American politics are never far away from race. The 2008 presidential campaign was notable because Barack Obamas candidacy did not generate an overtly racist Republican response. Sen. John McCain was the reason that did not occur. As the GOP presidential nominee, McCain explicitly overruled an advertising campaign based on race.
Thanks to the Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case, uber-wealthy contributors are free to design their own campaigns. The New York Times reported Thursday that Joe Ricketts, founder of the brokerage firm TD Ameritrade, was planning to finance an explicitly racial campaign.
There are three years of Obamas administration to run against, but Mr. Ricketts writers would take us back to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his black liberation theology. Of course, the Rev. Wright appeared in 2008. Not enough. These guys wanted a do-over.
Since the appearance of The New York Times article, Ricketts has apparently dropped the campaign.
Many Republican leaders were understandably nervous about what Ricketts intended. But that is what they got when Chief Justice John Roberts unleashed Citizens United. It allows anyone with a mega bankroll effectively to become a new type of political boss elected by no one and beholden to no one, free to share their darkest visions of America with a vast television audience.
The campaign planning document obtained by the Times noted Ricketts sentiment that Americans still arent ready to hate this president. It would have sown that hate.
The truth is that Barack Obama has governed as a center-left Republican on the economy. As a commander-in-chief, he inherited two wars and is bringing both to an end.
It is darkly ironic that the Times broke the story of this racially-based campaign on the same day that population researchers reported that nonwhite births outnumbered white births. America is becoming a majority of minorities.