This is the latest in a series on the use of the race card for political gain:

No, the topic tonight is not Sheila Jackson Lee’s comment that people are complaining about raising the debt limit only because Obama is black.   That is so obviously foolish, and comes from someone who so obviously is a fool, that it almost requires no comment.  And throwing in the mix the irony that Jackson Lee recently was sued by a staffer for disability discrimination, or that she has been described as the boss from hell, would be a cheap shots beneath the dignity of this blog.

Tonight the focus is a more pernicious play of the race card by Justin Eliot at Salon.com, Rick Perry’s Confederate Past.

Headlines matter, and Salon.com made sure to use a headline suggesting that Perry has a “confederate past” whereas the actual article makes no such showing.  There was only one allegation in the article that Perry actually belonged to a confederate organization, and that example was at the beginning of the article and apparently the justification for the headline:

A 1998 voting guide published by a leading neo-Confederate group and obtained by Salon not only endorses Perry for lieutenant governor but also describes him as “a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.” Perry’s office did not respond to a request for comment about the governor’s possible membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

It’s not clear how long Salon.com gave Perry’s office to respond before the article ran, but there was an update at the end of the article dated the day after the article ran, in which Perry’s office denied the allegations:

UPDATE 7/14/11: Perry spokeswoman Catherine Frazier issues this denial: “[T]he governor never joined that group nor has he ever paid any dues to it.”

At most, the article gives a handful of examples of guilt by distant association with people who endorsed him at some point in his career or included him in their publications, without any indication that Perry participated in their activities or endorsed their views.  None of the examples cited in the article come within a thousand miles of Barack Obama’s 20-year relationship with Jeremiah Wright.

Not surprisingly, Think Progress amplified Salon.com’s meme, Secessionist Group Endorsed Rick Perry in 1998, Citing Apparent Membership in Pro-Confederate Group.

This is the same type of guilt by distant association used against Rush Limbaugh, when it turned out Rush was a high school classmate of Pastor Terry Jones.

The race angle is key to Salon.com’s attack, because they are trying to smear Perry as racist without having to call him racist and without anything other than innuendo.

This is how they do it.  And if Perry gets in the presidential race, expect them to do more of it.