In what may be the first of several tacts learned from the Clinton campaign’s failed racial strategy against presumed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, the McCain campaign appears to be gearing up for its own racial antics.
According to this story in Newsday, we should expect “sniping to intensify around race, class and terrorism.” Every schoolboy/girl/lgbt who follows this blog and anyone who’s not been in a coma over the course of this primary (sadly) knows that race-and racism-occupy a central part of of the formula of any campaign now. In this post-industrial era of intense social, economic and political fragmentation, mixing numerous kinds of fear-inspiring memes occupies much of the time of any political consultant today.
Again, the Newsday story says that we should expect McCain to “exhume Obama’s support for ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer‘s aborted license plan for illegals – perhaps eclipsing McCain’s own past fight with his GOP rivals on immigration.”
I personally think that such a tactic is neither advisable nor very smart. Such a stealth bilingual approach – spewing anti-immigrant cant in English while courting immigrant Latino votes with Spanish language political love poems- will not work. That McCain’s Spanish language ads goes out of its way to distance him not just from GWB but from the GOP itself (as in his ad says “When we are filling up the gas tank, we are not Republicans, Democrats or Independents. We are Hispanics, and we all are hurting together in this uncertain economic time.”) gives us some sense of how much the fear there is in the GOP around the much-anticipated Latino backlash against Republicans, who went from getting 35-40% of the Latino vote in the 2004 primaries to less than 22% in this year’s primaries.
In sum, it would only take one of the great majority of Latinos that is bilingual to point out that McCain will be speaking out of both sides of his mouth if he tries to use the immigrant driver’s license attack on Obama.