Obama played the race card this summer when he told a Missouri crowd that the GOP would try to scare voters by pointing out he "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills." But in Monday's "Race Remains Campaign Issue, but Not a Clear One," Times reporter Patrick Healy insisted that Obama hasn't dealt with race directly. (Perhaps it's because liberals like Rep. John Lewis and the editorial board of the New York Times are quite happy to lob racism allegations against Republicans for him.)
The candidacy of Mr. Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, once seemed to promise a new national conversation about race, an open dialogue about historical animosities and prejudices and the ways in which Americans have and have not moved beyond them. Yet for the most part, race has remained submerged as an issue, and the Obama campaign never dealt with it directly or in a full-throated way.
Healy conflatedvarious political argumentsinto racialones, and hinted that a McCain victory would indicate that America's racial divide remained wide.
Instead, race has erupted as an issue mostly in ways that seem to confirm how deep the divide remains for some voters - those expressing mistrust over Mr. Obama's ties to his controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., or those describing Mr. Obama as "uppity" or "elitist." While Mr. Obama's advisers say they do not think race will be a factor in the election, the actual extent of the racial divide is likely to become clear only on Nov. 4.
For confirmation, Healy went to historian Douglas Brinkley, who wrote a worshipful biography of John Kerry's Vietnam service, "Tour of Duty." There was more conflating of legitimate issues with racism.
"Obama has been running as a post-racial candidate from the start, and he has been doing it very well," said Douglas Brinkley, the presidential historian, "but the fact of the matter is that some voters - we can't know yet how many - will not get past his race. And I very much believe that the McCain-Palin ticket is tapping into that."
On Saturday, Representative John Lewis, the Georgia Democrat and civil rights leader, went as far as invoking George Wallace, the segregationist governor of Alabama, to accuse Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee, of fomenting racial hatred. For Mr. Lewis and many other Democrats, the recent heckling of Mr. Obama at Republican rallies - where he has been called Arab, Muslim, traitor, terrorist, friend of terrorists, Barack Hussein Obama - amounts to code words that reflect latent or overt racism inspired by the first presidential nomination of an African-American by a major party.
Well, Obama actually is a friend of Bill Ayers, which makes him a "friend of terrorists." And Obama's full name, which the New York Timesconfirmed when it used iton its front page after he accepted the Democratic Party's nomination, is indeed Barack Hussein Obama. Is truth no longer a defense?
Mr. Lewis's remarks outraged some of Mr. McCain's supporters and other Republicans. Race is indisputably a backdrop against which this campaign has unfolded, they agree, but that does not mean opposing Mr. Obama or using harsh words is racist.
Then followed this tortured syntax that's evidently trying to imply something nasty about Republican motives:
Put another way, simply because Mr. Obama is black does not mean that the expression "not one of us," as he has been called at Republican rallies, is an appeal to the worst instincts of voters.
The Times refused to come out and call Obama a liberal Democrat:
One factor for Mr. Reed and several other Republicans and independents interviewed along the bus route on Sunday was Mr. Obama's long association and friendship with Mr. Wright. Others said they simply had a hard time relating to Mr. Obama's background or accepting his political positions, which are widely seen as liberal.
Are Obama's positions merely "seen as liberal"? There are places you can go to confirm that Obama has a quite liberal voting record (and National Journal named him their most liberal senator in 2007).