The Daily News has run some pretty bizarre op-eds so far this years, especially when the Democratic primary is involved. We had one regular opiners re-suggest that the Clintons killed Vince Foster and maybe Ron Brown while they were at it, and another whose anti-Obama obsession usually comes fact free. But this one by a Villanova associate professor of political science named Robert Maranto (top) takes the cake.
You've heard of the "kitchen sink" strategy supposedly employed by the Clinton campaign against Obama? Well, this "kitchen sink" smear piece essentially takes a bunch of derrogatory things you might say about black urban politicians (not to mention any politician, black or white. from Chicago) and black people in general, in the hopes that some of it will stick to Obama. The confusing, at first, headline is the "Obama of '96," which I mistakenly thought a referrence to his first run for the Illinois senate.
Actually, the main message from this mostly incoherent piece seems to be: "Why can't YOU PEOPLE* be more like Colin Powell!!!"
Hinging at all on a comment by Obama that I'm not at all familiar with because it apparently doesn't exist, Maranto finds a way to invoke corrupt politicians such as Kwame Kilpatrick, Marion Barry and Sharpe James who have nothing to do with Obama other than the fact that they're, you know, black.
But it gets worse:
All of that explains why Powell was the perfect black candidate. As the hard-working son of Jamaican immigrants, a Republican, a general and a hero of Desert Storm, Powell was immune from charges of laziness, liberalism, incompetence and corruption. He was the perfect black candidate since he played against type. No one considers Republicans too liberal, or generals shiftless.
But it's no fun to smear all black people without going after Obama directly, so here comes that kitchen sink:
Obama has the most liberal voting record in the Senate, a background as a community organizer, past drug use, an anti-American pastor and a wife who probably meant it when she said she had never before felt proud of her country.
Somehow, I think if there's anyone besides Michelle Obama who truly knows what's in Michelle Obama's heart, it's probably not this guy. Although it is pretty shocking that her husband once tried to organize communities, because heaven forbid what might happen if those communities ever get organized.
If only there was some more way to bring in guilt by association...oh, wait!
And then there's corruption. Obama represents Chicago, the New Orleans of the Midwest. It's not his fault, but any Chicago pol has friends and cronies in jail. It comes with the territory.
I tried in vain to find the remarks cited by Maranto in which Obama allegedly "alluded" to perceptions that African-Americans are "lazy" or "boastful," only some articles that described Obama's absent father as "boastful" at times. And that's the thing about odious stereotypes like the ones employed here -- it's horrible to float the strawman that "some people say" that black people are lazy, but it's different if you can prove that one person is lazy in his research and his writing.
And Robert Maranto is lazy here at best, and at its worst -- and this is not a word I use lightly -- his op-ed is racist.
I wish I could say it will be the last such article between now and November, but that would be the audacity of hope.