Barack Obama’s supporters are whining about any attempt to link their candidate with former Weather Underground bomber William Ayers as “guilt by association” — even though, as National Review contributor Stanley Kurtz points out, the working relationship between Obama and Ayers can more correctly be described as “guilt by participation.”

But today’s Wall Street Journal treats us to a classic case of guilt by association: a front-page profile of the descendants of slaves owned by John McCain’s great-great grandfather before the Civil War. After documenting the poor treatment that the black families (who share the last name “McCain”) received over the past century, reporter Douglas Blackmon tags Senator McCain — whom he places at the family’s former plantation as a young man in the 1940s and 1950s —  as out of touch:

Jeff Glor, CBS During the 7AM half hour of Monday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Jeff Glor reported on a couple moments at recent McCain campaign events as evidence of harsh Republican attacks against Barack Obama: "...a few recent fiery McCain campaign moments...Including one where McCain had to take the mic away from a woman who incorrectly called Obama an Arab." Glor went on to explain: "All of it led Democrat and civil rights leader John Lewis to issue a controversial statement, charging the Republicans with cultivating an atmosphere reminiscent of the days of segregation."

While referencing Lewis’s comments, Glor did not describe what made them particularly controversial: "George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights...Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama." It would seem that a Democratic member of Congress comparing John McCain to George Wallace would be a little more serious than one random woman at a campaign rally making an incorrect statement about Obama’s ethnicity.

This furious beating of the racism drum by the left shows how worried they are that Barack Obama might lose this election. Time Magazine's Peter Beinart once again charges "racism" against anyone that won't support Barack Obama. But, Beinart adds a twist to his accusation. It isn't just his race that is being held against him, in Beinart's eyes it is the fact that Obama has "foreign roots" that causes "whites" to mistrust him. But, like everyone blinded by the flash of the race card he doesn't see that it isn't racism that causes moderates and conservatives to shy from Obama. No, it isn't his relative blackness that people are against, it's his redness. Beinart misunderstands the simple fact that it's Obama's unAmerican ideals makes him not "American enough" to get the support of millions of Americans.

As the Time headline asks "is he American enough," Beinart delves into what he sees as the "Racist" claim that Barack's foreign father is offputting to "white" Americans. He posits that this is the main reason why people cannot warm to Obama. Then Beinart claims that the strategy of the McCain campaign is one of "using race to make Obama seem anti-American." Beinart says these "attacks" are hurting Obama in the polls with "working-class whites." He also seems to say that the whole campaign is filled with code words such as questioning what "kind of person" he is. These all culminate into a racist attack that undermines Obama.

Photo of Ray Suarez by Emily Zoladz of the Grand Rapids Press | NewsBusters.orgTaxpayer-subsidized journalist Ray Suarez (pictured at right) thinks concerns over Barack Obama's liberalism are transparent proxies for something more sinister: racism. What's more, the PBS "NewsHour" reporter suggested that McCain running mate Gov. Sarah Palin is the campaign's point woman charged with "pil[ing] on the doubt" about Obama's fitness for office.

So reported Grand Rapids Press reporter Juanita Westaby, who covered the October 8 Suarez speech held at the "non-creedal liberal" Fountain Street Church (emphasis mine):

GRAND RAPIDS -- Following an unpopular president, supporting a costly war, and now facing a financial crisis at home, Sen. John McCain's race for the presidency should be in worse shape.

"What makes John McCain plausible is Barack Obama," news anchor Ray Suarez told a local crowd Wednesday.

The "pseudo controversies" about Obama's background are symbols for a "racial calculus" hard at work in U.S. politics.

The smart folks soberly support Barack Obama, while the ridiculous-looking rednecks love Sarah Palin. That's the subtext of the New York Times coverage on Wednesday. Jennifer Steinhauer was watching the second presidential debate with Obama fans at a Mexican restaurant in Des Moines, "Where He First Got Going, Cheering Obama On."

Debate watchers at Dos Rios -- the sort of crowd that can cite chapter and verse of Medicaid waivers without notes -- watched intensely, taking their eyes off the television only to grab a Corona.

Strangely, one of the self-evident geniuses in attendance thinks Barack Obama wants universal health care, despite the Times' desperate insistence that that's just one of the McCain campaign's many lies:

Health care was clearly a big issue in this crowd, and Mr. Obama's statement that health care was a "right" got a big round, too. "I like the fact that he is taking steps toward universal health care," said Mr. Matson, an osteopath.

In contrast, a Republican rally in Florida featuring Sarah Palin is painted in threatening terms by the Times. In her Wednesday story, "Palin Plays to Conservative Base in Florida Rallies," Julie Bosman seems perturbed at the sight of conservative Republicans in their natural element.

The Associated Press has long been a bastion of liberal bias. But has it now sunk to the level of a left-wing blog in the throes of Palin Derangement Syndrome?  Yes, suggests the Morning Joe folks.  In a rare bit of unanimity, the panel condemned and ridiculed AP for its "analysis" item, "Palin's words carry racial tinge."  According to Douglass K. Daniel, the item's author, Palin's criticism of Barack Obama for his association with Ayers somehow carries "a racially tinged subtext." See Warner Todd Huston's earlier discussion here.

Mika Brzezinski questioned the strategic wisdom of the McCain campaign's playing of the Ayers card, but even she joined in the excoriation of the AP.

View video here.

Talk about an idiotic assertion, but the Associated Press just claimed that Governor Sarah Palin is a racist for saying that Obama used to "pal around with terrorists." According to the AP's Douglass K. Daniel, Palin is a racist because the word "terrorist" is construed now-a-days to mean a "dark-skinned radical Muslim" so that makes her a "racist" in his blinkered view.

See, it isn't overt, according to Daniel, but there is a "subtext," don't you know? And, yes, he's serious with this absurd claim, sadly. This Olympics award winning back stretch has to be seen to be believed.

The wording may be a tad nuanced, the referenced two-bit dictator from a different country, but the idea behind the following jokes involving Barack Obama and the race card seems too similar for mere happenstance.

Judge for yourself.

On September 19, conservative blogger Jim Treacher wrote the following fictious exchange between "President" Obama and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that seems eerily similar to the one presented on the most recent installment of NBC's "Saturday Night Live" (video embedded right, relevant section at 3:30):

When the latest installment of Saturday Night Live parodied Friday’s presidential debate, the NBC comedy program gave attention to Barack Obama’s connections to convicted criminal Tony Rezko, corrupt Chicago politics, and Obama’s recent attempts at "playing the race card," which notably are all matters that the mainstream news media have given little attention to. While the show also took a number of shots at John McCain, several times having him propose a bizarre gimmick like challenging Obama to a pie-eating contest for example, the Illinois Senator also received several noteworthy jabs. One line involved McCain’s character, played by Darrell Hammond, referring to Obama, played by Fred Armisen, as making an earmark request titled "Tony Rezko Hush Money." Obama’s character also bragged that his tax cut plan would benefit Chicago politicians and city employees "because my plan would not tax income from bribes, kickbacks, shakedowns, embezzlement of government funds, or extortion."

The Obama character later promised that he would "play the race card" against dictators like North Korean President Kim Jong Il if necessary to guilt-trip them into dismantling their nuclear programs, as he would accuse Kim of refusing to cooperate with him because "I’m not like the other guys on the $5 and $10 bills."

With the first official presidential debate for 2008 set to begin this evening on the Oxford campus of Ole Miss, Washington Post associate editor Kevin Merida gave readers of today's Style section a glimpse at how the state of Mississippi is still "Bearing Its Southern Cross."

Merida opened by insisting that the Magnolia State "has been chasing away ghosts for years, trying to rid itself of a past that keeps haunting the present" and that "the ghosts just won't leave Mississippi alone." The Post staffer did end up closing on a positive note regarding race relations in Mississippi, but in doing so, he failed to note the role of conservative policies in leading an overwhelmingly white state senate district to elect a black candidate:

On September 20, Noel Sheppard of NewsBusters posted on a misleading Associated Press/Yahoo poll on racism. The poll asserted that if Barack Obama loses, it will be because of "[d]eep-seated racial misgivings" held by "one-third of white Democrats."

Later that day, NB's Michael Bates criticized the AP's report on the poll for its historically inaccurate claim that the US "enshrined slavery into its constitution."

NB's Lyndsi Thomas got into the neighborhood of the concern I'm about to note on Sunday, when she noted that the pollsters tried to ferret out racism by asking questions that could be seen as purely political and having nothing to do with race.

But it seems to me that the pollsters engaged in a bit of hocus pocus. These three paragraphs from a story explaining AP's methodology carried at the Minneapolis Star Tribune gave me that impression:

A 60-year-old white woman from Spring Hill, Florida is quoted as saying that there is no chance a black man can win the White House. This same woman, Sandra Cichon, is quoted in a total of three St. Petersburg Times stories, the latest being from September 15. But in a follow up interview, Barbara Sowell of finds that Cichon claims she was never called by a pollster, as the paper claims, and never told any reporter that she wouldn't vote for a black man.

So who is right? Did the St. Petersburg Times merely make up racist quotes out of whole cloth and put words in the mouth of this woman or is she suddenly trying to take back what she said by claiming not to have been interviewed about Obama? Here's the story and you can decide.