Joan Walsh doesn’t like Americans for Shared Prosperity’s new ad, which features a woman talking to the camera about how she is in a bad relationship, where she was promised all sorts of great things that turned out to be lies. The woman, it becomes clear, is referring to Barrack Obama. Walsh is offended by the ad and likens it to Todd Akin, but in dissecting the ad and listing what she hates, she reveals so much more about herself than the ad.
To start, she claims it diminishes Obama by making “[o]ur first black president is just another pair of pants, a smooth-talking liar who let us down. But hell, he is kind of cute, which is obviously why he won the women’s vote over John McCain and Mitt Romney.” Walsh is correct that the ad diminishes Obama – that is one of its purposes. It is, after all, a political attack ad. But it is Walsh who decides that there is some sort of racial component to the ad when she chooses to insert Obama’s race into her description of how it diminishes the president. If the ad were about Bill Clinton, would she have said “our 42nd white president?” Why is race even relevant in this discussion?
Walsh’s racial projections don’t stop there. She says the ad targets “[c]ollege-educated and unmarried women voters who may or may not be white. (Barack’s soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend could be Latina.)” How nefarious! The video depicts a woman who “may be” Latina. While I am sure that the ad’s producers carefully chose the subject of the video, why does Walsh need to inject race into her criticism? She could simply have said “The ad is clearly targeting the most loyal Democratic constituency: College-educated and unmarried women voters.” The fact they may or may not be white is a tautology.
My favorite reveal, however, is Walsh’s penultimate paragraph, where she writes: “[n]ow that the ad has aired, and reaction has been almost universally scathing in the media (beyond the confines of sad Erick Erickson’s deeply sexist RedState.com), have any of its backers had second thoughts?” If one follows those links, the person is taken to just two articles, one in Vox (linked twice) and one in The Wire. However, neither article in any way backs up Walsh’s assertion that the reaction has been “almost universally scathing.” The Vox article only describes the video, states where it is airing and traces who made the video and who paid for it. Not only is it not scathing, it doesn’t even rise to the level of mildly perturbed. As for The Wire article, it isn’t particularly scathing, either. It quotes two people as saying the ad brings to mind an abusive relationship.
That Walsh sees racism everywhere is no surprise, after all, her book is called “What’s the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America.” That she sees confirmation of her views in articles which say no such thing shows that her bias is so profound that there is no subject which is not wholly subsumed by her political affiliations.