Apparently, I would make a lousy Southerner. I am — as luck would have it — the only person in America who watched this ad the first time and didn’t take away a message that “Rep. Harold Ford is coming for your white women, Tennessee.”
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a pretty scuzzy ad, as campaign ads go. But when I first saw it, my thought was that they — the Republicans — were trying to get through to the audience that Harold Ford hangs out with women who are — oh, geez, how do I say it — not the type you bring home to Mom — you know, women who take their clothes off and want to be photographed naked. All to suggest that Harold Ford — in a campaign season where morals has been injected — by the Democrats no less — as a campaign issue — parties hard.
That’s a pretty negative message in the Bible belt.
And then I started reading that this recalls the “Southern strategy.”
The LA Times was the latest newspaper — that I saw — that delved into this angle.
Granted, I’m not the smartest bulb in the pack. I often don’t see the obvious. But other than history, what is it about this ad — exactly — that is not about the candidate’s party habits — as defined by the Republicans, anyway? I know nothing about Harold Ford — and is about race?
Is it that there are no African Americans in the ad?
Reading some of the op-ed pieces and blogs (like Huffington Post), the name I keep coming up with is former Sen. William Cohen, who said the ad “appeals to a racist sentiment.” Cohen is a Republican.
The Guardian doesn’t even bother with the old “alleged’ pass, preferring instead to present the allegation — which again may be true, and may not be:
The advert outraged many because it plays to an old racial/sexual stereotype that still has a powerful resonance in southern states such as Tennessee: accusations of sexual relationships between black men and white women were often used as excuses for lynchings in the Deep South.
The Moderate Voice makes it even murkier:
You don’t have to be p.c. or a liberal to conclude (as many already have as you’ll SEE BELOW): it’s saying to voters “he likes white women.”
What do you mean by “likes,” there, buddy?
Like the Willie Horton ad, this one will be a good vehicle for a discussion of race and politics — after the election.