GOP goes ahead with their ad, it's not only intellectually dishonest, it's another slap in the face to black North Carolinians.

A legitimate issue is what Obama saw in Wright in the first place. I've watched and read closely over the last few days, in an effort to understand and to examine Wright's ideas and actions in a fair-minded way. Click.


Great rationalization of a double standard, Jim. "Republicans' just don't get it".

Jim Buie

And what double standard is that? Republicans like John McCain, who have asked the NC GOP not to run the ad, do "get it" -- they understand the message the ad sends to blacks about the hostility of the Republican Party. But if you're still defending the ad, you apparently don't get it.

Did you notice that Al Sharpton is criticizing Obama? With Barack, there is the potential for a huge shift in the tone and tenor of black leadership in this country. But the NC GOP insists on painting all of "them" with the same extremist brush.


What is the "message the ad sends to blacks"? Nobody so far has been able to outline how the ad is racist. It doesn't become so just because you say it is.

If anything, Wright has proven over the past few days that the issue is not his color, but his extremism. That is all the ad does- point out extremism by a man who happens to be black.

I don't think McCain believes that Wright is a legitimate issue. That's up to him. George Will thinks the ad is fair game. I think the ad is stupid because of the attempted link to Perdue and Moore. I wonder if the NC GOP ran the ad more to hurt Obama hoping to boost Hillary. In any case, I don't see it as a racial ad, and nobody has made a logical case that it is. A white person with Wright's positions would be attacked the same way. Even Obama has turned on the guy for his views, not his skin color.

It is the liberals/progressives who are again trotting out the tired game of "gotcha" to make this about race.

Jim Buie

You don't think it's about race. But if the NC GOP cared, they might do focus groups among African Americans and unaffiliated independent voters to see if THEY think the ad is about race. Perception is reality in politics. But the NC GOP doesn't care about reaching out to African American voters, so they aren't doing those kind of polls. As a result, the NC GOP is not likely to be seen as an inclusive party, and will probably continue to lose the governorship and other offices. I lived in Maryland for 20 years. The Republican Party there would never run such an ad, and has sought to appeal to middle class blacks and black businessmen. That's why they won the governorship in 2002.


Well, that is the goal here as it is elsewhere- white liberals trying to convince people of color and other white people that it is about race. That's exactly the political strategy that I have been discussing here. It isn't about what the real meaning of the ad is, but what you can convince people it means. The outrage isn't real, it is concocted for political ends.

This is the same tired Democratic version of race baiting that I think even Obama wants to end. You guys tried this with the Harold Ford ad, the Two Hands ad, Willie Horton, etc. You guys fester the division and then deny any culpability for it.

You still can't explain how this ad is racial.

Jim Buie

The intellectually dishonest message of the ad is that "they're all alike," that Obama is an extremist just like Wright. That is a blatant lie. It presumes that voters are too stupid or too prejudiced to see the stark distinctions between two black men, or between the three candidates featured in the ad. The presumption is that voters will see a black man screaming "God Damn America" and presume that another black man, though he has denounced Wright in no uncertain terms, secretly thinks the same way.

(Message is black people wear masks around white people -- you can't know what they really think, or believe what they say.) I'm reminded of the old Archie Bunker show in which, when a clean-cut, reasonable black man appeared, he "envisioned" a reefer-smoking militant. The ad plays to stereotyped thinking.

Did you hold Ronald Reagan accountable for all of the extremist statements of Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson? No, of course not, even though Reagan appeared before a religious right group and declared, "You can't endorse me, but I endorse you." No one runs ads saying all white people think alike. But this ad presumes that two black men think alike, though they emphatically DO NOT.

If you cannot see the despicable nature of the ad, I give up. I'm glad John McCain sees it -- I wish he would work a little harder to get it removed.


Here's a question...

Did you or Libs in general hold Reagan accountable for Falwell, Robertson, et al.

I know 1/2 of the answer.

Sometimes people look too deep for evil hidden meanings. You know, kinda like Easley's "pansy" reference. Who knew? Sometimes things just are what they are.


"The intellectually dishonest message of the ad is that "they're all alike,"

That says more about your own personal racism than anything else.

"It presumes that voters are too stupid or too prejudiced to see the stark distinctions between two black men, or between the three candidates featured in the ad."

No, you presume they are too stupid, probably the same way Obama thought they were "bitter". Typical liberal the-great-masses-are-too-stupid-to-know-what-is-good-for-them mentality.

Dave Dobson

Sam, the fact that you aren't offended by the ad and see no racism in it does not mean that it is not offensive and racist to others. I and others have already described why we see it that way, and personally, I feel no need to work further to change your mind.

Cursing and pictures of nekkid people don't get me bent out of shape, but I can understand that they offend others, that these people's standards are arrived at reasonably. Even if I don't agree, they have a viewpoint I should respect, and that their discomfort is perfectly real.

You're so busy calling the rest of us elitist racists and proclaiming your rightness that I think you've maybe lost touch with the idea that you're in a diverse community and that your standards aren't everybody's.

Either that, or you're doing your usual debate-team-captain win-by-shouting-loudest routine. Can't be sure.


"...maybe lost touch with the idea that you're in a diverse community and that your standards aren't everybody's."

No, that would be the crowd that takes issue with me NOT seeing it as racist. Nobody is shouting- that is simply a claim you make to minimize my comments. I respond to what people say and I could just as easily accuse Jim of "shouting" because he has responded and raised just as many issues. But like everything else, that is somehow different in your book because he agrees with you.

I think that maybe lost touch with the idea that you're in a not-so diverse community and that your standards aren't everybody's as much as you would like them to be.

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