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That didn’t take long.

The party of Lincoln jumped right into Jesse Helms-era race-baiting this week.

And we found out just what a tough, strong, effective leader John McCain is. He can’t even get a state Republican Party to take down an ad. Or maybe his demand that the ad be pulled came with a wink, wink.

Why did the ad mention Bev Perdue and Richard Moore?

I suspect the hidden hand behind the ad is the Republican Governors Association.

I doubt the state GOP has anybody who can make an ad of that quality. So maybe the RGA did the ad – and threw in the gubernatorial candidates to justify the expenditure.

The ad worked. It put race on the front pages. The GOP mouthpiece played her part, innocently claiming the ad has nothing to do with racism. That’s the oldest trick in the book: raising race and, when Democrats cry foul, say they’re raising race.

Carter’s blogs are right about one thing: Obama and the Democrats have to confront this head-on.

We’ve seen this movie before: in 1950, 1984, 1990, 1996, on and on.

Too often, we Democrats have hesitated to call a racist ad what it is. Too often, we tiptoe around the subject, hoping it will go away.

The Republicans won’t let it go away. It’s worked for them since 1968.

Democrats have to say: Enough already. It’s time to move beyond racism.

It’s time to make every Republican candidate – from McCain down to the bottom of the ballot – pay the price for what their party has done for too long.

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