American racism: Not dead yet
October 12, 2008 4 Comments
update: Frank Rich writes for the New York Times on October 11, 2008:
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.
On October 10, 2008, TPM takes a look at recent news coverage related to the tenor of recent McCain/Palin rallies:
The news orgs are beginning to weigh in with big takes on what is unquestionably one of the most important stories of Campaign 2008: The pathologically-unhinged tone that McCain-Palin supporters are displaying at rallies of late.
Salon has a related story on October 11, 2008:
It’s no accident McCain stood up after several honorable Republicans and former McCain supporters began to speak out about his campaign’s hate-mongering. On Friday Michigan’s former GOP governor William Milliken started backing away from the guy he endorsed.
“He is not the McCain I endorsed,” Milliken told a local paper. “He keeps saying, ‘Who is Barack Obama?’ I would ask the question, ‘Who is John McCain?’ because his campaign has become rather disappointing to me.
“I’m disappointed in the tenor and the personal attacks on the part of the McCain campaign, when he ought to be talking about the issues.”
Frank A. Schaeffer, a McCain friend and former supporter (McCain blurbed his book on military service), has denounced the McCain campaign in a Baltimore Sun Op-Ed he cross-posted on Open Salon.
“Stop! Think! Your rallies are beginning to look, sound, feel and smell like lynch mobs,” Schaeffer warned. Strong words, but he’s right. Even former McCain staffers like Mike Murphy and John Weaver are criticizing the tenor of the campaign.
As David Gergen said on CNN Thursday night: “There is this free floating sort of whipping around anger that could really lead to some violence. I think we’re not far from that.”
McCain has lashed out at civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis for making a similar statement, and CNN reports on October 12, 2008 that Rep. Lewis has clarified his earlier statement:
Georgia Rep. John Lewis said Saturday that controversial remarks he made comparing the feeling at recent Republican rallies to those of segregationist George Wallace were misinterpreted.
The civil rights icon issued a statement Saturday evening which said a “careful review” of his remarks made earlier in the day “would reveal that I did not compare Sen. John McCain or Gov. Sarah Palin to George Wallace.”
McCain said Lewis’ earlier statement was “a brazen and baseless attack” and called on Sen. Barack Obama to repudiate it.
On October 10, 2008, McCain gets booed when he tries to calm a crowd:
update: The Guardian reports on October 13, 2008:
In a further sign that McCain has begun to rein in the attacks, at a recent town-hall event he responded to a man claiming he was scared of an Obama presidency by taking the microphone away and telling him that Obama was “a decent person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States”.
The remark was met with booing from the crowd, but later elicited a grateful response from Obama, who thanked his opponent for his “reminder that we can disagree while still being respectful of each other”.
cross posted: 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.