Remember Laura Ingraham? She's the back-up O'Reilly Factor guest-host who wrote a deliberately (it seemed) unfunny Barack Obama “diary” last year in which she described Michelle Obama as eating baby-back ribs at every meal.
Her grasp of race and politics has only grown stronger since then, and today on her radio show she wondered aloud if Herman Cain “would be the first black president, when you measure it by -- because he doesn't -- does he have a white mother, white father, grandparents, no, right?”
That was clearly an unguarded moment on Ingraham's part, and you can hear her fumble and slam on the brakes as she realized where this train of thought was taking her. And then she changed direction to say that Cain could be “the first Main Street black Republican to be the president of the United States,” whatever that means. But she didn't quite stop herself in time and ended up questioning whether President Obama is really black, given that his mother was white.
So that's not good, though at least it's distinct from the prevailing right-wing theories regarding the president and race.
And it's a marked improvement over one of my all-time favorite moments from campaign 2008, when Monica Crowley (guest hosting for Ingraham!) accused Obama of lying about being black: “According to this guy Kenneth Lamb, Barack Obama is not black African, he is Arab African. And yet, this guy is campaigning as black and painting anybody who dares to criticize him as a racist. I mean, that is -- it is the biggest con I think I've ever seen.”
I should point out that Crowley's source on this was an amateur Obama family genealogy put together by a very strange right-wing blogger who encouraged his readers to steal Obama's used handkerchiefs so he could test the DNA.