If John McCain were running for president against Tiger Woods, he’d likely get crushed. So when McCain supporter, Former Army Staff Sergeant David Bellavia introduced McCain by misrepresenting his likely opponent, Barack Obama as Tiger Woods, chances are he wasn’t alluding to Woods’ incomparability.
And perhaps, it wouldn’t matter if he were. Here is what Bellavia said,
“Rest assured,” he told the crowd, “that men like Senator McCain will be the goal and the men that my two young boys will emulate and admire. You can have your Tiger Woods, we’ve got Senator McCain.”
Michael Eric Dyson, appearing on Keith Olbermann, suggested, accurately I think, that this kind of comment raises a problem for McCain’s campaign because it represents a habit of racism (as opposed to racist intent,) with McCain chortling in the background, that reduces people of color to interchangeable and inferior parts– Tiger, Barack, no difference– in society. Such demonization and dehumanization is ugly and McCain should be held to account.
In the alternative, suppose Bellavia was actually trying to complement Obama by comparing him to Tiger Woods. No real diference here because the comment still would have reduced men of mixed race to being a Tiger/ Barack/…. Even while elevating Barack to the invincible stature of Tiger– which is unlikely– Bellavia would be guilty of having dehumanized and homogenized the likely democratic nominee. one mixed race celeb= any other. As Edward Said suggested a couple decades ago, romanticizing of the other is just as dehumanizing and demoralizing.
So McCain supporters probably shouldn’t even bother rationalizing this one. it’ll deepen the hole. just fess up. Tell America McCain’s laugh was the same laugh as when he reacted to the comment that Hilary is a b*tch. Tell America that McCain welcomes the support of habitual racists and other fear mongering phobes (his real base); that he thinks he benefits by drawing such race-based and gender based comparisons with his democratic opponents; that he enjoys having supporters make such comments; finds such degrading remarks to be funny, and will continue to laugh at the labeling of others. Pull back the curtain on this old style politics. Let us in on the joke. McCain owes voters as much.