Senator Barack Obama

Willie Horton Again

The creator of the Willie Horton commercial is gearing up to paint Senator Obama as weak on terrorism. Big shocker. So the terrorism fear mongering campaign, which began under Senator Clinton, will now be joined by far-right strategist Floyd Brown. TIME:

The new ad recounts the deaths of three Chicago residents in 2001 at the hands of criminal gangs. "That same year, a Chicago state senator named Barack Obama voted against expanding the death penalty for gang-related murders," an ominous female narrator intones. "So the question is, can a man so weak in the war on gangs be trusted in the war on terror?"

Naturally, the whole thing is driven by racism. In the chapter titled "The Great Fear of 2008" in my forthcoming book, I compare Floyd Brown and his ilk to the Southern pro-slavery fire-eaters of 1860 -- the fear mongers who spread rumors about how Lincoln and abolitionists were secretly organizing a slave revolt.

Brown's new ad focuses on a 2001 vote by Obama in the Illinois Senate to oppose a bill that would have expanded the use of the death penalty if the perpetrator of a crime belonged to a gang. The links between Obama's vote on that issue and the deaths of three Chicago resident's are indirect and tenuous, as is the further connection the ad draws between the issue of Obama's position on the death penalty and the issue of international terrorism.

That law was racially motivated. Why should gang (black) murderers be treated any differently than other criminals? Well, because they're black, right?