Much to-do on cable last night and in the NY Times today about John McCain saying that Barack Obama is playing the race card by referring to his race. Obama and his supporters -- columnist Eugene Robinson of Washington Post enunciated the defense clearly last night -- are replaying the racial dynamic of the primary season. It goes like this: When Obama refers to his race, he is not playing the race card. When opponents refer to his race or support of Obama by people of color, they are racially divisive and playing the race card.
Obama ran the table with this approach in the primary. McCain is taking the counter-intuitive Republican approach that worked so well against John Kerry, the war hero. Attack a perceived strong point. Obama has been the post-racial candidate. In the primary, it was a negative for any opponent to mention race in any fashion. Yet McCain forges ahead. He will attempt to portray Obama as someone trading on victimization by suggesting others are bigots. Will it work? Don't know. It will certainly appeal to Republican southern strategy base voters.