I'm part of the enlightened MSM elite, happy to embrace Barack Obama. But, sigh, there are many benighted folks across our land not as sophisticated as I. You know: "Reagan Democrats," who just won't vote for an African-American. And the Republicans would plan to appeal to their racism to attack Obama.
That, in sum, was Joe Scarborough's condescending analysis of Barack Obama's presidential prospects, offered up on today's "Morning Joe." Fortunately, guest Pat Buchanan was there to gently correct him.
Panelist Mika Brzezinski kicked off the discussion of which Dem the Republicans could more easily "demonize."
View video here.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I'm not arguing whether or not she's a stronger candidate. I think the demonization process though against Hillary Clinton would be easier for the Republicans.
JOE SCARBOROUGH [addressing himself to guest Pat Buchanan]: Mika thinks that Hillary would be an easier target than Barack Obama. I would think that Barack Obama would not be attacked head on [apply directly to the forehead!] by the Republicans. But there are a lot of people in swing states, a lot of Reagan Democrats in Ohio, a lot of Reagan Democrats in Florida a lot of Reagan Democrats across Middle America that would be concerned about voting for an African-American. We all think that would be a great thing for America, but I think there are a lot of Reagan Democrats that voted for Reagan twice and Clinton twice that would think twice about voting for an African-American.
Buchanan politely disagreed and offering up a good counter-example to make his case.
PAT BUCHANAN: You know, Joe, I think that Colin Powell, back in '96, if he'd gotten the Republican nomination; he was sort of liberal on social issues. I think the country would have voted for a Colin Powell because he was reassuring. The thing about Obama, I think frankly he would not be in this race if he weren't a young African-American who's enormously attractive. I think that's a draw. His problem is the real perception of youth and inexperience that he is [in] over his head, that he really is not ready to take over command of the largest country on earth in this time of crisis. I think that apprehension is far greater than resistance to an African-American being President of the United States.
Scarborough managed to simultaneously insult Middle America and the Republican party of which he claims to be a member. He casts Reagan Democrats as a largely racist lot. And when he says that Barack Obama "would not be attacked head on by the Republicans," the obvious implication is that the GOP would attack him indirectly by appealing to that reputedly racist sentiment of the Reagan Democrats.
Note: over at the liberal American Prospect, Ezra Klein claims to have identified a trend: "disaffected, elite Republicans" who are supporting Obama. Let me take a stab at explaining this phenomenon: it isn't one.