When the Republican who sent it out was asked why he didn't think it was racist, he asked the reporter why she thought it was. When informed that the watermelon and fried chicken reference negative stereotypes of African-Americans, he gave that most wonderful of all GOP responses, "Says who?"
Later in the same story, his daughter also defended the newsletter, saying "I eat fried chicken."
Meanwhile, Republican candidate John McCain admits, "I screwed up." His error? Picking Sarah Palin? Turning his campaign virtually 100% negative? No, it was canceling an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. The strange thing about this comment is that McCain's stated reason for canceling the appearance was that he has "suspended" his campaign so that he could try to work on the first iteration of the bailout bill (which was defeated, mostly due to House Republicans). He claimed at the time that it would be inappropriate for him to appear on a comedy show during a time of crisis. Fair enough. But now he says he "screwed up" in making that decision? Huh? Is he now saying it would have been appropriate and he should have gone on the show? Or is this a Freudian slip that perhaps reveals that the "screw up" was actually the ill-received non-suspension suspension that people largely saw as what it was--political grandstanding and an attempt to use the business of politics to score campaign points?
Fred Clark over at Slacktivist has some choice words about the turn towards race-baiting that the GOP has taken:
What scares me now is this: I don't think they're done yet. Just because I can't imagine how McCain and his surrogates could sink any deeper into the sleaze and the race-baiting muck doesn't mean that his strategists -- odious professional liars like Steve Schmidt and Rick Davis -- have reached the limits of their imagination. Each time one of their previous strategies has failed to gain traction, they have responded as though it would have worked had it only been more dishonest and just a bit sleazier. So they roll out the next plan and drag their campaign even lower and John McCain approves of the newest ugly message and Sarah Palin enthusiastically embraces the next inflammatory lie and Obama's lead in the polls gets even bigger.
Fred's always insightful and eloquent (and since when, by the way, John McCain, did the ability to speak eloquently and articulately become a character flaw?), but the thing that struck me was how many of the comments contained messages from people who said, "You know the most disappointing thing about this election is that I used to like/think well of John McCain...." I really believe that. It is amazing to me how over the course of a few months, I've heard many people who favored Obama or Clinton go from saying, "Well, I hope the [Obama/Clinton] wins, but either one [McCain or Democrat] would be better than Bush" to "I can't believe I used to respect John McCain." The most amazing thing about this election is how quickly and carelessly McCain squandered his good name and good reputation among Democrats and Independents by using all the smear tactics against Obama that Rove, Bush, Cheney and company used against him.