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No, Democrats aren't 'racist' for wanting to oust Alvin Greene

Can we call off something, right now? Let's cease and desist pretending that Democrats oppose Alvin Green's, err, campaign for U.S. Senate in South Carolina because he's African American. TPM, which has become something of a one-stop shop for Greene news, links to Laura Ingraham's interview with the hapless candidate. Here's the interview, in which Ingraham mockingly asks Greene if he's been contacted by a series of Democratic leaders (botching the name of Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn in the process) and implies that white liberals are opposing him because of his race.

"Didn't you think Keith Olbermann was kind of dismissive toward you?" asks Ingraham. Later: "How is that progress for black Americans if they're trying to get you out of the race? ... The first African American president, and you're Alvin Greene, who is an American success story!"

Look, Ingraham doesn't mean this. She gives the game away a bit by asking Greene about stagflation, reminiscent of the 1988 question about the G-7 that George Will posed to Jesse Jackson to make the candidate look stupid. She thinks he's stupid. But it's too irresistible to suggest that the party of Clyburn (D-S.C.) and the president is secretly racist, so she does so. Rush Limbaugh did the same thing, seeing "out and out racism coming from the Democrat Party here."

Who is this supposed to appeal to? It's far too patronizing to convince African Americans. I actually caught most of Greene's interview with Tom Joyner this week, after which Joyner and his hosts grimly discussed how depressing it was to see this buffoon earn the title of "first black U.S. Senate candidate in South Carolina history." Does it convince white conservatives?

If you can't say it without winking, don't say it at all.

By David Weigel  |  June 18, 2010; 3:50 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Election , Race  
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