February 13, 2008

RANK ANTISEMITISM in the Democratic congressional primary in Memphis:

“Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen and the JEWS HATE Jesus,” blares the flier, which Cohen himself received in the mail — inducing gasps — last week.

Circulated by an African-American minister from Murfreesboro Tenn., which isn’t even in Cohen’s district, the literature encourages other black leaders in Memphis to “see to it that one and ONLY one black Christian faces this opponent of Christ and Christianity in the 2008 election.”

Well, that just makes everybody look good. Jeez. I like Steve Cohen a lot, and not just because he once gave me some absolutely amazing John Fogerty tickets (to the Mud Island show that was his first appearance after a decade of not touring). But even if I didn’t, this would be absolutely disgraceful. Perhaps Barack Obama should make a point of condemning this.

UPDATE: Why should Obama weigh in? Because he promises an uplifting new kind of politics and this is an ugly old kind. Because Steve Cohen is one of Obama’s supporters, and political loyalty is supposed to run both ways — unless you’re Hillary, anyway, and Obama’s supposed to be the anti-Hillary. Because otherwise Obama’s big appeal — I’m a black candidate who’s not like Al Sharpton! — will be a fraud. And, of course, because it’s the right thing to do.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Okay, the “fraud” bit was a bit strong. But it is the right thing to do, and it’s the kind of thing that a guy promising a new uplifting kind of politics ought to do. Trust me, if the racial angle were pointing the other way, this would be getting a lot of attention, especially if it could be tied to a Republican. And I say this, remember, as a guy who went after Trent Lott for a lot less.

MORE: I’m criticized a bit over at The Carpetbagger Report, but I agree with this commenter:

Cohen is a stellar guy.

Barack should absolutely stop by and campaign for Cohen before the primary.

If you know Memphis and if this preacher is trying to divide dems by religion and race, this is an easy call.

Of course Barack does not have to respond everytime an Isaah Thomas (f)s up.

But I think you are really missing the point here.

I think they are, too.

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