dnA’s got another great American Prospect article on tap: “When Identity Politics Backfire“. It’s a solid analysis. Get a taste. (emphasis mine)

Media coverage of Tinker’s identity-based ads showed how people across the country were shocked by one candidate’s attempt to cast the other as an outsider not by tying him to Hamas or Fidel Castro but to the Ku Klux Klan. But the novelty of a black politician using wedge identity politics against a white Jewish opponent obscures the fact that this kind of politics is extremely common. There exists a bizarre idea that somehow, because of racism, black people should be immune to the kind of petty clannishness that afflicts other human beings, and it is therefore even more reprehensible when they aren’t. But there really isn’t much difference between what Tinker did in Tennessee’s 9th District and what Republicans do every year. The Tinker campaign’s attempt to argue that only a black candidate could represent a majority-black district isn’t so different from John McCain’s invocation of himself as “the American president Americans have been waiting for.”

But while left-leaning voices have been calling out the identity politics of the McCain campaign, people on both the left and the right were outraged by Tinker’s identity-based ads. Josh Marshall accurately described Tinker’s statements as “Jew-baiting,” while conservatives used the race as an opportunity to argue that the Democratic Party was itself racist, and to demand Barack Obama (who is bearing a lot of weight these days, between being a presidential candidate and fielding requests that he respond to all foolishness perpetuated by any black person in America) intervene. Erick Erickson at Redstate said the race exposed “the deep, deep racial divisions within the party of Jim Crow.” On Fox News, Hannity and Colmes asked whether presidential candidate Barack Obama was “ignoring a race war” in the Democratic Party. Even though painting one’s opponent as a frightening cultural outsider is a common Republican tactic, the right was nonetheless outraged when such an approach was applied by a black candidate toward a white one. Folks on the left have been less selective in their condemnation of dog-whistle politics.

Fox’s Hannity and Colmes invited the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson onto the show to say what white right-wing pundits would feel less comfortable saying. Peterson blamed the entire black community of the 9th District, declaring that “most blacks” in Memphis are “so racist that they don’t even realize that white Americans have moved on, and so whenever there is a campaign like this, such as this, they always use racism in order to intimidate white Americans.” Hours later, the virulently racist black community of Memphis strapped on their black berets and, clutching copies of Soul on Ice, handed Cohen a landslide win with 79 percent of the vote to Tinker’s 19 percent. She got a larger share of the vote in 2006, running against 13 other people.

Black folks are pretty smart voters, y’know. Because of our history, we take choosing representatives pretty seriously. Here’s proof. There’s more over at the Prospect. And you know you want more.

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