Dirty Politics

Race-Baiting Campaign Proposed Against Obama Revisits What We Thought Was Past

The news uncovering a proposed race-baiting campaign against Barack Obama epitomizes all that is wrong with American politics and especially anonymous super PACs, Mark McKinnon writes.

The good news about the proposed Joe Ricketts race-baiting campaign targeting Barack Obama is that it got flushed out before it had a chance to become a reality. And now it never will.

This is exhibit A of all that is wrong with politics.

When the Supreme Court rules that anyone can say anything—often anonymously—with unlimited money, then they will.

There was once a time in our politics when candidates and parties could be held responsible for what they did and said. Because they were the ones doing and saying it. And you'd generally have adults somewhere around the table who, if presented with a plan like the one given to Ricketts, would have said: "Not just no, but hell no. Burn every copy of this document."

God bless whoever leaked the document to The New York Times. I've never met Ricketts, and for all I know, he may ultimately have had the sense to kill the plan. But the fact that he was even considering it tells me all I need to know about the guy.

This is madness. Of course it's too early to know, but if things keep going the way are, Mitt Romney has a very good chance to win the election in November. And can you imagine the distraction this campaign would have been if launched in the fall?

It's not hard to figure out the winning strategy for Romney.

It's the economy, not Jeremiah Wright, stupid.

Whether you like or agree with Barack Obama, or voted for or against him, the one thing I presumed most of us agree on is that with the 2008 election, we thought we had put the issue of race in American campaigns behind us.

Campaign watchdog Fred Wertheimer sums it up pretty well: "In the case of tax-exempt groups, citizens have absolutely no idea what's going on here. They have no way of knowing how groups are trying to influence their votes."

Thanks to a leaked report to The New York Times, we know about this one. But just think about all the other plans out there that won't be leaked.