So last night I was cast as "Angry White Male #3" on The Daily Show.
It was during one of the montage segments they do all the time: Jon Stewart introduces the major news story of the day and then shows several clips of hysterical talking heads from various cable news channels all saying the same hysterical things. Then they cut back to a horrified and smugly amused Stewart.
Last night, the topic was Barack Obama’s speech on race. Stewart introduced a series of clips that showed three white guys sounding the alarm about the horrific damage the Jeremiah Wright story could do to Barack Obama’s campaign. One of them was Karl Rove from Fox News. Another was the Daily News‘ Michael Goodwin, from a CNN appearance. The third one was me.
In the montage, Goodwin is shown saying, "I think he’s got a serious problem here." Then Rove says: "This is really damaging." Then it’s back to Goodwin, who says it "could be the turning point in the race." And then it’s my turn. "This is going to scare the white voters in Ohio," I say. "This is going to scare the white voters in Missouri."
Then the montage ends and Stewart reappears to say: "Yeah. We all love Jesus. But why do you have to be so black and angry about it?"
I was shown for a grand total of about four seconds, and no one knows who I am, and it is, after all, a fake news show, so I don’t think this constitutes a seismic event.
But for the record, before I get accused by anyone else of sharing the opinions of Karl Rove on this matter, I’d like to point out that—contrary to what the clip suggests—I do not think that the Wright story is going to drive large numbers of white voters in Ohio or Missouri away from Barack Obama. What I was talking about is what Obama’s opponents are saying about the impact of the story.
The clip came from a segment on CNN’s "Election Center," where I was the night before the Obama speech on race.
Moments before saying that, one of the other panelists, a female reporter from The Washington Times, had just presented what has become the conventional conservative view—that Obama is in serious trouble. When she finished, I pointed out that she had basically previewed what Republicans will try to say in the fall if Obama is the candidate. I also offered the opinion that it wouldn’t work:
But whatever. I told someone this morning this my version of what happened, and she laughed and said, "Now you know how the reverend feels."