Memo From a Poison Penn

By Colbert I. King
Saturday, August 16, 2008

Say you find yourself seated on the train behind two white supremacists who are beside themselves over the possibility that Barack Obama could become America's first black president.

They are so fired up, they fail to notice you.

The men are discussing the urgent need to derail Obama's candidacy.

The obvious strategist of the two says that Obama's defeat can be brought about by hitting him hard, where it hurts the most.

We've got to launch an attack, he declares, on Obama's "lack of American roots." Paint him as a guy with an exotic background who's present in mainstream society but isn't really a part of it.

He asserts, with a snicker, that Obama has "a very strong weakness." We'll drive home the argument, he says, that Obama's "roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited."

Our job, he goes on, is to get "most Americans -- the invisible Americans" so agitated about Obama that they become eager to stick up for what they regard as their American heritage.

We can do that, he declares with confidence, by convincing folks that Obama "is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values."

The other white supremacist, getting the point, chimes in: Yeah, and because Obama's black, let's put up a candidate against him to "contest the black vote at every opportunity. Keep him pinned down there."

We must, the men agree, keep charging that Obama is not steeped in "basic American values."

That, dear reader, is the way virulent hate purveyors will seek to bring down Barack Obama: by portraying him as un-American and, oh yes, "unelectable."

To be fair, these anti-Obama sentiments cannot be attributed to two white supremacists riding on a train.

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