Just call it a harbinger of things to come. Karl Rove, the Bush Administration confidante and Republican election strategist, decides to utilize his new op-ed platform at the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal to telegraph racist stereotypes and talking points on Barack Obama to the business class and Republican faithful. It is also no coincidence that the op-ed—unlike most other opinion pieces—is free to non-subscribers.
Rove's analysis of Obama's New Hampshire loss is quite colorful and should be required reading to everyone in progressive circles. Carefully read his criticisms of Obama:
[Clinton] had two powerful personal moments. The first came in the ABC debate on Saturday, when WMUR TV's Scott Spradling asked why voters were "hesitating on the likeability issue, where they seem to like Barack Obama more." Mrs. Clinton's self-deprecating response—"Well, that hurts my feelings"—was followed by a playful "But I'll try to go on."
You couldn't help but smile. It reminded Democrats what they occasionally like about her. Then Mr. Obama followed with a needless and dismissive, "You're likable enough, Hillary."
Her remarks helped wash away the memory of her angry replies to attacks at the debate's start. His trash talking was an unattractive carryover from his days playing pickup basketball at Harvard, and capped a mediocre night.
Ray Charles or Helen Keller could read between the lines. To drive the point home, Rove continues to do what Rove does best: He resorts to the friendly confines of race-baiting, saying Obama "is often lazy, given to misstatements and exaggerations and, when he doesn't know the answer, too ready to try to bluff his way through."
Ouch. On the other hand, some of Rove's analysis is spot-on, such as pointing to Obama's "conflicting statements on Iraq" and "habit of ducking major issues, voting 'present' on bills important to many Democratic interest groups, like abortion-rights and gun-control advocates." (See: Obama's missed vote on Kyl-Lieberman) But make no mistake: This will be the template for the remainder of the nomination process, and, expect much more explicit racist imagery in a general election (See: Limbaugh's "Barack the Magic Negro"). It's a quantum leap from Rove's recent praise of Obama, which mistakenly has led some to believe the Republicans "like" a liberal black Democrat from Chicago. Sure, he's "likable enough."
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