Namely, listening for the silent dog whistle sounds of racism and getting offended.
Is Hillary a racist? After years of the Clintons sticking the knife in other people, it's fun to watch them getting carved up over very little.
Liberal blogger Steven Benen is keeping a list:
Here’s a closer look at the most notable recent incidents, with my patented Willie Horton Rating System — 5 Hortons for the most offensive use of ugly, divisive rhetoric, 1 Horton for the most innocuous.
* Bill Clinton referred to Obama’s movement as a “fairly tale” — 1 Horton
This one has been misconstrued, repeatedly. Looking at the full context, the former president described Obama’s reputation as an opponent of the war in Iraq as a “fairly tale.” That, in and of itself, is a debatable point, but there was no racial subtext.
* Hillary Clinton downplayed the significance of Martin Luther King, Jr. — 4 Hortons
I realize the original quote has been taken from context in a variety of instances, but even in its full context, I think Clinton tried to make a point with some poorly-chosen words.
* Andrew Cuomo’s “shuck and jive” comments — 3 Hortons
It’s questionable, and the context helps make Cuomo look a little better, but he probably should have realized how comments like that could be construed.
* Bob Kerrey’s “Muslim” and “madrassa” comments — 5 Hortons
It’s hard to defend Kerrey on this.
* Billy Shaheen’s drug dealer comments — 5 Hortons
* Bob Johnson’s drug dealer comments — 5 Hortons
* Sergio Bendixen, a top Clinton pollster, on Latino and Black communities — 2 Hortons
Bendixen conceded the other day, “The Hispanic voter — and I want to say this very carefully — has not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates.” He’s playing with fire, given the environment.
* Hillary referred to “spadework” on the Today show — 1 Horton
* Clinton aide on Obama as an “imaginary hip black friend” — Incomplete
An anonymous Clinton adviser explained what he/she sees as the difference between Hillary supporters and Obama supporters: “If you have a social need, you’re with Hillary,” the aide said. “If you want Obama to be your imaginary hip black friend and you’re young and you have no social needs, then he’s cool.” I’d give it the full 5 Hortons, but I have no idea whether the person is a close aide or a tangential “adviser.”
* Bill Clinton referred to Obama as a “kid” — 1 Horton
Donna Brazille was emphasizing this one last week, but I think the subtext dealt with youth and inexperience, not race. (Still, given that Obama is older now than Bill Clinton was in 1992, it’s an odd comment, but that’s another story for another day.)
By the way, I predict that somebody will get in serious trouble within the next ten years for using the word "linchpin" (also frequently spelled "lynchpin").
Also, by the way, did you know that Sir Francis Galton invented the silent dogwhistle? And you know what that means! So, within 20 years, the term "silent dogwhistle" will be considered racist.