The Obama camp has cleverly shielded itself from pointed criticism in a number of ways. The most effective method thus far has been the handy-dandy "racism" smear. It's incredibly effective. Any labeling, criticism, or counter-position against the orthodoxy of Obamaism - or against the man himself - is "racist" speech.
Call Obama a socialist? that's racist.
Call Obama "uppity"? that's racist.
Suggest Obama is "a candidate who inspires fear" and you're associated with George Wallace.
Linking Obama to a shady executive in the Fannie Mae/ Freddie Mac scandal is racist.
Accuse Obama of palling around with terrorists and that's racially tinged.
Conclude that the only way Obama could lose the election would be due to racism.
Posit that any background issues surrounding Obama are "pseudo-controversies" involving a "racial calculus" (as PBS anchorman Ray Suarez believes).
Here's an article written by a black pastor who suggests that not everything said in criticism of Obama is racist - sometimes criticism is just that, criticism.
But the bigger problem - as I see it - is in the silencing of American debate when it comes to Barack Obama. The difficulty - an ominous one - is that if only Barack and his people get to determine what is or is not racist speech, not only are their critics marginalized, they defeat legitimate criticism as well. Because who wants to wade into the thicket of policy debate and wind up tarred and feathered as some kind of David Duke? And you can expect this kind of smearing to be used as long as it is effective - that is to say, as long as Obama is president. And not only will it be used for political purposes to silence any unfavorable criticism of the policies of Obama and the Left, it can conceivably be used to socially marginalize anyone who may have misgivings about Barack Obama the man or his judgment.
Perhaps it could all backfire. It could be used so much it loses its effectiveness from overuse. Let's hope so.