Thursday, October 9, 2008

CNN's Glenn Beck: Voting against Obama doesn't make you a racist

By Glenn Beck

Editor's note: Glenn Beck is on CNN Headline News nightly at 7 and 9 ET and also is host of a conservative national radio talk show.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- With a little less than a month before the election, this week started with a re-examination of Barack Obama's association with William Ayers.

Glenn Beck

Voting against Barack Obama or Sarah Palin doesn't make someone a racist or sexist, according to Glenn Beck.

Whether holding a career-launching state Senate campaign event at the home of an unrepentant terrorist should disqualify you from the presidency is up to the people to decide. I tend to see it as a rather low bar to clear if you're going to run the world, but hey, that's just me.

The defense on Ayers from the Obama camp is that they're not friends -- Ayers was "a guy who lives in my neighborhood," as Obama said. This strikes me as a strange argument from the same campaign that ran Spanish-language ads attempting to disparage McCain by highlighting his "Republican friends" like Rush Limbaugh.

Besides the fact that Rush isn't a terrorist and had to be completely taken out of context in the attempt to smear him -- Limbaugh and McCain are best known for their adversarial relationship. Rush has spent the better part of a decade mocking him, most recently on the specific stance that was the focus of the commercial, immigration reform.

If Rush qualifies as McCain's friend, then William Ayers might as well be Barack Obama's fiancé.

But as The Associated Press claimed, even mentioning the association with Ayers, as Sarah Palin did in a speech earlier in the week, signifies a hidden "racial tinge." Is anyone else getting tired of this? Any and every time a question of Obama's history or record is asked, there is always someone to blame it on racism.

Remember, William Ayers is a pasty white guy like me. Shouldn't the fact that Palin is criticizing a white terrorist show that it's not his color -- but his terrorism -- that she's not fond of? Instead, the AP tries to make the case that voters will think Obama is "not like us" since "terrorists are envisioned as dark-skinned radical Muslims." Right, because nothing dredges up visions of radical Muslims with box-cutters like a guy named Bill.

Just ridiculous.

That wasn't enough to convince Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks, who said, "He's 'not one of us'? That's racial. That's fear. They know they can't win on the issues, so the last resort they have is race and fear." He also added, "They are trying to throw out these codes."

I didn't know about the secret white person code language, but I'm hoping there's a secret handshake too.

Earlier, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said essentially the same thing: "I think the notion that, 'By the way, have any of you noticed that Barack Obama is part African-American?' -- that may be a factor. All of the code language, all that doesn't show up in polls and that may be a factor for some people."

Note to all white people -- remember to grab your secret racist decoder ring in each box of Cracker Jacks for Crackers.

The New York Observer found no shortage of New York politicians willing to go on the record with their accusations of racism:

"Racism is alive and well in this country, and McCain and Palin are trying to appeal to that and it's unfortunate." -- Rep. Ed Towns

"They are obviously playing on people's fears and prejudices in a desperate way. While not explicitly relating to race, they are clearly creating the opportunity for those inclined to come to those conclusions." -- State Sen. Bill Perkins

"If you have to remind people that Barack Obama is African-American, you have reached the bottom." -- State Sen. Kevin Parker

"Who exactly is Joe Six-Pack and who are these hockey moms? That's what I'd like to know. ... Is that supposed to be terminology that is of common ground to all Americans? I don't find that. It leaves a lot of people out." -- Rep. Yvette Clarke

It's worth noting that all of this comes from the same state and the same party as Hillary Clinton. If you're of the mindset that all Republicans are racist and therefore deserve these attacks, remember what happened to Hillary and her husband during the primaries. If the "first black president" can be vilified over claims of racism, what person that dares to criticize Obama can escape the same fate?

Charges of racism have even entered the financial meltdown. One recent criticism by conservatives has surrounded the Community Reinvestment Act. This act, passed in 1977 under Jimmy Carter and then strengthened by Bill Clinton, pressured mortgage companies to lend to those with poor credit and lower income. You might think that putting the government's endorsement of the loosening of lending standards under the microscope in the middle of a global financial crisis would be a no-brainer.

Well, not to House Financial Services Committee chair Barney Frank: "The bizarre notion that the Community Reinvestment Act ... somehow is the cause of the whole problem, [conservatives] don't mind that. ... They're aware that the affordable-housing goals of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac [and] the Community Reinvestment Act [aim to help] poor people. And let's be honest, the fact that some poor people are black doesn't hurt either from their standpoint."

I guess when you're on record in July of this year saying "I think this is a case where Fannie and Freddie are fundamentally sound, that they are not in danger of going under," the only thing you can do is play the race card.

I'm not sure if this is the new kind of politics we were promised by Barack Obama, but I don't think it's the change most people have in mind. This random name-calling just winds up hurting legitimate claims of racism, which do exist. But they risk being taken far less seriously, if the constant crying of wolf continues.

The truth is, voting against Barack Obama doesn't make you a racist, just like voting against Sarah Palin doesn't make you a sexist. The vast majority of regular Americans understand that. If politicians could catch up and restrain themselves from trying to exploit our differences for their own gain -- we'd all be better off.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.

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