Sarah Palin rallies the KKK
October 6, 2008 16 Comments
update: via Newsweek on November 5, 2008:
The Obama campaign was provided with reports from the Secret Service showing a sharp and disturbing increase in threats to Obama in September and early October, at the same time that many crowds at Palin rallies became more frenzied.
You don’t need a Weatherman to know which way the wind blows:
“Now it turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers,” Palin said.
“Boooo!” said the crowd.
“And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, ‘launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,’” she continued.
“Boooo!” the crowd repeated.
“Kill him!” proposed one man in the audience.
So who is this nefarious Bill Ayers? According to Palin, he is a terrorist:
“Our opponent … is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country,” Palin told a group of donors in Englewood, Colo.
A deliberate attempt to smear Obama, McCain’s ticket-mate echoed the line at three separate events Saturday.
“This is not a man who sees America like you and I see America,” she said. “We see America as a force of good in this world. We see an America of exceptionalism.”
Her reference to Obama’s relationship with William Ayers, a member of the Vietnam-era Weather Underground, was exaggerated at best if not outright false. No evidence shows they were “pals” or even close when they worked on community boards years ago and Ayers hosted a political event for Obama early in his career.
Obama, who was a child when the Weathermen were planting bombs, has denounced Ayers’ radical views and actions.
Ms. Palin has several times cited a New York Times article published Saturday in raising Mr. Obama’s association with Mr. Ayers, but she has sidestepped its conclusion that the two men did not appear to be close and that Mr. Obama had never expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers.
Ayers, 63, spent 10 years as a fugitive in the 1970s when he was part of the “Weather Underground,” an anti-Vietnam War group that protested U.S. policies by bombing the Pentagon, U.S. Capitol and a string of other government buildings.
Nobody was hurt in the attacks by the defunct organization, which the FBI labeled a “domestic terrorist group.”
Today, Ayers and his wife — fellow former Weather Underground fugitive Bernardine Dohrn — live in Hyde Park, where they moved after surrendering in 1980. Federal charges against the two were dropped because of improper surveillance, so they avoided prison.
Ayers and Dohrn have raised two sons of their own and adopted a third boy whose parents were Weather Underground members who went to prison. They’ve built stellar reputations as professors: Dohrn at Northwestern’s law school, Ayers as an education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Along the way, they met a rising political star named Barack Obama, who lived in their neighborhood.
It seems important to point out that the Weather Underground did not try to kill people:
The act was designed as a symbol, and as intended, neither killed nor even hurt a single person.
I do not applaud their violent tactics in the slightest. However, the actual nature of the Weather Underground attacks seems relevant, particularly since it has been mentioned by the Associated Press that Palin’s “pallin’ around” line seems to have a certain subtext…
… Palin’s words avoid repulsing voters with overt racism. But is there another subtext for creating the false image of a black presidential nominee “palling around” with terrorists while assuring a predominantly white audience that he doesn’t see their America?
In a post-Sept. 11 America, terrorists are envisioned as dark-skinned radical Muslims, not the homegrown anarchists of Ayers’ day 40 years ago. With Obama a relative unknown when he began his campaign, the Internet hummed with false e-mails about ties to radical Islam of a foreign-born candidate.
Whether intended or not by the McCain campaign, portraying Obama as “not like us” is another potential appeal to racism. It suggests that the Hawaiian-born Christian is, at heart, un-American.
update: via the Huffington Post on October 8, 2008:
For the second time in three days, the speaker at a McCain campaign rally used Barack Obama’s middle name “Hussein” in a demeaning fashion to ignite the crowd.
… McCain has distanced itself from the deliberate and malicious use of Obama’s middle name in the past. When a conservative radio talk show host first discussed Barack “Hussein” Obama in February, the campaign said it was inappropriate and not reflective of the race they are seeking to run.
But it is hard not to notice how rabid the crowds have recently become at McCain events and how demonstrative they have been in their disdain for Obama. In addition to introductory speakers raising the Senator’s middle name in the form of an insult, audience members have screamed out, during recent events, “terrorist,” “treason,” and “kill him,” when the Illinois Democrat’s name has been discussed.
update: via the Washington Post on October 10, 2008:
WAUKESHA, Wis., Oct. 9 — There were shouts of “Nobama” and “Socialist” at the mention of the Democratic presidential nominee. There were boos, middle fingers turned up and thumbs turned down as a media caravan moved through the crowd Thursday for a midday town hall gathering featuring John McCain and Sarah Palin.
… The crowds that show up for his rallies these days appear to have little appetite for the talk of bipartisan compromise that had been at the heart of his message around the Republican National Convention. During a rally outside a small airport in Mosinee, Wis., on Thursday, McCain said that “it’s time we come together, Democrats and Republicans to work together. That’s my record. I’ll reach across the aisle.”
The crowd stood silent.
cross-posted: On October 10, 2008, McCain gets booed when he tries to calm a crowd:
update: On October 13, 2008, CBS debunks McCain’s latest Ayers ad:
A recent web advertisement from Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain makes two false claims about a connection between Bill Ayers and Senator Barack Obama.
1. “Ayers and Obama ran a radical education foundation, together.”
The foundation they are referring to is the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), set up in the early 1990’s with funding from the Annenberg Foundation to reform public schools. Walter Annenberg is a well-known philanthropist and conservative Republican.
… Obama chaired the board of the CAC but he did not serve on the board with Ayers. Ayers served on a separate advisory board.
2. “They wrote the foundation’s bylaws together.”
“They didn’t sit over a coffee table somewhere and say ‘let’s do it this way,’ they were involved with a large group of people,” Rolling says, “They did not actually write them.”
Rolling says Ayers served on a voluntary advisory board that hired a lawyer to write the bylaws that were eventually approved by the entire board of directors – one of the votes for the bylaws came from Obama.
update: via TPM on October 14, 2008:
At today’s Palin rally in Pennsylvania a supporter yelled “Kill him!” when … a speaker mentioned Barack Obama. Yesterday, at a joint McCain-Palin rally in Virginia, another supporter was moved to shout “Obama bin Laden” as Palin spoke.