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The Judicial Confirmation Network (JCN), a conservative independent group, is running new anti-Obama TV ads in battleground states that feature the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. “Obama chose as his pastor a man who has blamed America for the 9/11 attacks,” says the narrator, as an image of Wright (with the words “God Damn America”) flash on the screen.
The JCN is headed by Gary Marx, who worked for Mitt Romney’s campaign this year and who served as coalitions organizer for the Bush-Cheney campaign four years ago. As an “independent” group, the JCN doesn’t have to reveal its donors.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Reverend Wright soon appear in more ads from the GOP and McCain’s surrogates, especially if Obama’s momentum in the polls isn’t soon reversed.
Over the summer I spoke with Gary Pearce, a Democratic consultant in North Carolina, where Obama and McCain are running neck and neck. “It’s so deep in the Republican DNA in North Carolina,” he said when I asked him if he though that race would become an issue during the campaign. “Race is the deepest question in Southern politics, it’s inescapable and it’s worked repeatedly against black and white politicians.”
Pearce worked for former Governor Jim Hunt, who lost a senate race in 1984 to incumbent Jessie Helms, in good part due to the issue of a national holiday for Martin Luther King. Six years later, the moderate African-American mayor of Charlotte, Harvey Gantt, lost to Helms in a campaign also marked by not-so-subtle racial tactics. (Charlie Black, one of McCain’s senior advisors, worked for Helms during both of those campaigns.)
“If the Republicans get worried, we’ll see more of it,” Pearce said about the potential use of race in the current campaign.
They’re worried now. Stay tuned.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Estimated acres of forest Henry David Thoreau burned down in 1844 trying to cook fish he had caught for dinner:
The bombardier beetle, which can fire liquid at its enemies from its rear end at up to 300 squirts per second, was being scrutinized in the hope of building a better airplane engine.
London Fire Brigade investigators blamed a building fire in South London on a bird that carried a lit cigarette to its rooftop nest. “Smokers,” said neighborhood baker Richard Scroggs. “What can you say?”
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“American politics has often been an arena for angry minds.”