Talk radio update

Man, I’m not sure I will make it till November. I don’t mind heated rhetoric. I don’t mind mud slinging (too much). But I can’t stand the constant repetition, day after day, of standard talking points, without even the most rudimentary stab at balance.

This week, talk radio was all over Joe Biden for his “chains” remark. Obviously, nobody thinks Biden was seriously accusing Republicans of wanting to reintroduce slavery. He wasn’t even talking about civil rights.

But fair enough. Biden slips up a lot and deserves a public beating when he does. On Fox News, Megyn Kelly asked a fair question: Should we let a guy off the hook for saying something stupid just because he says a lot of stupid things?

Probably not. But consider the alternative: Do we want every single candidate to sound as scripted as Romney and Obama do? Shouldn’t at least one politician on the national stage be allowed to just say whatever happens to run through his head without having to worry about how it will look on TV the next day? Perhaps not, but I will miss Biden when he is gone.

But I would not complain about talk radio picking on Biden if just once — even to defend it — somebody had mentioned a Republican campaign point that sounds far more racially divisive to me than anything Biden has said. That’s the ad that accuses Obama of cutting work requirements so that people on welfare “wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job.” The ad is just blatantly false, raises no issues worthy of consideration in the presidential race, and seems to serve only one possible purpose: to associate Obama with shiftless welfare bums. The racial implications are unmistakable — and were totally ignored Thursday by all of Biden’s many critics.

Sigh. It’s going to be a long, long season.

UPDATE: With respect to the comments below, here’s some evidence that the right dogs are hearing the whistle.

2 thoughts on “Talk radio update

  1. Who said anything about race in the Obama plan to cut work requirements, David? Are YOU assuming that welfare bums are mostly black? This is exactly the point I have made about those who play the race card. Maybe the card players are closet racists themselves. Apparently you assume that whenever welfare is mentioned, it refers to non-whites. The stats show 40% of welfare recipients are black, 40% white, 15% Hispanic, 5% other). I contend that those who see race first and foremost in every issue may be racists themselves. Martin Luther King wanted men to be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. I agree with MLK.

    • As your own statistics show, blacks are disproportionately over represented on welfare rolls. Of course there is no specific reference to race in the ad, just as there was no specific reference to race in Newt Gingrich’s endlessly repeated claim that Obama is the “food stamp president” (or, for that matter, in Biden’s remarks). No mainstream candidate makes overt appeals to racism anymore. That’s why they call this “dog whistle” stuff. The people that it appeals to hear it. I grew up around this kind of talk. There’s no mistaking it, especially since the ad’s fundamental claim is both irrelevant and a lie.

      If there are people who see race in every issue, then they probably are oversensitive — I would not so casually call them racists. But I guarantee you, MLK would have have known exactly what this ad is trying to do. Your suggestion that by pointing this out I am betraying my own racism is contemptible.

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