When there was some expression of dismay at the article, Ferguson shot back with Why My Comparing Obama to Felix the Cat Is Not Racist, an almost wholly irrational defence. But rational argument is obviously not the point for Ferguson: he seems to be aiming to (1) gain celebrity through shock-jock tactics, and (2) publicize as widely as possible the Obama/F-t-C comparison.
I grew up watching Felix the Cat every Saturday morning; this is an extremely disrespectful comparison, to say the least. And yes it is racist. Comparing an African American to a black animal is like saying a Chinese person is a yellow fish.
Paul Krugman thinks this was a mistake by Financial Times editorial staff. I disagree. This reeks of Republican strategy: I bet the goal is for Republicans to start playing the Felix the Cat theme song (the article quotes lyrics from the song and Ferguson refers to Obama as "Felix the Pres"). This could create a musical equivalent of the racist code words that southern Republicans have used for decades. The Republicans have apparently decided that instead of shying away from racism, they'll embrace it.
Ferguson is a right-wing libertarian nutter who wants to abolish income tax, social security and most social service spending. He is best known as a defender of colonialism. As a TV personality he has been able to popularize his extremist views in a series of picture books and media appearances. He is known as a contrarian. The only good side to this stunt is that people might wake up to what a sleazebag he is.
The insidious brilliance of the plan is that there's no real defence. Complaining about it only further publicizes the trick (I don't have enough readers to do any damage.) If Democrats fight back the Republicans will say that Obama is "polarizing". The only effective response might be, eventually, for both sides to drown out productive debate with insulting songs that can be reproduced as simple, catchy tunes. The Democrats could, for example, blast the Woody Woodpecker song at Republican candidates. That would be just another step away from substantive debate - a tactic that definitely favors the Republicans.