Along with other liberals, Josh Marshall is in a tizzy over an RNC ad against Harold Ford Jr. that he calls the "uppity negro ad." But after watching it several times, it's hard to see what he sees. The one part of the ad that has drawn criticism from liberals when a bimbo says she met Ford at a Playboy party and at the end of the ad winks and says, "Harold, call me." The bit is just one part of the ad that also criticizes his positions on wiretapping, gun control and estate taxes. However, to Marshall:
If you watch the ad closely it is clear that the racist appeal — about Harold Ford having sex with white women — is the centerpiece, the entire point of the ad.
While the presence of the bimbo is a bit silly, the point is not to be racist, but to convey the hypocrisy of Ford running a values campaign even though he went to a party thrown by Playboy. That's why they also have the guy in sunglasses saying Ford took money from porn movie producers. As Tom Bevan points out over at RealClearPolitics, the fact that the bimbo was white is not because the RNC wanted to be racist, but "only because the 'ditsy blonde bimbo' is a more accurate caricature of what we all picture when we think 'Playboy bunny.'" The whole ad uses caricatures, including the guy talking about Ford's position on guns being dressed in hunting gear.
As if Marshall isn't being ridiculous enough he cites as racist a Bob Corker radio ad in which Marshall claims "jungle drums" are played every time Ford is mentioned. If you listen to the ad closely, you can hear the drums, but they're just a pretty standard beat in political ads to make one's opponent seem more ominous. Not much unlike this anti-Bush DNC ad that
Marshall, meanwhile, uses the Ford-Corker campaign as evidence that the GOP is the racist party:
Again, let's be honest with ourselves. Racism is one of the key building blocks of Republican politics in the
United States. Don't look at me with a straight face and tell me you don't realize that's true. That doesn't mean that all Republicans are racists. Far from it. It doesn't mean that a lot of Republicans don't wish the stain wasn't part of their party's recent political heritage. They do. But racism and race-baiting is the hold card Republicans take into every election.
Talk about projection. It is the Democratic Party that, when the going gets tough, will always play the race card. No sane person viewing either the anti-Ford TV or radio ads would see the racial overtones that Marshall and other liberals did. But with Ford's chances of victory growing dimmer, the only thing left to do is to cry "racism."
For more on this, see Robert VerBruggen's piece on our main site.