Friday, October 10, 2008

more on lower instincts

From Andrew Sullivan, via CowboyAngel:

The Dangerous Panic On The Far Right

There was always going to be a point of revolt and panic for a core group of Americans who believe that Obama simply cannot be president - because he's black or liberal or young or relatively new. This is that point. As the polls suggest a strong victory, the Hannity-Limbaugh-Steyn-O'Reilly base are going into shock and extreme rage. McCain and Palin have decided to stoke this rage, to foment it, to encourage paranoid notions that somehow Obama is a "secret" terrorist or Islamist or foreigner. These are base emotions in both sense of the word.

But they are also very very dangerous. This is a moment of maximal physical danger for the young Democratic nominee. And McCain is playing with fire. If he really wants to put country first, he will attack Obama on his policies - not on these inflammatory, personal, creepy grounds. This is getting close to the atmosphere stoked by the Israeli far right before the assassination of Rabin.

For God's sake, McCain, stop it. For once in this campaign, put your country first.

From TPM:

Frank Schaeffer, writing in the Baltimore Sun ...

John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as "not one of us," I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence.

At a Sarah Palin rally, someone called out, "Kill him!" At one of your rallies, someone called out, "Terrorist!" Neither was answered or denounced by you or your running mate, as the crowd laughed and cheered. At your campaign event Wednesday in Bethlehem, Pa., the crowd was seething with hatred for the Democratic nominee - an attitude encouraged in speeches there by you, your running mate, your wife and the local Republican chairman.


John McCain: In 2000, as a lifelong Republican, I worked to get you elected instead of George W. Bush. In return, you wrote an endorsement of one of my books about military service. You seemed to be a man who put principle ahead of mere political gain.

You have changed. You have a choice: Go down in history as a decent senator and an honorable military man with many successes, or go down in history as the latest abettor of right-wing extremist hate.


cowboyangel said...

Here's another one from The Dallas Morning News, that includes David Gergen's comments the other night on CNN. McCain and Palin's lynch-mob tactics.

It's increasingly worrying that John McCain and Sarah Palin are embracing the acceptability of campaign tactics that play to the most racist and intolerant tendencies among their supporters. John McCain knows that Barack Obama has no links whatsoever to terrorism, and yet he's doing everything he can to create that linkage. And he's unleashing Sarah Palin to do his dirty work while McCain claims to be above this condemnable form of negative campaigning.

This is unconscionable, and it shows how desperate John McCain has become. He promised repeatedly that he wouldn't campaign this way. And he said that when politicians campaign that way, it shows how little vision they have of the future. But most dangerous in this form of campaigning is that he and Sarah Palin are standing by, with smiles on their faces, while their supporters yell things like, "Kill him!" in reference to Obama. They have done nothing to calm down this lynch-mob mentality. Instead, they are doing everything they can to promote it. John McCain must make a full-court, public push to stop this "kill him" mentality now.

I'm not the only one who's worried. David Gergen told CNN's Anderson Cooper earlier this week: "The issue has been what's been going on at Sarah Palin's rallies. That's where the real trouble is because it''s the combination of her rhetoric -- which is whipping up these crowds -- and these ugly scenes that have occurred at these rallies. When Obama's name came up, has been used it not only brought these boos but, you know we have reports now of somebody yelling out "terrorist!" about Obama. At another rally, someone yelling out "kill him, kill him". And at another rally have people shouting racial epithets.

COOPER: You can't control though what people say in a crowd, can you, David?

GERGEN: Yes. You can, and it's...Yes. It's up, it's up to the, Sarah Palin, at her rally and for John McCain to tell her if she doesn't start doing this to stop right there and take issue with what's been said and say this has no place in our campaign and we do not condone this and please let's show more respect. I think it's up to her."

Jeff said...

I've essentially lost any respect for John McCain that I once had. Look at him at this rally. Someone shouts "Terrorist!" and you can see McCain visibly flinch and frown, but he says nothing. Nothing. He knows it's all wrong. Shame on him. Whoever thought his ambition had no bounds? So much for his old straight talk about "agents of intolerance." Now he'll stoop to anything in order to win.

These latest tactics by the McCain campaign are despicable. The world's whole financial system is unravelling and all these people can do is to bring up the most tenous of links to an aging 60's radical. I suppose they figure they've got nothing else left. If something does happen to Obama, they'll have a lot to answer for. Check out the knee-jerk reactions to conservative talk-radio and Palin's speeches in the McCain crowds below. Its chilling.

See here and here.

Liam said...

Yeah, it's not even a question of appealing to conservatives now -- it's appealing to the extreme right. What is he thinking? These people won't deliver the election to him.

McCain is pathetic. Palin is genuinely scary. She moves in this mudhole with the ease of a true believer.

Garpu said...

Why do I get the sinking feeling that things are going to get much, much worse before they get better?

Liam said...

They are getting worse. The McCain campaign is saying that Obama's complaints about the tone of the rallies is him not respecting ordinary Americans, and they're also trying to tie Michelle Obama to Ayers' wife.

They are absolute scum.

crystal said...

Ugh - I can't even read about this stuff anymore. McCain seems to have sacrificed all his ethics to win, and Palin seems even more venal than him.

Jeff said...

Well, McCain must have gotten the message from somebody, because now he's trying to tone these crowds down, including some lady who was saying she didn't trust Obama because he was "an Arab." Should have though of all that before he went down this road. He looks like he's wondering just how the hell he got here and why these people are drawn to him.

cowboyangel said...

Thanks, Jeff, for posting all the videos. I was going to add that last one. It's incredible - McCain getting booed at his own rally because he makes the simple statement that Obama is a decent person. If you listen closely, you can hear someone scream in disbelief, "WHAT?!?!"

I'd be confused too if my candidate was putting out TV ads called "Dangerous," and claiming the opponent was consorting with terrorists, and basically inciting all the extremists in his party, only to have him turn around and try to tell them they should be respectful. Which is it McCain?

Calling him erratic doesn't even begin to cover it. The guy's campaign, like his party, is imploding before our eyes. The right-wing extremists have led them to the edge of the abyss.

As La Reina said last night after seeing this video, "The Republican Party looks like a fringe party now."

Liam said...

yes -- and the sad thing is that McCain trying to rein it in isn't an example of him finally showing some honor, but yet another cynical campaign move. It won't work.