The issue: "Of all the videos released by the Obama campaign this year — a blizzard of ads, clips, and documentary footage devoured by fans — the most viewed item is a seemingly anodyne constituency video launching 'African Americans for Obama,'" says Ari Melber at Reuters. (See the video below.) Why? The ad, released in February, proved highly offensive to some conservatives, with websites accusing Obama of playing the race card to win votes. "This is an attempt to segregate voters based on race instead of voters joining together in groups based on values," said David Bellow at TexasGOPVote. "Imagine if Ron Paul announced a national campaign called 'Whites for Ron Paul' — he'd be vilified as a racist," says Paul Joseph Watson at PrisonPlanet. Meanwhile, Fox News has devoted a segment to the ad, accusing Obama of being divisive.
The fallout: The YouTube page has 29,517 dislikes, compared with only 2,138 likes, evidence of the ad's unpopularity with conservatives. The clip not only tops all other Obama ads in terms of viewership, but has drawn double the views of Mitt Romney's most widely seen video. The intense reaction suggests that a loud minority of conservatives has a "vitriolic, obsessive grievance with the black president himself," speculates Melber, "his country of origin, his 'otherness,' and virtually anything about him that circles back to his race." As for Romney, a widely quoted poll this summer showed him winning zero percent of the black vote. "One of the reasons African-American voters do not support Romney," says Sherrilyn Ifill at CNN, "is that they see the Republican Party's treatment of Obama, from the first weeks of his presidency, as an assault on a kind of racial collective dignity."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How the South's ugly racial history is haunting ObamaCare
- 10 things you need to know today: October 31, 2014
- If Democrats abandon immigration reform after Tuesday's likely loss, they will turn 2016 into a debacle
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- What if Leo Strauss was right?
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Beware of Splenda: The backlash against artificial sugars
- Stop making fun of philosophy and read some philosophy
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- The economics of Halloween: By the numbers
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