Gary Bauer is complaining about the use of the “race card” and declares that John McCain is the real victim here. Bauer says that “the race card is used to cower conservatives into silence” and that the left “portrays any criticism of Obama as somehow racist.”
But the most interesting thing is this admission:
There are many ways to play the race card. One way is to exploit ancient prejudices and stereotypes of one race as inherently inferior to another. John McCain knows that one well.
He was the improbable victim of racism eight years ago when it was suggested to some South Carolina voters that he had fathered a black child out of wedlock. In fact, McCain’s adopted daughter, Bridget, is from Bangladesh. It’s the type of racism employed by the David Dukes of the world, and it diminishes us all.
But when I read the news that the McCain campaign had hired Tucker Eskew — the Republican political hack who orchestrated a smear campaign against McCain’s wife and daughter during the 2000 South Carolina primary — it finally dawned on me: John McCain has adopted Gov. George W. Bush’s South Carolina primary strategy.
Back in 2000, after McCain’s surprising victory in the New Hampshire primary, George W. Bush and Karl Rove did two things: They adopted John McCain’s reform message, claiming the Bush, not McCain, was a “reformer with results.” And they went negative, attacking John McCain’s record and character through numerous surrogates. Many, in the McCain campaign, including McCain himself, blamed Eskew, Bush, and Rove for spreading stories about Cindy McCain’s drug use, about their adopted daughter Bridget’s birth, and about whether McCain’s Vietnam captivity had left him unbalanced.
Bauer seems to have a real memory problem regarding what happened during the 2000 election, which is odd considering that he was running for President at the time. He had ended his own campaign and endorsed McCain just days before the South Carolina primary, so surely he knows that McCain’s famous “agents of intolerance” speech was partially a response to the vicious attacks he had received in South Carolina … at least he should, since he helped him draft it.
Presumably, Bauer didn’t intend to compare Bush, Rove, and McCain’s own staffers to David Duke … but that is just what he did, nonetheless.