Obama doesn’t waffle on racial strategy

Team Obama has remained relatively mum on the controversy over Obama Waffles – the satirical souvenirs sold at a Family Research Council event by some enterprising third-party vendors. If you missed it, because Obama is black and his cartoon likeness was on a breakfast product, some folks automatically assumed it was a takeoff on Aunt Jemina or other stereotypes. The AP story abandoned objectivity to directly call the image a racial stereotype.

The product was indeed ill-conceived as a political tool – its creators should have predicted the firestorm. And the box includes an image of Obama in a turban on one flap that is, quite simply, political hackery. But is it racist?

A similar flap happened in 2006, when an independent expenditure commercial in Tenessee made fun of candidate Harold Ford’s attendance at a Playboy SuperBowl party. A white, blonde playmate cooed that she had met Ford there and mouthed “call me” to the camera. The ad was denounced as racist because Ford is black and the “playmate” was white. Ford eventually (and reluctantly) joined in the chorus of racial arsonists looking to make something from nothing and lost the race. In ambiguous situations, the electorate doesn’t respond well to the candidate who plays the victim card.

(Incidentally, Ford’s eventual statement about his controversial partygoing might have helped him overcome the controversy altogether had he said it from the beginning: “I like football. I like girls. I don’t have any apologies for that.”)

Barack Obama is making no such mistake, and has issued a “no comment” on the waffles.

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