When GOP Says 'American,' It Really Means 'White'

On unpopular side of issues, McCain and Co. seem set to play to biases
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2008 10:28 AM CDT
John McCain reads a sheet of paper given to him by an audience member while speaking at a town hall meeting in Rochester, Mich.    (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
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(Newser) – John McCain’s first post-primary ad declares him “the American president Americans have been waiting for," and the repetition tells all, Harold Meyerson writes in the Washington Post. Forget "strong," or "experienced," he notes. For the GOP, " ‘American’ is a term to be used as a wedge issue, a way to distinguish their more racially and religiously homogeneous party from the historically more polyglot Democrats.”

Never mind that Obama’s story of immigration and racial transcendence is quintessentially American; when Republicans say “American,” they mean “white and Christian,” Meyerson writes. “Should the election turn on the question of ‘What are you going to do for America?’ " he writes, "rather than ‘Are you a real American?’”