>It seems like Tuesday’s special election in Mississippi for a Congressional seat has become more about Sen. Barack Obama than the two candidates who are actually running for the seat. Republicans in Mississippi have consistently tried to connect Democratic candidate Travis Childers with Obama’s “liberal values.”
However, Obama’s race has made some question whether Republican opponent Greg Davis and his party are rehashing up Mississippi’s painful past in race-baiting politics.
In advertisements and speeches, Republicans have repeatedly associated Travis Childers, the white Democrat threatening to take the seat away from the Republican Party, with Mr. Obama. Republicans say Mr. Obama’s liberal values are out of place in the district. But for many Democratic veterans here, the tactic is a throwback to the old and unwelcome politics of race, a standby in Mississippi campaigning.
Davis said he’s not using race in his campaign and that he’s only pointing out how Obama’s values are out of step with his conservative values and would be better for the district he’s running in:
“We’ve run ads against him with John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi,” said Mr. Davis, referring to Mr. Childers. “Just because one of them happens to be African-American has no bearing on it.”
This is nothing new in politics. Local candidates running for office have always tried to link their opponents with national figures who they deem as out of step with their district or state. What worries me is that, by reading the article, some voters in Mississippi have accepted this “connection” without seeing any hard proof that Sen. Obama has endorsed Childers.
(If anyone has video or written evidence (from a credible source, of course), then please feel free to share!)
What also worries me is how desperate the Republican opponent seems to be. Not only is he making the campaign about Sen. Obama, but he’s relying on the stereotype that black politicians are inherently radical and out-of-step with the (white) majority’s values. It’s subconscious race baiting, to say the least.
What do you think? Is it race baiting or just politics as usual?