Dog Whistles

DOG WHISTLES….Jonathan Cohn says this about Geraldine Ferraro’s recent comments to the press:

Ferraro’s original statement to Daily Breeze, which suggested that Obama has gotten preferential political treatment because of his race, was a dog-whistle to white voters who resent affirmative action.

Well, sure. Except for one thing. Torrance is a faceless little bedroom community most famous for having a big shopping mall, and the Torrance Daily Breeze is a faceless little local newspaper with a circulation of about 60,000. Nobody outside the South Bay reads it, Ferraro’s comment was buried near the end of the original article, California has already voted, and no one in the Obama campaign cared about it. In fact, nobody would ever have noticed her remarks in the first place if Kos hadn’t highlighted them three days after they appeared. Ferraro’s moment in the national press didn’t start until after the blogosphere erupted.

If Ferraro was trying to do some dog whistling, she sure picked an unusually ineffective forum for it. It’s way more likely that she just blurted out something dumb to a local reporter, and then got her dander up when people started piling on about it. That’s no excuse for saying something dumb and then following it up with something even dumber, but it’s pretty unlikely that Ferraro had any serious dog whistling agenda here.