Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Whitey (or Why'd He) Tape

(I'm bumping this up because it seems to be what everybody is looking for. It was originally posted Monday at 12:15 PM. Since then Larry Johnson has provided no further information -- and gets more unreliable by the hour. On the other hand Democratic insider Bob Beckel got on TV this morning and stated he expects a Michelle Obama bomb to drop tomorrow. Actually, having now seen the Beckel interview on tape [I can't watch youtube videos on my computer] I would say Beckel expresses extreme worry, not a pure expectation, that this could happen.)

Bouncing around the innards of the world wide web, there is potential political scandal more explosive than all the others that have come to pass in this super-charged electoral season.

Some bloggers -- led by ex-CIA agent and Hillary Clinton supporter Larry Johnson -- have been advancing the existence of a so-called "Whitey Tape," a video recording in which Michelle Obama repeatedly uses the epithet "whitey" during a mean-spirited rant in front of the congregation of the controversial Trinity church that she and her husband just "resigned" from.

Although he hasn't seen the tape himself, Johnson, who blogs at noquarterusa.net, wrote a few weeks ago that he knows four reliable people who had, and they tell him it would be a devastating game changer for Obama if and when the tape leaks to the public.

Johnson also claims the tape is currently in the hands of Karl Rove, and that the GOP strategist plans on releasing it in October to maximize its damage to the Democrat's chances of capturing the White House. According to Johnson, word of the tape got out after a right-wing billionaire who Rove showed the tape (likely casino magnet Sheldon Adelson) offered up a million dollar bounty for a copy of the recording because he has it in for John McCain and doesn't want to give the Arizona Senator the benefit of an "October Surprise."

While I don't doubt the possibility that Michelle Obama railed against "whitey" from the pulpit -- the sermons of Reverend Wright and Father Pflegger suggest taking such a pose can really get the crowd going over there -- the involvement of ultimate Republican bogeyman Rove and a Machiavellian, double-crossing billionaire casino boss gives the whole thing a Hollywood quality which had my BS detector flying all over the place when I initially read about it.

Yesterday marked the first time the mainstream media (in so much as Geraldo is the MSM) addressed the topic when the pugnacious Fox News host asked the suddenly ubiquitous Republican dirty trickster Roger Stone if he had heard about the tape.

Stone, fresh off maybe providing the tip that took Eliot Spitzer down, said that he had, and that so far seven networks have contacted him to comment on it. Stone denied having seen the tape himself, but expressed confidence that it does exists, and said he believes one of the "major networks" already has their hands on the incriminating video.

Also yesterday, Johnson provided more logs for the fire when he wrote that the tape is of a panel discussion at Trinity, and Nation of Islam hate-monger Louis Farrakhan is present and involved during the event. He also divulged that the tape was originally acquired by a Republican candidate who is no longer in the race, but who had a crack opposition research team. (Presumably Mitt Romney.)

Late last night a pro-Obama blog seemed to confirm the existence of the tape, but with a twist. The Booman Tribune posits Michelle Obama wasn't saying "whitey" but "why'd he," as in why did he (President Bush) cut off medicare, let New Orleans drown, etc.

The Boorman Tribune's account of what was said has been disputed today by various right-wing bloggers, and there is now a bizarre amount of chatter over the specific transcript of a tape nobody has confirmed actually seeing.

I'll confirm I'm not very schooled in what goes in a church that preaches black liberation theology, but, from what little I've seen, a rhetorical flourish such as morphing "why'd he" into "Whitey" would be a crowd pleaser. Meaning they could all be right.

So what happens next? Since I'm diving into the wild speculation of others, I'll add a bit of my own: The tape will break under the flash of the Drudge Report siren.

I'm not the only Drudge-watcher who has noticed the generally-right-wing Internet trouble maker has been unusually soft on Obama. Granted Drudge hasn't had a dog in the fight since Romney dropped out. (It's hard to believe a First Amendment absolutist like Drudge would take much of shine to a McCain candidacy.) But for Drudge, who rarely passes up an opportunity to engage in race-baiting, to just about completely ignore the whole Reverend Wright controversy -- as he did -- is extraordinarily suspicious.

What if the Romney operatives who had been feeding Drudge quality anti-Giuliani information back in 2007 also tipped him off to the Whitey Tape? And now Drudge is making sure Obama sticks around long enough for him to drop the tape at the most impactful time.

Or maybe Drudge doesn't have the tape, but, like Roger Stone, knows that a network does. That network could be weary of running it -- especially if there is doubt as to what Michelle is actually saying -- and Drudge is just biding his time until an insider slips him a copy. This is exactly how Drudge broke the Lewinsky story which made him famous.

Or maybe this is all a ploy by an ex-CIA agent who is trained in spreading misinformation. Only time will tell.he expects

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