Saturday, August 02, 2008

Race Card Poker

Well, in the game of Race Card Poker, seems Obama called McCain's bluff, and McCain withdrew his hand.

It all boils down to this little off-the-cuff Obama quip: "You know, he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills.” [Obama referring to himself.]

I don't know, Obama could have meant that he was skinnier than all those other guys....

Here's the ironic thing. The Republicans have been playing the race card to death. They've been feeding reporters stories about radicals, tripping up on the Muslim-sounding name. Hasn't that been a whole series of cards? You bet it has: it's straight spades, and they've no trepidation throwing them down.

Has McCain done that? No, but he hasn't needed to. The surrogates have done it for him.

But Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager, saw an opening to deal another card, and he took it: "Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck," he said.

So, after playing the race card for months, accuse the opponent of doing it. A classic Republican campaign tactic, agressive and deceptive. Call that the Joker of Clubs.

This game, however, relies on the press to pick up the story the way they want. But the press has gotten a bit wise to this game: they weren't going to call it, or title it, "obama plays the race card," the way Davis wanted.

And if there's no clear win, there's also the danger of the story spinning out of control. Which is why, the next day, McCain backed away.

But they got their dig in, even if it was small. Maybe this wasn't a Royal Flush. But call this a pair of Clubs for the Republicans.

Obama, meanwhile, is still holding on to all his cards. Let's hope he starts to play them soon.

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