What? they actually believe this stuff?!

>> Thursday, October 9, 2008

As the McCain campaign becomes more desperate while watching their chances at victory diminish they have turned to virulent smears. Sarah Palin, Cindy McCain, John McCain, and their surrogates have been attacking Obama, saying that he is palling around with terrorists, does not see america like the rest of us, and wondering in a rhetorical way whether we know the real obama. The rallies are less political in nature than they are tribal, primitive anger fests. They have removed all the limits in an attempt to portray obama as a terrorist, muslim, whatever as long as it works to bring his numbers down. Actually even if it does not bring his numbers down it provides some type of cathartic release. These are festivals of hate against obama, democrats, liberals and the media. These rallies are also a symbol of the essence of what the gop has become an unrestrained angry mob dedicated to anti-intellectualism and anything that might relate. For example from first read,

As seen at recent McCain events, this afternoon's crowd was vocal in their support for McCain and their anger with Senator Obama. At one point one man could be heard yelling, "Off with his head," when McCain spoke about Obama's tax plan. That enthusiasm was even more present during Palin's remarks, and as other observers have reported in the past, today there was a sizeable number of people making their way towards the exit after McCain's running mate left the podium.

and josh marshal,

Seems like almost every day now there's a McCain-Palin rally where the campaign has the candidates introduced by someone who hits on "Barack Hussein Obama". Just happened again in Bethlehem, PA. After the fifth or sixth time you pretty much know on the orders of the campaign. It is obviously with tacit approval (to believe anything else is to be a dupe at this point); and quite probably on the campaign's specific instructions.

Given the regularity of the cries of "treason" and "terrorist" and the like, and the frequency with which the screamers seem in oddly convenient proximity to the mics, we should probably be considering the possibly that these folks are campaign plants. It happens all the time. It's just that usually they don't scream out accusations of capital crimes.

Late Update: A thought. At what point do they start burning Obama in effigy at the Palin rallies?

and the wapo

McCain had said that racially explosive attacks related to Obama's former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, are off limits. But Palin told New York Times columnist Bill Kristol in an interview published Monday: "I don't know why that association isn't discussed more."

Worse, Palin's routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media." At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."

All of this has had some interesting effects and none more profound than on the media. The media has this practice of going through the election like they have no effect on the events and discourse, as if it is all organic. this is especially true of the political media. They speak of analyzing the events as if they are fully outside the system. The view everything not like it is real but more like a giant game. people in the know understand that much of what goes on is just for show. it is all to win over the non political people, the rubes who dont watch their shows. The view the actions of the mccain campaign only in terms of what effect it has on polls. Elections are giant games.

Imagine their shock when they find out that all the things that the gop and the mccain campaign has been saying, stuff the media thought was just for show, is being internalized by the public. The stuff about obama being a terrorist is not real, it is just a tactic. No one should actually believe that and yet they do. Now this might still get ignored if it was not accompanied by the direct attacks on the media. The mccain campaign declared war on the media, returning them to the place of hatred in the minds of the standard goper. The standrad goper now believes all that they have been fed and the media is just appalled. So now people like david brooks come out with stuff like this,

[Sarah Palin] represents a fatal cancer to the Republican party. When I first started in journalism, I worked at the National Review for Bill Buckley. And Buckley famously said he'd rather be ruled by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than by the Harvard faculty. But he didn't think those were the only two options. He thought it was important to have people on the conservative side who celebrated ideas, who celebrated learning. And his whole life was based on that, and that was also true for a lot of the other conservatives in the Reagan era. Reagan had an immense faith in the power of ideas. But there has been a counter, more populist tradition, which is not only to scorn liberal ideas but to scorn ideas entirely. And I'm afraid that Sarah Palin has those prejudices. I think President Bush has those prejudices.

The thing is that Brooks and his ilk are responsible for this. In private they say one thing. They know she is a cancer. Yet, Palin the the perfect republican ideal. She is exactly what the gop has been building towards. Brooks has helped it along. Instead of standing up to the anti-intellectual tendencies he has so decried he has added and abetted it. For example his column after the vp debate,

On Thursday night, Palin took her inexperience and made a mansion out of it. From her first “Nice to meet you. May I call you Joe?” she made it abundantly, unstoppably and relentlessly clear that she was not of Washington, did not admire Washington and knew little about Washington. She ran not only against Washington, but the whole East Coast, just to be safe.

To many ears, her accent, her colloquialisms and her constant invocations of the accoutrements of everyday life will seem cloying. But in the casual parts of the country, I suspect, it went down fine. In any case, that’s who Palin is.

On matters of substance, her main accomplishment was to completely sever ties to the Bush administration. She treated Bush as some historical curiosity from the distant past. Beyond that, Palin broke no new ground, though she toured the landscape of McCain policy positions with surprising fluency. Like the last debate, this one was surprisingly wonky — a lifetime subscription to Congressional Quarterly. Palin could not match Biden when it came to policy detail, but she never obviously floundered.
Still, this debate was about Sarah Palin. She held up her end of an energetic debate that gave voters a direct look at two competing philosophies. She established debating parity with Joe Biden. And in a country that is furious with Washington, she presented herself as a radical alternative.

By the end of the debate, most Republicans were not crouching behind the couch, but standing on it. The race has not been transformed, but few could have expected as vibrant and tactically clever a performance as the one Sarah Palin turned in Thursday night.

remember that biden won the debate by 2-1 margins. Most people were totally unimpressed by palins winking and over the top folksy manner. People were put off by her "shout out". Palin provided no depth to her answers shifting to energy or whatever she felt like without respect for the moderator. If Brooks actually feels that palin and her intellectualism is a cancer on his party maybe he should write that instead of building up palin in the pages of the nyt?

when you treat everything like a game of risk where candidate actions represent no more than tactics and strategy removed from the real world of effect those nasty tactics and strategies become reality. Soon you get to the point where the efforts you took to discredit your opponents, stuff you never actually believed, has rebounded upon you. You find that you lose control over the mob because they do believe those things and cant imagine not acting on those beliefs. So it serves Brooks, his conservative intellectual cronies, and the media right. the game has run into reality and now every one has to pay the price for their folly. Here, see for yourself.

Update: Digby hits the same point in a slightly different way,

I think this is dangerous stuff and far beyond the pale. We saw what happened in Tennessee recently. It was the act of a mentally disturbed person, for sure. But it was also explicitly political --- he had been trained to blame liberals for his woes and so when he went out searching for someone to shoot, he knew who to target. He'd been reading books which claimed liberals are treasonous and unAmerican, written by people who are treated as being perfectly respectable on television and are welcomed into the highest circles of power. His act was his own responsibility, but those who turn normal political differences into bloodsport for personal profit contributed to the madness.

We are entering a turbulent period in our country. Validating a bogus accusation that your political rival is a terrorist in our current environment is the most irresponsible thing I've seen a campaign do in many a year. They know they are very likely going to lose this election. And McCain certainly knows that the main reason he is losing is because of the dramatic failures of fellow failed Republican George W. Bush. But even knowing that his candidacy was always very likely doomed is not stopping him from releasing this poison into the bloodstream of the body politic, a poison which will be with us for a long time to come. I guess that's what McCain means when he says that Americans should fight for a cause greater than themselves. That cause, evidently, is him.

The mentioning of what happened in Tennessee should accompany any post on this topic.


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