Surprise: JournoList Reveals Left Uses Race as a Political Football
1:18 PM, Jul 20, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
If you ever had any doubt that the left's incessant cries of "racism" have become largely a cynical political ploy designed to marginalize and shut up political opponents, behold the birth of a racism accusation in all its naked glory as discussed on the infamous JournoList.
In 2008, when the Rev. Jeremiah Wright had outlived his usefulness to Barack Obama as a political shepherd through the South Side of Chicago and was becoming a serious liability to his presidential aspirations, the JournoList got upset. So, the infamous listserv of 300-400 like-minded liberal activists, policy wonks, and mainstream journalists, created by the Washington Post's Ezra Klein (then at the American Prospect), took action:
A simple solution to a complex problem. The Democratic candidate for president had cynically declared a hateful but powerful preacher his spiritual leader in order to be annointed in the Chicago neighborhood where he began his political career. When he was called on the association, and its obvious conflict with his message of post-racial unity, he declared that he could "no more disown" Wright than he could the black community or his own grandmother. The speech (later leatherbound and sold like bumper stickers by Obama's campaign), with its soaring prose, sweet anecdotes, credible messenger, and big-picture pleading, led everyone to feel petty for wondering whether a 20-year spiritual relationship might offer some insight into Obama's character. But when Wright launched a media tour trashing Obama himself, the candidate could not countenance it in the same way he countenanced 20 years of America-bashing and race-baiting, so Wright was quickly disowned a month after the "I can no more disown him" speech.
What better to paper over the cynicism and contradictions of the Democrats' candidate than some good, old-fashioned, crude shouts of "racist"? To their credit, several JournoList contributors suggested Ackerman's line of attack was not wise precisely because it contradicted so clearly Obama's message of healing. It was more of a strategic disagreement than a disagreement on the merits of the racism charge, but it's something: