February 26, 2008

Sometimes it helps to have basic reading comprehension skills, the kind that were supposed to have been honed when you were taking the SAT. Witness the reaction to this Mark Halperin piece in Time, which lists a number of ways John McCain will be more free to go after Barack Obama in the general election than Hillary Clinton (or other Dems, for that matter) was in the primaries.

To suggest that we are more likely to see Obama's race and ethnicity become the subject of coded attacks after the Conventions is a point so banal I'm surprised it needs to be made. The Clintons, remember, had a lot of black supporters at one point, so even engaging in the rather coy attacks in South Carolina proved to be risky and damaging. That's not a problem McCain needs to worry about. Anyone so naive as to believe the Republicans won't do that by November has clearly not followed American politics since 1964. Grow up.

To predict a line of attack is not the same as suggesting one. By refusing to sugarcoat what Obama will face this fall, Halperin has done the candidate an enormous favor in publicly, and in cold-blooded fashion, elucidating that battle after the nomination will be much nastier than what he's faced so far.

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