This is a guest post from a good friend and blogger, the Green Miles. Read more of his forward-thinking perspectives on politics and the environment at TheGreenMiles.net. See my solicitation on the bottom right of this page if you're interested in putting some of your own thoughts up here on election-related issues.
The Virginia GOP is apparently trying to take credit for not race-baiting:
"The Republican Party of Virginia said today it would follow the lead of the party's likely presidential nominee, John McCain, by not using Sen. Barack Obama's middle name in fundraising appeals or other campaign literature.As Josh Marshall has detailed, this is all part of the GOP's smear strategy:
Josh Noland, spokesman for the Virginia Republican Party, said Virginia Republicans 'will stick to the issues.' Obama is competing with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The decision comes amid a controversy in Tennessee after the Tennessee Republican Party sent out a press release mentioning Obama's middle name, Hussein. On Tuesday, McCain denounced GOP efforts to promote Obama's middle name."
"The core is to drill a handful of key adjectives into the public mind about Barack Obama: Muslim, anti-American, BLACK, terrorist, Arab. Maybe a little hustler and shifty thrown in, but we'll have to see. The details and specific arguments are sort of beside the point."
The party establishment doesn't have to directly sling mud. They can put out a press release saying, "We could easily go around calling him Barack Hussein Osama ... but choose not to." Score the points without getting your hands dirty.
Election 2008 editorial note: In relation to this post, see a similar move by Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa on March 7th, where he actually touts his comments--in a press release--that an Obama Presidency would have al-Qaeda "dancing in the streets." At one point he states:
"It does matter. His middle name does matter. It matters because they read a meaning into that, the rest of the world,---it has a special meaning to them. They’ll be dancing in the streets because of his middle name. They’ll be dancing in the streets because of who his father was and because of his posture that says, 'Pull out of the middle east. Pull out of this conflict.' "By the way, if there is any shadow of a doubt among readers in respect to the smear campaigns that are calling Obama a radical Muslim and short on patriotism, see these notes on his religion and view of our country.