Buttoned Up: Betcha George Wallace would really be into whipping in a debate

Not the comedian of the same name -- and not very funny, either.

Editor's note: To get you in the mood for ballot-casting, The Latest Word is kicking off each weekday between now and the November 4 election with Buttoned Up, a look at political buttons from my family's extensive collection...

Republican running mates John McCain and Sarah Palin have been accused in some quarters of subtly injecting race into the presidential contest -- no surprise, given that McCain recently said he was going to "whip" his African-American opponent's "you-know-what" in tonight's debate. I gather it's been a while since he saw the mini-series Roots. Then again, there wouldn't be any need to read between the lines if George Wallace, the late Alabama governor and politically effective race baiter who launched White House bids in 1968 and 1972, was standing in McCain's shoes. As you watch tonight, be grateful the WayBac Machine has yet to be perfected. -- Michael Roberts