Friday, October 10, 2008

The angry right

Jonathon Martin at Politico has a good wrap up of the increasing rage on display from the GOP base. Here's the key take-away, 

John Weaver, McCain’s former top strategist, said top Republicans have a responsibility to temper this behavior.

“People need to understand, for moral reasons and the protection of our civil society, the differences with Sen. Obama are ideological, based on clear differences on policy and a lack of experience compared to Sen. McCain,” Weaver said. “And from a purely practical political vantage point, please find me a swing voter, an undecided independent, or a torn female voter that finds an angry mob mentality attractive.”

There is now broad recognition across the ideological spectrum that the McCain campaign is stoking emotions in their base that could easily manifest themselves in dangerous ways. 

Some McCain campaign officials are becoming concerned about the hostility that attacks against Sen. Obama are whipping up among Republican supporters. During an internal conference call Thursday, campaign officials discussed how the tenor of the crowds has turned on the media and on Sen. Obama.

Someone yelled "Off with his head" at a rally Wednesday for Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin in Pennsylvania. Later that day in Ohio, a man stood outside a rally holding a sign that said "Obama, Osama." At a rally in Jacksonville, Fla., on Tuesday, someone in the crowd wore a T-shirt depicting Sen. Obama wearing a devil mask.

We are seeing the ID of the conservative base and it is truly frightening. Lets not forget, prior to 9/11 the worst terrorist attacks on American soil were carried out by the far-right. Timothy McVeigh, Eric Rudolph. The murderers of abortion doctors. The shootings in Tennesse this summer

With the economic uncertainty growing tensions can easily rise to a dangerous level. This is as uneasy a time as I've ever lived through. We're a long way off from the violence of the 1960's but I'd rather not even begin to go down that road. Andrew Sullivan invokes the memory of Rabin

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.

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