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Thread: Fire stoked by John McCain/Sarah Palin raging out of control

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Default Fire stoked by John McCain/Sarah Palin raging out of control

    IF you think way back to the start of this marathon campaign, back when it seemed preposterous that any black man could be a serious presidential contender, then you remember the biggest fear about Barack Obama: a crazy person might take a shot at him.


    Some voters told reporters that they didn’t want Obama to run, let alone win, should his very presence unleash the demons who have stalked America from Lincoln to King. After consultation with Congress, Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, gave Obama a Secret Service detail earlier than any presidential candidate in our history — in May 2007, some eight months before the first Democratic primaries.

    “I’ve got the best protection in the world, so stop worrying,” Obama reassured his supporters. Eventually the country got conditioned to his appearing in large arenas without incident (though I confess that the first loud burst of fireworks at the end of his convention stadium speech gave me a start). In America, nothing does succeed like success. The fear receded.

    Until now. At McCain-Palin rallies, the raucous and insistent cries of “Treason!” and “Terrorist!” and “Kill him!” and “Off with his head!” as well as the uninhibited slinging of racial epithets, are actually something new in a campaign that has seen almost every conceivable twist. They are alarms. Doing nothing is not an option.

    All’s fair in politics. John McCain and Sarah Palin have every right to bring up William Ayers, even if his connection to Obama is minor, even if Ayers’s Weather Underground history dates back to Obama’s childhood, even if establishment Republicans and Democrats alike have collaborated with the present-day Ayers in educational reform. But it’s not just the old Joe McCarthyesque guilt-by-association game, however spurious, that’s going on here. Don’t for an instant believe the many mindlessly “even-handed” journalists who keep saying that the McCain campaign’s use of Ayers is the moral or political equivalent of the Obama campaign’s hammering on Charles Keating.

    What makes them different, and what has pumped up the Weimar-like rage at McCain-Palin rallies, is the violent escalation in rhetoric, especially (though not exclusively) by Palin. Obama “launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist.” He is “palling around with terrorists” (note the plural noun). Obama is “not a man who sees America the way you and I see America.” Wielding a wildly out-of-context Obama quote, Palin slurs him as an enemy of American troops.

    By the time McCain asks the crowd “Who is the real Barack Obama?” it’s no surprise that someone cries out “Terrorist!” The rhetorical conflation of Obama with terrorism is complete. It is stoked further by the repeated invocation of Obama’s middle name by surrogates introducing McCain and Palin at these rallies. This sleight of hand at once synchronizes with the poisonous Obama-is-a-Muslim e-mail blasts and shifts the brand of terrorism from Ayers’s Vietnam-era variety to the radical Islamic threats of today.

    That’s a far cry from simply accusing Obama of being a guilty-by-association radical leftist. Obama is being branded as a potential killer and an accessory to past attempts at murder. “Barack Obama’s friend tried to kill my family” was how a McCain press release last week packaged the remembrance of a Weather Underground incident from 1970 — when Obama was 8.

    We all know what punishment fits the crime of murder, or even potential murder, if the security of post-9/11 America is at stake. We all know how self-appointed “patriotic” martyrs always justify taking the law into their own hands.

    Obama can hardly be held accountable for Ayers’s behavior 40 years ago, but at least McCain and Palin can try to take some responsibility for the behavior of their own supporters in 2008. What’s troubling here is not only the candidates’ loose inflammatory talk but also their refusal to step in promptly and strongly when someone responds to it with bloodthirsty threats in a crowded arena. Joe Biden had it exactly right when he expressed concern last week that “a leading American politician who might be vice president of the United States would not just stop midsentence and turn and condemn that.” To stay silent is to pour gas on the fires.

    It wasn’t always thus with McCain. In February he loudly disassociated himself from a speaker who brayed “Barack Hussein Obama” when introducing him at a rally in Ohio. Now McCain either backpedals with tardy, pro forma expressions of respect for his opponent or lets second-tier campaign underlings release boilerplate disavowals after ugly incidents like the chilling Jim Crow-era flashback last week when a Florida sheriff ranted about “Barack Hussein Obama” at a Palin rally while in full uniform.

    From the start, there have always been two separate but equal questions about race in this election. Is there still enough racism in America to prevent a black man from being elected president no matter what? And, will Republicans play the race card? The jury is out on the first question until Nov. 4. But we now have the unambiguous answer to the second: Yes.

    McCain, who is no racist, turned to this desperate strategy only as Obama started to pull ahead. The tone was set at the Republican convention, with Rudy Giuliani’s mocking dismissal of Obama as an “only in America” affirmative-action baby. We also learned then that the McCain campaign had recruited as a Palin handler none other than Tucker Eskew, the South Carolina consultant who had worked for George W. Bush in the notorious 2000 G.O.P. primary battle where the McCains and their adopted Bangladeshi daughter were slimed by vicious racist rumors.

    No less disconcerting was a still-unexplained passage of Palin’s convention speech: Her use of an unattributed quote praising small-town America (as opposed to, say, Chicago and its community organizers) from Westbrook Pegler, the mid-century Hearst columnist famous for his anti-Semitism, racism and violent rhetorical excess. After an assassin tried to kill F.D.R. at a Florida rally and murdered Chicago’s mayor instead in 1933, Pegler wrote that it was “regrettable that Giuseppe Zangara shot the wrong man.” In the ’60s, Pegler had a wish for Bobby Kennedy: “Some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow falls.”

    This is the writer who found his way into a speech by a potential vice president at a national political convention. It’s astonishing there’s been no demand for a public accounting from the McCain campaign. Imagine if Obama had quoted a Black Panther or Louis Farrakhan — or William Ayers — in Denver.

    The operatives who would have Palin quote Pegler have been at it ever since. A key indicator came two weeks after the convention, when the McCain campaign ran its first ad tying Obama to the mortgage giant Fannie Mae. Rather than make its case by using a legitimate link between Fannie and Obama (or other Democratic leaders), the McCain forces chose a former Fannie executive who had no real tie to Obama or his campaign but did have a black face that could dominate the ad’s visuals.

    There are no black faces high in the McCain hierarchy to object to these tactics. There hasn’t been a single black Republican governor, senator or House member in six years. This is a campaign where Palin can repeatedly declare that Alaska is “a microcosm of America” without anyone even wondering how that might be so for a state whose tiny black and Hispanic populations are each roughly one-third the national average. There are indeed so few people of color at McCain events that a black senior writer from The Tallahassee Democrat was mistakenly ejected by the Secret Service from a campaign rally in Panama City in August, even though he was standing with other reporters and showed his credentials. His only apparent infraction was to look glaringly out of place.

    Could the old racial politics still be determinative? I’ve long been skeptical of the incessant press prognostications (and liberal panic) that this election will be decided by racist white men in the Rust Belt. Now even the dimmest bloviators have figured out that Americans are riveted by the color green, not black — as in money, not energy. Voters are looking for a leader who might help rescue them, not a reckless gambler whose lurching responses to the economic meltdown (a campaign “suspension,” a mortgage-buyout stunt that changes daily) are as unhinged as his wanderings around the debate stage.

    To see how fast the tide is moving, just look at North Carolina. On July 4 this year — the day that the godfather of modern G.O.P. racial politics, Jesse Helms, died — The Charlotte Observer reported that strategists of both parties agreed Obama’s chances to win the state fell “between slim and none.” Today, as Charlotte reels from the implosion of Wachovia, the McCain-Obama race is a dead heat in North Carolina and Helms’s Republican successor in the Senate, Elizabeth Dole, is looking like a goner.

    But we’re not at Election Day yet, and if voters are to have their final say, both America and Obama have to get there safely. The McCain campaign has crossed the line between tough negative campaigning and inciting vigilantism, and each day the mob howls louder. The onus is on the man who says he puts his country first to call off the dogs, pit bulls and otherwise. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/12/op...=1&oref=slogin
    I am so saddened that McCain has stood by while this has transpired. He should do the gentlemanly thing, bow out, send his harpy back to Alaska and quietly go into the night. Only then could he regain some small measure of respect.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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    Elite Member HWBL's Avatar
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    I'm so concerned for Obama. I really, truly, hope for his sake AND for the planet's sake that no idiot racist gun toting hick will get his chance. That would not only throw the US on its ass permanently, but would be a serious threat to the continued existence of our planet.
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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    I think the danger to Obama will extend beyond Election Day. The potential was always there, but McCain and Palin have just made it worse. And if somebody does take a shot at him, or his family, McCain and Palin are going to catch hell.

    And everytime I see Obama giving a speech at a rally, I always hope he has a bulletproof vest on.

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Again, I was very cautious of this very scenario, and knew all along from the start that towards the time of election race DOES matter in many, many ways. This is just one of them. I am also a bit scared, and pray for him and his family everyday.

    I know in my heart that anyone that even tries to harm him will face very serious repercussions.

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    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
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    I can honestly say that the blind optimistic, naive girl in me never let the thought of Obama being hurt cross my mind, nor did I think this campaign would become this racial. Now, I am scared for him and his family. I would be very upset if something happens to them. I do pray every night that they are kept from hurt and harm.
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    Elite Member ConstanceSpry's Avatar
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    I think they should make him drive around in something like the Popemobile, with bulletproof glass. And I am NOT kidding!

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    Really this is so true. Palin and McCain should be ashamed of themselves. They basically galvanized the neo nazis by giving them a legitimate platform. I was thinking about that video clip of that monkey toting racist at the rally. The way he tried to pawn it off on the child because the camera was on him. You can tell he knew it was wrong. If he didn't think it was wrong you'd see him waving it no problem. That was an older white man. He knows. But younger people have now big given legitimacy by Palin and McCain and if Obama is assassinated then its clear that the blood is on their hands.

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    Gold Member ymeman's Avatar
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    It is kind of ironic that this strategy was only effective if it stayed under the table, in church literature and spam e-mails. I think having Palin give voice to this stuff was a big mistake, and it kind of makes me wonder if she did this on her own or if she's playing by the script.

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    What makes them different, and what has pumped up the Weimar-like rage at McCain-Palin rallies
    People, this ain't just about Obama anymore. These extremist fuckers are going to go on a Krystallnacht rampage if Obama wins and we are ALL in danger. There are millions of gun-weilding crazies in this country and they are being deliberately whipped into a frothing rage. There is no way they will tolerate the "sub human" Obama being in the White House and they will take it out on the nearest liberal, leftist, Democrat, or "suspicious person". Mark my words.



    The Polarization and Perversion of American Politics
    Obama the Subhuman

    By ANTHONY DiMAGGIO

    John McCain's condescending reference to Barack Obama in the second debate as "that one" represents more than just a minor gaffe, or an insensitivity on the part of the Republican candidate. The comment, originally made in reference to Obama's voting record in the Senate, is actually representative of a larger, disturbing trend in Republican politics today. The party has grown increasingly more conservative in recent decades, to the point today where its authoritarian undertones are barely concealed. McCain's dehumanization of Obama in the debates is the most poignant, although far from the only example of this trend. Apparently, John McCain sees the Democratic presidential candidate as not worth addressing by name. While McCain downgraded Obama's status to the subhuman "other" in the second debate, he refused to even acknowledge Obama's presence in their first meeting. This should strike viewers as quite disturbing, considering that the whole point of a debate is for each candidate to directly engage the other's issues and stances.

    Increasingly, right-wing conservatives and Republican political leaders are issuing dire warnings to the American public that they – and only they – are the legitimate rulers of the United States and the world. This basic contempt for anything but one-party rule is manifested in a number of dire threats repeated by the party, with its members promising the end of Western civilization as we know it if they lose their dominant status in government. A review of Conservative and Republican contempt for bi-partisan politics is in order:

    - On the culture war front, Republicans and conservatives have been unrelenting in their religious fanaticism and racism. Residents of West Virginia and Arkansas have received mailings directly from the Republican National Committee warning that liberals will ban the bible if they have the opportunity. On the national level, Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Pallin warns of Barack Obama's alleged support for domestic terrorism (citing his ties with former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers, whom Obama repeatedly condemned for his violent activities). Fox News has run claims that Obama was educated in a radical Islamist school in Indonesia, despite the fact that the story was extensively debunked by CNN. The Republican Party and conservatives even go on the offensive against Barack Obama's allegedly fundamentalist name. They repeat the full name over and over, shamelessly and with a sort of racist pride. Presumably, simply being named Barack Hussein Obama is enough to prove you’re a terrorist, Muslim, fanatic, or all of the above (little distinction is made between these, sadly).

    - Right-wing pundits, echoed by major conservative political leaders, have warned that a victory for Barack Obama will be a victory for Islam, radical terrorism, and anti-Americanism. Right-wing radio pundits such as Michael Medved warn that a vote for the Democratic Party is essentially a vote for Osama bin Laden. McCain and others repeat the claim that withdrawal from Iraq is tantamount to surrender to Al Qaeda. As the logic (or illogic) of this argument goes, since Democrats favor de-escalation in Iraq, and since Republicans are fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq, Democrats must be anti-American and in favor of terrorism since they oppose this necessary war. Obviously, such claims suffer from a basic lack of evidence, considering that Al Qaeda-affiliated groups were not operating in Iraq until after Bush invaded Iraq, and since reports have actually shown that the U.S. torture and illegal detainment of Muslims at Guantanamo has actually contributed to their radicalization and their support for Islamist terrorism, rather than preventing such a threat. Studies throughout the Middle East also find that the occupation is radicalizing the region's people against the United States. The American occupation is seen as the primary source of destruction in Iraq, rather than the "insurgency" or Al Qaeda (which is only a miniscule part of the resistance to the U.S.).

    - Conservative legal officials have essentially declared war on the Democratic Party, not for violating the law, but due to their own ideological prejudices. Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was recently exposed for allowing politically motivated prosecutions against prominent Democratic political officials. One statistical study from the University of Missouri showed that the Justice Department had systematically engaged in "political profiling" against Democrats, including figures such as Alabaman Governor Don Siegelman. Federal prosecutors had essentially dropped the case against Siegelman in 2004 (due to a lack of evidence against him), when they were instructed by the Justice Department to proceed with bribery and fraud charges regardless. As one Justice Department attorney said to one of the lawyers representing a Democrat who had been charged: "I know your client thinks he's innocent. He's offered to take a lie detector test. I'm not interested in that. In fact, I'm sure he'd pass the test. And in fact I don't have the evidence to make out my case. No matter. I just plan to throw shit at the wall and sit back and watch as some of it drops on him. We'll get him."

    None of these right-wing hit jobs or smear tactics should strike voters as merely "more of the same" negative politicking in an election season. On major issues, Barack Obama has bent over backwards in his emphasis on the importance of bi-partisanship, cooperation between Democrats and Republicans, and the need for an end to negative campaigning. Obama and Biden, while making many critical statements of John McCain and Sarah Palin, have generally remained respectful and even tried to draw some comparisons between themselves and their Republican competitors. They've spoken of their deep respect and affinity for John McCain as a military man, and even voiced their support for the Republican's "surge" as succeeding in decreasing violence in Iraq.

    The Democrats' attempt to appeal across party lines has clearly not been the preferred tactic of the Republican Party. Angry over their likely loss of power in the upcoming election, they have become increasingly desperate in their attacks on the Democrats and the legitimacy of the two party state. This is particularly disturbing at a time when it is becoming harder and harder to discern concrete or substantive differences in the economic policies of the two parties. In reality, Obama and Biden's vague references to "regulation" don't amount to a whole lot when they fail to follow them up with actual policy proposals. That these Democrats are demonized by Republicans as sub-human, dangerous, or terrorist is more a sign of the growing extremism of conservatives than of the moral weakness or treachery of the Democrats. The Democratic Party today may be morally bankrupt, spineless, and bland, but none of those are anywhere near as dangerous as the Republican Party's fundamentalist contempt for multi-party elections and bi-partisan politics.

    Anthony DiMaggio teaches Politics of the Developing World and American Government at Illinois State University. His book, Mass Media, Mass Propaganda: Examining American News in the "War on Terror" will be released in paperback this December. He may be reached at: adimagg@ilstu.edu

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    Elite Member ana-mish-ana's Avatar
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    ^^ You know it will be pretty ironic that these Christians fundies will get even more riled and move on from bombing abortion clinics and hitting other targets as well. Timothy McVeigh was the precursor to all this but I can see Al Qaeda type Christian extremist organisation out of this.

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    Honestly this is my take. I do not think its going to be a raging out of control situation. I don't think it would have been but for Palin and McCain. As much as the president matters to the country he is not really that important in the day to day lives of average people. Racists have long had to come to terms with black people gaining positions of authority in this country. They have had two years to understand that there is a good likelihood that there will be a black president. So until McCain and Palin tried to justify the racism by making about Obama being a secretly groomed Muslim, there wasn't really a problem. The problem now is that the powers that be have let it be known that they too have an issue with a man who "doesn't look at America the way the rest of us do" being president. And they've tried to reverse the thrust but its really too late now. You're going to have some redneck hillbilly that's going to do some sort of stupid thing because now they feel they are doing it for a cause and they will imagine thousands of McCain fans screaming in the background. If I was Michelle Obama all bets would be off, I'd be on the stage at Palin's next rally beating the crap out of her big time. What kind of human being works up a crowd into violence against a fellow candidate. It is unheard of, unheard of.

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    Think about it. Couple Obama winning the White House with the economy possibly sliding into desperate circumstaces and we've got a recipe for disaster.

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    Elite Member january's Avatar
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    This makes me so angry and yet so sad at the same time. What an America. I do believe if it wasn't for Palin stoking the fire and frothing off at the mouth McCain would have kept this an honorable election. Now, the gloves are off and its more than nasty - the assholes with their racist rhetoric are starting to turn more and more violent. And its not being condemned by the Republican party! Thats beyond scary. If I was a Republican and not an Independent I would be so disenchanted and pissed off that I would leave the party. I hope many of them do.
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    Gold Member ymeman's Avatar
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    People, this ain't just about Obama anymore. These extremist fuckers are going to go on a Krystallnacht rampage if Obama wins and we are ALL in danger. There are millions of gun-weilding crazies in this country and they are being deliberately whipped into a frothing rage. There is no way they will tolerate the "sub human" Obama being in the White House and they will take it out on the nearest liberal, leftist, Democrat, or "suspicious person". Mark my words.


    great post, that is food for thought. wow. I haven't even thought that far ahead, but the sense of entitlement these guys have is unreal, they must have a white guy pres. or they are not represented...but those of us that don't fall into that category are 'sposed to just sit back and trust them to represent us. Maybe that is why they are deploying that unit back here in the fall...technically the govt' agencies are supposed to be able to predict domestic and intl' threats and you know they are picking up all kinds of chatter from militia groups in the mid-west/Wyoming/Montana, etc.

    It could all be part of a grander shift within the GOP party, because despise them as I do I will never deny they are excellent strategists if nothing else. They have to know what is happening demographically in this country and they know that caucasions aren't going to be the majority for long...so they are gonna have the dems elect the first minority pres and then from there on out they will have to be whoring themselves out to minorities if they are to even continue to exist as a party.

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    Elite Member Shinola's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ymeman View Post
    People, this ain't just about Obama anymore. These extremist fuckers are going to go on a Krystallnacht rampage if Obama wins and we are ALL in danger. There are millions of gun-weilding crazies in this country and they are being deliberately whipped into a frothing rage. There is no way they will tolerate the "sub human" Obama being in the White House and they will take it out on the nearest liberal, leftist, Democrat, or "suspicious person". Mark my words.


    great post, that is food for thought. wow. I haven't even thought that far ahead, but the sense of entitlement these guys have is unreal, they must have a white guy pres. or they are not represented...but those of us that don't fall into that category are 'sposed to just sit back and trust them to represent us. Maybe that is why they are deploying that unit back here in the fall...technically the govt' agencies are supposed to be able to predict domestic and intl' threats and you know they are picking up all kinds of chatter from militia groups in the mid-west/Wyoming/Montana, etc.

    It could all be part of a grander shift within the GOP party, because despise them as I do I will never deny they are excellent strategists if nothing else. They have to know what is happening demographically in this country and they know that caucasions aren't going to be the majority for long...so they are gonna have the dems elect the first minority pres and then from there on out they will have to be whoring themselves out to minorities if they are to even continue to exist as a party.
    I totally think it's worth imagining that this could happen. I think that comparisons to the Nazi Party's rise (their distortion of religion and science, the sheep-like following they gathered, the fear they instilled, the wars they made, their bid for unchecked power) are important to make.

    We'll see. Personally, I think most of the fundies I know are too cowardly for the kind of behavior you've described. I also think that violence from that front--from people who call for the right to life and being good Christians--would be another nail in their cultural coffin.

    I agree that the militia prep may be for the kind of right-wing unrest we're seeing. I'm beginning to think the military preparation is a smart move. Things are getting a little scary.
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