New McCain Ad: Racist or No?

| Fri Sep. 12, 2008 11:47 AM EDT

The McCain campaign has a new 30-second spot out, hitting Obama and Biden for mistreating Sarah Palin. It's below. Near the end, Obama's face is shown with the words "HOW DISRESPECTFUL." "Disrespectful" is actually the title of the ad.

Some are questioning whether that's racist. Here's TPM's David Kurtz: "Doesn't it just drip with contempt? The sort of old-fashioned contempt that whites often held blacks in (and obviously still do)."

I'm not sure I agree. I think "how disrespectful" could be effective if paired with an image of a white politician, too, as long as that white politician's calling card was civility and positivity. Tarnishing such a reputation doesn't depend on the politician's color.

Anyway, it's not often when an ad is obviously racist or obviously sexist. Ads are almost always in a gray area, as this one is. Each viewer can decide how he or she feels.

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