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October 10, 2008

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Good for him.

I saw that earlier, and I do give him credit. As you watch him, you know and can see it wasn't the easiest thing for him to do. The test will be if there is a change in his rallies and Palin's and if some of the ads, such as the "Dangerous" ad, stop running.

My guess is he was informed that the character assassination was not working and , in fact, making things worse for him.

There is one other thing I would like to see him say. "If you are voting for me because my opponent is African-American, I don't want your vote and would prefer you stay home."

I don't expect that to happen but it might help him regain some respect.

There is one other thing I would like to see him say. "If you are voting for me because my opponent is African-American, I don't want your vote and would prefer you stay home."

Dunno why he wouldn't say that. It'd pick up independents and his base purportedly wouldn't reject it...unless they ARE the outright racists....

It's nice to see that McCain has the honor and integrity to scale things back a bit once they became a pretty big story and potentially damaging to him politically.

So in the same day he's doing this his organized conference calls to try to make ridiculously thin connections between Ayers and Michelle, and released this statement in response to Obama saying "Nothing's easier than riling up a crowd by stoking anger and division. But that's not what we need right now in the United States.":
"Barack Obama's assault on our supporters is insulting and unsurprising. These are the same people obama called 'bitter' and attacked for 'clinging to guns' and faith. He fails to understand that people are angry at corrupt practices in Washington and Wall Street and he fails to understand that America's working families are not 'clinging' to anything other than the sincere hope that Washington will be reformed from top to bottom."

"Attacking our supporters is a new low for the campaign that's run more millions of dollars of negative ads than any other in history."

McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers adds in another statement: “Barack Obama’s attacks on Americans who support John McCain reveal far more about him than they do about John McCain. It is clear that Barack Obama just doesn’t understand regular people and the issues they care about. He dismisses hardworking middle class Americans as clinging to guns and religion, while at the same time attacking average Americans at McCain rallies who are angry at Washington, Wall Street and the status quo."

re: bwaage's juxtaposition above

Either the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing, or McCain is more cynical than I thought humanly possible.

"Good for him?"

Get serious.

McCain needs to do way more than this. It's not like all the garbage got started without his OK. He hired the sleazeballs, and he doesn't get a pass until he acknowledges that his campaign has taken a slimy turn and that he has personal responsibility for it, and he apologizes, to Obama and the country.

Until then, let's not fall all over ourselves congratulating him. Don't hold your breath waiting for all that.

Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.

We started discussing this, with links, some hours ago, in the open thread.

Either the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing, or McCain is more cynical than I thought humanly possible.

Both are true, probably, although this cynicism is throughly 'humanly-possible'.

Let's face it though, pub, however hard it is to do something like this during a campaign, I don't see why McCain should get any bonus points for doing it, for doing what any decent politician - or person - would do. It muddies the moral waters a bit that he stoked this kind of thing before, but now says 'we must show respect'. My hat's not off to him.

NOOO! She doesn't say terrorist, just Arab! His reassurance is horrifying! This should be the end of his career! The woman says "He's an Arab" and a candidate for president replies "No, no ma'am, he's a decent family man with whom I happen to have some disagreements." It's appalling that the lack of distinction has become so trivial, but it's unforgivable that McCain wouldn't make the distinction!

Like Bernard I don't really feel like saying "good for him". He shouldn't have started with the hate-mongering in the first place, especially when you consider the likelihood of assassination attempts on Obama.

Not only that, I suspect that move is just opportunistic. Either he realizes the attacks aren't doing him any good and thinks that going the other way will work better, or he realizes the election is pretty much lost and he's beginning to resalvage his brand like after the 2000 election.

I do feel a bit sorry for him though, being forced to backtrack like that. You can just see his wingnut base going apoplectic over this "surrender", while it's not clear that his moderate base will flock back to him.

On the other hand, who knows. Maybe the people who told him they were scared of Obama have been reassured by his answers and feel better about the world now. That would be a good thing.

Caravelle ,

It is opportunistic, but not only for himself. Cole is running a close Senate race against AL Franken in MN. It shouldn't be a close race.
Cole turned down the negative campaigning a lot when it cost him ground in the polls a couple weeks ago, and Republicans like him are shouting at McCain to try not to cut off his coattails.

Andrew : It is opportunistic, but not only for himself. Cole is running a close Senate race against AL Franken in MN. It shouldn't be a close race.

Good point, I hadn't thought of that.

It's hard to say what's happening here. It could be that they saw the polls were killing them on this. It could be that having the Secret Service talk to his campaign about threatening the life of a presidential candidate was a wake up call for McCain. It could be that seeing his campaign turn into a smear fest and getting tipped off that by a vote of 14-0 the Alaska legis comm said Sarah violated Alaska law make him realize that he need to take control of his campaign back from the mobsters.

It could be any number of things, but just based on his body language and tone I think he understands that it's going to cost him votes among the base but that it's the right thing to do.

Dosen't mean I'm going to vote for the guy.

pepsicoke555: I noticed that too, but it's an awkward thing to respond to. Saying "he's not Arab" seems to have the same problems of "not that there's anything wrong with that," and saying "no, he's black" or something would also feel weird. He could of course have explicitly attacked racism, but that's takes a certain amount of balls in front of an audience like that.

But really, I had to laugh as I looked at that because in the other ones he's just addressing vague paranoia, but when she said "He's an Arab" he just sort of stared at her for a second before saying his response. I could feel his discomfort radiating through the screen.

Cole turned down the negative campaigning a lot when it cost him ground in the polls a couple weeks ago, and Republicans like him are shouting at McCain to try not to cut off his coattails.

You mean Norm Coleman? (beat you to it, Gary). Norm is going to lose because one of his corpro-pimps not only pays his DC bills, but actually buys his suits - not very 'Minnesota', but then neither is Norm.

"Cole is running a close Senate race against AL Franken in MN."

Norm Coleman is, anyway. Also, did you know that he's reported all gifts given to him?

Indeed, jonnybutter. 2 points.

;-)

Reporting all gifts.

Coleman's calling for an end to negative ads because he knows he's going to get them in spades about the suits and rent and you're right, that stuff doesn't go down well in Minnesota.

By the way, here we are talking about not condoning calls to violence . . . but every time I read obsidian wings, I still see the kitty assassin aiming his rifle at the top of the post.

Just saying.

My understanding is that Sen. Coleman has reported all gifts he has received.

I know that this has been said upthread, but apparently you can't say it often enough!

And Obama is one of those communist Muslims.

I think bc, to his credit, got to McCain, so I didn't have to.

My reaction to McCain's demeanor during that clip was that he was appalled in a heady sort of way at how you can summon stupid white trash into your campaign and frighten the crap out of them and they will form a lynch mob at your command.

He's on about the same level as Al Sharpton 'bout 15 years ago, before Al figured out the talk-show circuit paid more than lighting torches for a howling mob.

It was cynical but I'll take it.

I'd have been happy if Stalin had called off the purges, if Hitler had said wait a second, he was kidding when he asked his crack staff: "D'you load the trains and d'you stoke the ovens", and if Hutus had dropped the machetes because it seemed just a little over the top and besides all that blood was soaking and ruining their pantlegs.

But I think the cat's out of the bag.

I do have faith in Obama. I think he'll win over most of these people eventually.

As individuals.

As a mob, not so much.

I got the feeling that the woman who called Obama an Arab suddenly thought to herself "well then, somebody run out and FIND me an Arab to burn at the stake, because that's what I joined the Republican Party for!"

Wait, has Coleman reported all gifts received?

And here he is, disclaiming negative ads.

This, also, would in no way be a factor:

[...] Three recent polls show Franken taking his first lead after trailing, sometimes badly. The numbers ranged from a 43 - 34 - 18 split in a Minneapolis Star Tribune poll released last week to 41 - 37 - 14 in a Minnesota Public Radio/Humphrey Institute sounding released Wednesday.
I can't say how much I love the idea of Senator Al Franken.

But it's considerably.

You're kidding right? He did it because people were finding his non-action despicable.
I find no honor the fact it wasn't done immediately.
No credit due here.

Credit for what exactly? Trying meekly to calm the frenzy that he himself has been whipping up?

Sorry, this guy's an asshole forever in my book.

One pathetic attempt to calm the bloodthirsty mob at this late date does nothing to save McCain's honor. But this way his campaign gets to have its cake and eat it too. Any takers on how long before they play up how he's even a "maverick" to his supporters! Although he's had the chance before PLENTY of times, he breaks down and gets sensitive when someone claims Obama is an A-rab?!! He just can't have the groundlings making stuff up...that's what the staff is for!

Leave it to Psmith to put me in mind of who McCain reminds me of: Baxter :-)

--TP

McCain deserves zero credit. He needs to repudiate Palin's remark that "Obama palled around with terrorists"

McCain and Palin are warped, frustrated, morally bankrupt candidates who deserve to suffer a crushing, humiliating, landslide defeat on Election Day.

how must it feel, having to kiss the ass of morons like these?

and how must it feel, seeing how fast these people turn on you the minute you say something they don't like?

you made your bed, McCain, now lie in it.

Ana Marie Cox, who was at the rally, told Rachel M. tonight that these wingnut dregs are almost the only people showing up at McCain rallies these days. The "pitchfork wavers," as she memorably calls them. She and her colleagues fanned out and interviewed a lot of them afterward, and every single one was convinced that Obama is a Muslim, in league with terrorists, etc., etc. No wonder they booed McCain when he called Obama a decent family man and citizen that nobody should be "scared" of as president.

McCain and the cynical Rovian operatives he hired wanted to "rally the base," and this is what they got. Base, indeed.

1. McCain declaring that he respects Obama's accomplishments would mean something if he hadn't spent the entire campaign denying Obama had any. "Obama has achieved nothing, and I respect him for it" is garbage.

2. John McCain refuted "He's an Arab!" with "No, he's a decent family man". Off the cuff, I know, but still disgusting, especially given that McCain has in fact made it clear that he's eager to murder Arabs en masse (at least he wouldn't be killing anyone decent).

McCain is backing away from a self-destructive tactic because polls showed it to be a self-destructive tactic. His ads, his followers at Fox, his running mate, are not backing off even a bit, but he personally is putting a few inches between himself and the spray of sludge. No credit.

Count me in with those who feel there is limited honor in McCain dousing the fire he set. He has a firehose in one hand and a gas can the other.

The way I see it is that if Obama really were close friends with terrorists, in league with Bin Laden, secretly the antiChrist, etc, then clearly aggressive action to stop such a person from gaining power would be appropriate. This demonization is certainly not a recent turn in the campaign, its been there throughout.

Is that Somerby's analysts chuckling in the backround?

Goshdarnit, if you're impressed by such transparency, I can't wait to see the Kurtz-Milbank take.

McCain, unlike Baxter, isn't efficient. (I'd say that Cheney is Baxter; McCain is the Duke of Dunstable.)

The charitable interpretation of this would be that John McCain heard the cries of "terrorist!" and "kill him!" earlier this week, and finally began to realize just how low he had sunk, just what horrible forces he was unleashing. Even with the cynicism of the campaign, it is hard not to watch that and be reminded of the traits many of us once admired in the man. It's too late to earn my vote-- and, indeed, too late for him to win the election. Perhaps three weeks is long enough to salvage some tiny scraps of respect and the honor he had flung to the wind.

But I doubt it.

I said this over at my LJ, but I think it is worth keeping in mind here:

He actively got booed by the crowd when he said Obama was a good man and again when he said people did not have to be scared of an Obama presidency. Pretty important to be said and by him. I have to wonder exactly how much credit one should get for helping to put out the fire one started, but at the very least it is better than continuing to stoke it. Also, it is most likely much more difficult for him to have to stand up to his own supporters now that they are clearly over the line than if he had just done nothing in the first place, so kudos for bravery now. I mean, how easy can it be to have to argue with your own supporters that Obama is a good man and shouldn't be scary at your own Presidential rally just a few weeks before the election.

I think it was terrible of McCain to start this ball rolling, but I also think it is hard to stand up to people who are supposed to be your supporters when they are over the line. If you watch rallies earlier in the week, I think it is clear that these comments clearly bothered McCain. I find it admirable that he has actually found the strength to act on that discomfort.

It isn't hard to believe that McCain thought he was offering red meat that is just hyperbole to energize the base and that he was shocked that they thought he meant it quite literally and might act out on that belief. Sometimes one accidentally sets a forest fire when they think they are just burning a few sticks. It really must be hard to start that thing that is raging out of control instead of just running for cover.

If I feel that Obama deserved the benefit of the doubt for trying to stick with Wright and stand up for him even while he disagreed with him, then I really ought to be the type of person who sayd that McCain deserves the benefit of the doubt when he obviously, through physical mannerisms and words alike, seems troubled by his ardent supporters and moves to tone them down.

I hope the SS realize that this puts him at increased risk as he is now 'apostate' like Kathleen Parker or Buckley. I am now a little worried for him.

It is kind of difficult to summarise rapidlu what is wrong with all the racist presumptions in "He's an Arab!" so while "No. And he's a decent family man..." would have been better, I won't complain that McCain didn't get the punctuation right.

That said, I agree with everyone else who said this is not a matter for praise - if it's finally dawned on McCain that inciting hatred and death threats is a bad thing, he's too dumb to pour milk out of a boot: if it's never occurred to him before that the spectacle of a white man standing in front of a mob of white people publicly inciting hatred against a black man may actually lose him some votes, then... he's too dumb to pour milk out of a boot.

As Greenwald puts it, McCain seems to have read the polls. Let's wait and see, whether the change is for good or just more "erratics". Has anyone heard of any changes in Not-the-other-Palin's rhetoric?

Jeeze. Give the guy a smidgen of credit. He has been under a lot of pressure to go more negative this week. All the pundits on the right have been calling for it. I’ve read article after article this week demanding that he get really nasty. He’s had supporters at rallies demanding it. Some on his staff wanted to drag Wright back into it this week – he decided not to.

It was said on another thread that he lost control of things. I agree with that. I never thought he would go as low as he has, and I’m guessing he’s surprised himself.

So how about a tiny bit of credit where it is due?

As I said, I'll withhold my judgement until it is clear, whether this is genuine or just more wavering. Just recently he promised "I'll do that" to an enraged participant of one of his rallies that demanded that he should directly attack Obama in the next debate on the Ayers/Acorn/etc. stuff. If and only if he breaks that promise and stays decent, I'll give him some credit (not financial though ;-) ). But I will hold him also responsible for what Not-the-other-Palin does (I doubt that she will tone down).

Well, I'd give John McCain a smidgen of credit for standing up to angry, racist, hysterical, crowds and enduring their boos instead of basking in their cheers--except that the John McCain I knew touted himself for his bravery, my friends, for five long years when he never even *had* a crowd to piss in...I mean a crowd to cheer him on. So where's the bravery? I mean, I just heard Sarah Palin tell me that John McCain's the only candidate who ever put his country first and that he's done it his whole life. Also, John McCain assured me that he reveled in his name "maverick" and loves being called "not mr. congeniality" so why is this situation different? How hard is it for such a giant of a man to stand up to a howling horde of his own supporters? And if its not hard...well, what's the credit for?

aimai

"The woman says "He's an Arab" and a candidate for president replies "No, no ma'am, he's a decent family man with whom I happen to have some disagreements.""

The racism here was shocking, but I'll get back to that. First, I'm in the camp that gives McCain a little bit of credit here. I've read enough about him to think his reputation for integrity was always wildly overblown, but I think there is a part of him that does squirm when he sinks low (as he has, far too often). The fact that the media has portrayed him as a saint doesn't mean he is actually the complete opposite (though as a handy rule of thumb when the media does fall in love with a politician you should assume they are covering for him and that's been true here).

Okay, now the racism. It's not just McCain--I watched some of the "liberal" MSNBC shows last night and when I watched it, none of them seem to pick up on it. McCain was, I assume, processing the fact that the woman thought that calling Obama an "Arab" was equivalent to calling him a terrorist degenerate and he responded to that, without even thinking of the viciousness of the equivalence. If we're going to get into this, then every time Obama is "accused" of being a Muslim, people should FIRST say that there is nothing wrong with being a Muslim, and speak against the bigotry on display, and only then point out that as a matter of fact, he happens to be a Christian.

Though back on the subject of McCain, as I am now slightly more awake I don't want to give him too much credit. I think the discomfort you see in the videos is genuine, but he's also been willing to use this anti-Arab/Muslim hatred until yesterday. And that's assuming he reins in Sarah Palin. One of the Republicans on Olbermann's show last night was still defending the use of Ayers as a legitimate campaign tactic.

Why did McCin back off? An ad hoc committee of prominent McCain supporters threatening to issue a public condemnation of the McCain campaigns tactics might have been what got John's attention.

Has anyone ever said that Obama was an Arab?
Oh yeah, Arab=Muslim=Terrorist.
My bad!

So how about a tiny bit of credit where it is due?

A tiny bit. Sorry OC, but I don't believe a word that comes out of his mouth, which is not to say that everything he says is a lie; I just don't give him the benefit of the doubt. He gets a tiny bit of credit, whatever his motivation, because, as publius says, it surely wasn't easy to do what he should've done in the first place.

echo: 'he's an arab!', 'No, he's a *decent* man'. WTF?

Too much "good for him."

What was he supposed to say to that woman who has obviously bought into all of the crap she's heard?

Off the cuff, I know, but still disgusting, especially given that McCain has in fact made it clear that he's eager to murder Arabs en masse (at least he wouldn't be killing anyone decent).

Persians too.

Since I kinda expected McCain to spontaneously erupt into singing Killing an Arab, I guess I'm supposed to be thankful, but to me this only highlights how terribly brainwashed and stupid a sizable part of the US electorate is.

Looks like the man just couldn't choke the sh*t sandwich down anymore.

I second Bernard's comment about dogs and fleas, as well as Jes' and Donald J's comments about the Arab vs family man sequence.

But I very much appreciate McCain's statements here.

Well done.

I can't say how much I love the idea of Senator Al Franken.

Nor I. Perhaps the Al Franken decade will, finally, arrive!

Feingold and Franken in 2016!

Thanks -

If we're going to get into this, then every time Obama is "accused" of being a Muslim, people should FIRST say that there is nothing wrong with being a Muslim, and speak against the bigotry on display, and only then point out that as a matter of fact, he happens to be a Christian.

Oh yes, they should. The problem with unpacking all the things wrong with "accusing" Obama of being a Muslim is that this takes quite some time:

That given the US Constitution mandates no religious test for holding office, the "accusation" that someone is the wrong religion or none is profoundly anti-Constitutional / unAmerican.

That believing there is something wrong with being a Muslim - a faith held by at least 2 million Americans - is sure indication that there is something wrong with you. The first step towards persecuting people for their religion begins with the presumption that there is something wrong with anyone who holds that religion.

That the presumed correlation between Muslim=Arab=terrorist is profoundly racist, profoundly dangerous, profoundly wrong, and absolutely evil. It's not as if you have to project to see the danger of arguing that people are terrorists by their race or their religion: From the people who were killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, to the people who have been locked up in Gitmo for years without a trial, to the people kicked off planes or interrogated on landfall or just sent back to their country of origin for "flying while Muslim" - these things are happening now, today, and even on Obsidian Wings you will find people who defend the idea that it's perfectly okay to discriminate against Muslims for acting too Muslim in public.

And, after having got all that said: and by the way, no, Obama is not a Muslim.

Obviously, any commentator called up to be a talking head on a chat show should get all that said. But face-to-face with the need to get a quick response to a bigoted supporter... McCain didn't do that badly, though it's hardly a matter for praise.

I'll give McCAin lots of credit if her repudiates not only some of the nastiness of his voters but also the nastiness that the Republican party has been deliberately promoting since Lee Atwater's day.

What we are seeing in Palin's audiences is the base, the people that the Republican party has been courting through hate radio, faux populism, racist messges, (Willie Horton, welfare Cadillacs etc)and dog whistles to religious extremists for years. McCain is not soley repsonsible for the Repubicans party's descent into fascism -lite. That deicsion was made long ago , back when Rove was just starting his career. The leaders of the Republican party decided to make their base bigger by pulling in people who usually didn't vote at all becuase their views were too alien to the rest of the culture. So the lunitic fringe was invited in. Now the lunatic fringe is the Republican base and a good part of the Republican representation in COngress.

McCAin took one of those loons and made her his VP choice. She is now out saying what she really believes to crowds that share her xenophobia and anti-intellectualism and desire to justify their extremism by pretending to be victims. AS a result the dirty secret that more polite Republicans have been trying to rationalize away is out where everyone can see and hear it: the Republican party is the party of religious fanatics, haters, and the willingfully irrational. That's who Repubicans are now. People wqho dodn't fit that mold don't fit the Republican party any more.

So OK give McCain credit for what he did. He used his position at the podium to tone down a few supporters. A little bit of credit for a tiny act.

What are the non-fanatic Repubicans going to do abut the state of their party?

McCain got caught out there. He couldn't be seen on national tv agreeing with a supporter calling Obama an Arab. This tactic has already had a negative impact on his polls, and his supporters have become an embarrasment to him. This was an opportunistic and a racist act disguised as an honorable one.

I'm not one to give credit to McCain, and the non-defense of being Arab was interesting, but from some of what I've been reading, some reporters are saying that the woman actually said that she heard Obama was an "Arab-terrorist". Which is why he said Obama was a "decent family man and a citizen".

McCain got caught out there. He couldn't be seen on national tv agreeing with a supporter calling Obama an Arab. This tactic has already had a negative impact on his polls, and his supporters have become an embarrasment to him. This was an opportunistic and a racist act disguised as an honorable one.

i'm not giving him any credit. it's too late for that.

and, let's not forget, he decided this was a good way to go, before saner heads talked him back (presumably). and the fact that he deliberately started down this road with no idea what he was getting into says a lot about his judgment - as does the rest of his campaign. he's all about small tactical maneuvers with little consideration given to where he'll be at the end of it: Palin, Ayers. the racist pot-stirring, his constant flip-flopping on issues, his spur-of-the-moment policy announcements, the sloughing-off of his single greatest asset (his cozy relationship with the media), his campaign suspension stunt, etc.,etc.,etc..

he's erratic, short-sighted, temperamental, impulsive, emotional, and doesn't show much political savvy.

No credit.

Handlers usually screen the crowd for questions. This question was left in to "show" McCain's not"that bad."

If Palin's not backing down, this is a sham.

On the arab vs. decent man front, I actually think he answered rather well. The fact isn't only that you can't reply in a short time to all the racist and outrageous presuppositions in that question, but that they won't listen.

Saying "Obama isn't an Arab" is important, saying "if he were there would be nothing wrong with that" is even more important, you can point out that Arabs are as likely to be terrorists as Irishmen or Basque are, you can say explicitly that the implications are racist and should have no place in the discourse...

But the people who make those accusations won't listen, because ultimately that's not the point : the point is that they're scared and project that fear on Others and hatred thereof.

McCain knew this, and went straight to the heart of that woman's issue : Obama is a good man, a person like you, you don't have to be afraid of him.
I don't know how this influenced that woman, but I'm pretty sure that's the only way he could have done it.

Jeeze. Give the guy a smidgen of credit.

Nope, not one smidgen. "When are the gloves coming off?" "Heh heh, how about Tuesday, heh heh."

As http://www.enterthejabberwock.com/?p=699>J Crowley said put it, "And don’t give me any sh!t [modified from the original] about “well, the McCain campaign is urging people to be respectful” — if you take a basket full of snakes and shake it as hard as you can, release it in a preschool and then sing a lullaby, you don’t get points for trying to calm the snakes."

This in no way excuses he and Palin's inciting these people. What did they think would happen? Actions have consequences.

Americablog theorized that the Secret Service had a talk with McCain. He didn't seem happy to be saying what he was.

It's like an arsonist torching a house then trying to put it out with a garden hose after it's half way burned down.

From a story in the Mpls. Startribune:

Late in the town hall meeting, Gayle Quinnell of Shakopee called Obama "an Arab." Taken aback, McCain shook his head and, taking the microphone from her, said, "No, ma'am. He's a decent family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues."

After the rally, Quinnell was unrepentant. "You can't trust Barack Hussein Obama because he is a Muslim and a terrorist," she said.

Obama is a Christian.

It's pretty obvious that the most liberal talk show this woman listens to is Limbaugh, and that's probably true of the dead-end 25%.

I still say "good for him", though he'll have to do more, much more to square things after this is all over.

He didn't seem happy to be saying what he was.

My general impression is that McCain is uncomfortable with pretty much everything in this campaign. IMO that says both good and bad things about him, but FWIW my read on his comments in the clip is that he, personally, is uncomfortable to the point of being unnerved by the stuff that his supporters are saying.

Dogs and fleas, for sure, but IMO the Atwater/Rove playbook doesn't sit well with him. FWIW.

Thanks -

russell - Dogs and fleas, for sure, but IMO the Atwater/Rove playbook doesn't sit well with him.

maybe it doesn't, or maybe his old friends in the media, who finally have turned, were convinced it does.

one thing we must remember: this is MCCAIN's frapping campaign. davis isn't running for prez, palin isn't running for prez, mccain is.

the difference (besides policy and outlook) is starkly clear: one of the candidates is absolutely running his own campaign with a steady hand and a clear vision. the other is doing and saying whatever the boys in the back room tell him this week.

we already had a prez like that, for the last eight years.

"So how about a tiny bit of credit where it is due?"

I give him a tiny bit of credit.

This big: [holds up thumb and forefinger an inch apart].

About the size of the world's tiniest violin I'll play when he loses.

"I'm not one to give credit to McCain, and the non-defense of being Arab was interesting, but from some of what I've been reading, some reporters are saying that the woman actually said that she heard Obama was an 'Arab-terrorist'."

But since the video and audio are quite clear, there's been bad reporting, and that claim is nonsense. Why would you rely on reading when you can just listen for yourself?

"Handlers usually screen the crowd for questions."

And plenty of people get past them; the idea that handlers perfectly screen just flies in the face of reality. Especially when we're talking about wackos like these people.

Old thread by now, but I did want to note this via Insty:

PORTLAND, Ore. - Authorities have arrested two men after a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a 4-foot by 8-foot campaign sign for Republican presidential candidate John McCain in a southeast Portland yard.

So who is stirring these folks up? Have any McCain supporters resorted to stuff like this yet? Last election – Republicans jammed phone banks, Democrats slashed tires. Seriously, I condemn this crap, but in the real world it’s not Republicans resorting to this kind of thing.

"So who is stirring these folks up?"

John McCain and Sarah Palin. ;)

Seriously, though, find the perpetrators and arrest them.

Obama should appoint William Ayers as Attorney General to root out this sort of crime, given the Republican Party's precedent-setting practice of having retired foxes patrol the henhouse.

To be clear: I condemn all this crap. But I’m tired of the dual standards. When Obama asks millions of supporters to call in to a radio show hosting someone critical of him it’s clearly not a DOS attack – it’s just people expressing their opinion. When we have sheriffs and public prosecutors acting as an Obama “truth squad” – nothing to see there. The Obama campaign threatens legal action against the NRA for running ads exposing his anti-gun record – politics as usual.

On the one hand we have some yahoos mouthing off at a rally. OTOH we have actual physical and potentially dangerous actions. When it comes to actual physical actions I see more on the D side. If you don’t believe me, slap a McCain/Palin bumper sticker on your car and leave it parked overnight in a blue city.

OCSteve, there are probably over 100,000,000 people in this country that support the Democratic party. If you think there exists a group that large anywhere in the world that does not have some criminals, some psychos, some wackos, and some people who use violence to achieve political ends, then you're just nuts. The question has never been "is there at least one evil/criminal/psychotic Democratic party supporter in the country?". The question has never been "are republicans and democrats equivalent because we know there is at least one evil/criminal/psychotic member in each group?". Those are really stupid questions that are not worth discussing.

A better question might be: are there significant differences in the number of illegal or morally questionable acts undertaken by party supporters to win elections? Or maybe: are there significant differences between parties in how much official support party officials provide for illegal or morally-questionable tactics used to win elections? Yet another question would be: is one party doing significantly more than the other to incite its members to commit crimes?

These questions all have one interesting thing in common: you can't really answer them by pointing to any single story. Well, you can if you're as dumb as Glenn Reynolds is and have no idea how to reason quantitatively.

I think you would be really pissed off (justifiably so IMHO) if I said "one soldier in the US Army raped and killed an Iraqi, therefore we know that the US Army is no better than the Sadrists or the Badr Brigade or AQI". You would probably explain why that was a very dumb thing to believe and you would do it by talking about how no large group of people is perfect, how relative numbers matter, and how important organizational leadership and institutional mechanisms for preventing bad acts are.

If you don’t believe me, slap a McCain/Palin bumper sticker on your car and leave it parked overnight in a blue city.

There's at least one on my street. I live in a city whose name is often prefaced with "The People's Republic of" so I don't think cities get much bluer. Its been there for months, unmolested. In other words, I call BS on this claim.

"Last election – Republicans jammed phone banks, Democrats slashed tires."

Steve, look at the wildly false equivalence you are engaging in. In one case, four people went to jail in a criminal action run the by State Republican Party. The criminals severely disrupted electoral efforts by the Democrats on the day of the election. This was a major crime, run by officials of the party, with serious electoral consequences. The state Republican executive director was forced to resign for lying to investigators. The Republican National Committee paid for the defense of defendents. Hundreds of thousands of collars, even.

[...] The story forced the resignation of state GOP executive director Charles McGee shortly afterward, when he admitted lying to the paper. Later, prosecutors said that he had come up with the idea of disrupting Democratic communications after seeing a flyer put out by the Shaheen campaign with the numbers. Drawing on his military background, he decided to disrupt "enemy communications" and called several telemarketing firms he knew to have Republican sympathies. However, none of them wanted anything to do with the idea.

[...]

In July, the Union Leader reported [3] that one of Tobin's attorneys told the court he was representing the defendant in his capacity as an employee of the Republican National Committee (RNC). Since the RNC had stated that Tobin was acting on his own in a rogue operation, it was asked, why would they be paying for his defense?

In August, the RNC finally confirmed that it had spent more than $722,000 for Tobin's defense by the Washington firm of Williams & Connolly. "This support is based on his assurance and our belief that Jim has not engaged in any wrongdoing," a spokesperson told the Associated Press. [4] The Union Leader reported in February 2006 that the RNC had paid $1.7 million to Williams on the day Tobin was sentenced, for a total of $2.5 million, and would neither confirm nor deny that it was still paying his legal expenses. [5]. The RNC's first financial report of 2006 indicated that it by then spent another $330,000 [6]. Later that year, Tobin's wife was hired by the NRSC as a consultant on the unsuccessful re-election campaign of Rhode Island senator Lincoln Chafee, as Northeast Strategies, a company that listed the Tobins' home as its main address. Despite her lack of any previous experience, she was paid at $300,000.[7]

And there were White House connections:
[...] A Democratic analysis of phone records introduced at Tobin's criminal trial show he made 115 outgoing calls to the White House between September 17 and November 22, 2002. [26] Two dozen of the calls were made from 9:28 a.m. the day before the election through 2:17 a.m. the night after the voting, a three-day period during which the phone jamming operation was finalized, carried out, and then abruptly shut down.

Virtually all the calls to the White House went to the same number, which currently rings inside the political affairs office. In 2002, that office was headed by Ken Mehlman, now the chair of the Republican National Committee. The White House has declined to say which staffer was assigned that phone number in 2002.

In the other case, some random kids or something slashed, what, 3 tires somewhere? (Feel free to give cites to who went to jail, the connections to the Democratic National Committee, the effect on the election, and so on, to show the parallels, by all means.)

Give. Me. A. Break.

"Hundreds of thousands of collars, even."

Not to mention the accompanying shirts. Or dollars.

Final result in tire-slashings (which I thoroughly condemn, of course!): four misdeameanors, one acquital.

Not to get too off-topic or anything, but it seems like we could have an off-the-cuff ObWi gathering in the People's Republic of You Know Where without anyone barely having to walk across the street.

But I’m tired of the dual standards.

If you want to lay your argument out, with appropriate cites, in long form on TiO, it would be easier to consider. This comment feels kind of...whiny. Just my opinion of course.

When Obama asks millions of supporters to call in to a radio show hosting someone critical of him it’s clearly not a DOS attack – it’s just people expressing their opinion.

I'm afraid I don't understand: very few of Obama's supporters will bother to do anything about some local talk show. The number involved must be much less than a million since the number of people who have donated to Obama is a few million at most. In addition, even if we assumed that the lines were blocked with Obama supporters, this is hardly a DOS: radio shows can function perfectly well without callers. They may prefer to have particular types of callers, but that's not my problem and it is certainly not something the Obama campaign is responsible for ensuring.

When we have sheriffs and public prosecutors acting as an Obama “truth squad” – nothing to see there.

Huh? I don't know to what you're referring. Can you explain?

The Obama campaign threatens legal action against the NRA for running ads exposing his anti-gun record – politics as usual.

Is this the ad that FactCheck.org claimed "distorts Obama's position on gun control beyond recognition"? Lying about people is generally not legal. Do you think that political campaigns should never threaten lawsuits when people lie about them? Or do you think that the Obama campaign, FactCheck.org, CNN, and the WAPO are all conspiring when they claim that this ad is highly misleading? And what exactly is the problem with lawsuits? If the suit is bad, the courts can award tons of Obama's cash to the NRA...shouldn't you hope and pray the lawsuit happens so that the issue can be adjudicated fairly by a neutral arbiter? Or are you afraid of what a neutral arbiter would say?

I think there's no point in having laws against libel and slander if we decide that no one can ever make use of them. There's no point in having a court system if we insist that no one can ever go to court.

On the one hand we have some yahoos mouthing off at a rally. OTOH we have actual physical and potentially dangerous actions.

I don't think people here are complaining that some yahoos mouthed off at a rally: the complaint is that McCain/Palin have riled their crowds up, pushing them to the brink of violence, and that they've done it by distorting the truth. I mean, if McCain incited an act of violence by constantly claiming that Obama murdered JFK, would that be a problem for you?

The posts I've seen on this issue at Political Animal and TalkingPointsMemo have been very clear on this: the issue is not that some yahoo said crazy things, it is that McCain/Palin rile them up in an irresponsible manner and then don't do enough to tamp down the mob rage.

Not to get too off-topic or anything, but it seems like we could have an off-the-cuff ObWi gathering in the People's Republic of You Know Where without anyone barely having to walk across the street.

Heh. Are you local Janie? For some reason I thought you lived in Maine...

But yeah, I think at point I counted half a dozen regular commenters who live in the Boston metro area. A get together might be fun.

When Obama asks millions of supporters to call in to a radio show hosting someone critical of him it’s clearly not a DOS attack – it’s just people expressing their opinion.

Um. Steve, why would you think its anything else BUT an expression of opinion (granting that this is what happened, which may not be the case)? The argument that you're making it that the callers calling in mad not right to call in---the phone lines were not there for the callers critical of the phone show host.

I'm not sure that's particularly a valid argument.

OCSteve; But I’m tired of the dual standards.

Then why promote them?

Oh wait. You mean you like the dual standards, what you're tired of is the equal standards.

Turbulence -- I do live in Maine, but I spend roughly a week a month working in your fair city. (That's only an average; sometimes I spend 2-3 weeks at a time there, other times it's a just a few days.)

Another commenter mentioned a while back that he hangs out about a mile from MIT and a mile from Harvard. I could say the same, when I'm there.

Totally off topic, but when I hear references to "The People's Republic of", my thoughts turn to SF and Berkeley. Could be that I grew up 50 miles from there.

Jeff, I live in Cambridge MA, the left coast people's republic.

So who is stirring these folks up?

The Republicans, for at least the last 8 years, and really for the last 40. Are you really going to use the "stop hitting me back" defense here?

Have any McCain supporters resorted to stuff like this yet? Last election – Republicans jammed phone banks, Democrats slashed tires.

I'm sorry, but wasn't it one of the freakazoid Malkinites who sent the fake anthrax letters to members of the media? You read Malkin, don't you, Steve? Why would you associate with a person like that?

Or whenever some blogger has personal information revealed on the internet, or some individual or group is made the victim of a targeted harrassment campaign via the internet, 9 times out of 10 it's a Republican doing the instigating.

Don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining, in other words.

Seriously, I condemn this crap, but in the real world it’s not Republicans resorting to this kind of thing.

Oh, please. The Republicans have been preening around making threats toward Democrats and leftists for at least a decade now, and when some Democrats decide to fight back, that's when you complain?

If you don’t believe me, slap a McCain/Palin bumper sticker on your car and leave it parked overnight in a blue city.

I live in one of the most liberal cities in one of the most solidly Democratic counties in Ohio. (To give you an idea how liberal, more than 30 years ago the city was named a "Nuclear-Free Zone," and still has the signs up to prove it.) There are at least two McCain/Palin yard signs two streets up from me, and maybe half a dozen more throughout the immediate neighborhood. Nobody's tires have been slashed, nobody's yard turfed, nobody's house egged.

Here's a letter to the editor from today's edition of my home region's paper (which I'm reading online because I'm on a trip at the moment):

I was unhappy when someone put their McCain/Palin sign up -- directly in front of my 2-day-old Obama '08 sign -- on the little triangle of "public land" in [town name goes here -- ed.].

But I responded by quietly moving my sign back a few feet, so that it could still be seen, believing that we all have a place on this little strip of real estate, we all deserve to be there, in fact, we have a right to be there.

Today, however, when I discovered that the Barack Obama sign was gone completely, (yet all of the others: McCain, Collins, Jones, Allen, etc. are still there,) I am left wondering if perhaps the person who felt the need to remove Obama's name from our neighborhood might not be a Republican, or even a "right-leaning" independent, but a person who leans away from tolerance entirely. I hope I am wrong.

I happen to know the letter-writer, who is a person of integrity (i.e. she isn't making this up). I also happen to live in a so-called "blue state" -- which, like every other blue state, harbors large numbers of Republican voters, most of whom somehow manage to go unharassed virtually all the time, and who even manage to elect people from their party to Congress or the Senate, not to mention the state legislature, on a regular basis.

(OK, OCSteve said "blue city," not "state." We haven't got much that resembles a city where I live, so I can't offer anecdotes about cities.)

Surely it's spelled "People's Republik"?

Here, Steve, here's what's "riling these people up":

(PHILADELPHIA) As the crowd cheered at a Sarah Palin rally this morning in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a man in the audience grinned as he held up a stuffed monkey doll with a Barack Obama bumper sticker wrapped across its forehead.

The incident came at a time when McCain and Palin’s events have increasingly been fueled by angry crowds, since Palin began drawing a connection between Barack Obama and 1960s radical William Ayers, claiming that the Democratic nominee has a history of “palling around” with a terrorist.

At a rally in Lakeville, Minnesota, on Friday, McCain was booed after he called on his audience to be respectful of Obama. The Republican nominee took the microphone away from one woman who said she couldn’t trust Obama because “he’s an Arab.”

After Palin finished her remarks this morning, the man holding the stuffed monkey seemed to notice that a video camera was pointed at him, at which point he removed the Obama sticker from the doll’s head and crumpling it up in his hand. He then handed the doll to a young boy who was watching the rally from his father’s shoulders. The boy’s parents later told CBS News that they weren’t acquainted with the man who gave their son the stuffed monkey.

The guy must be as dumb as a bag of hammers with a memory to match, because he was also recorded beforehand carrying the monkey doll into the rally, and referring to it as "little Hussein," so crumpling up the sticker and giving the doll away wasn't going to accomplish much.

See, this stuff, and other provocations like it, have been going on for years and years and years and years. Even outside the highly visible GOP apparatus at the top, hangers-on like Trevino and Goldstein and Ace and Confederate Yankee and all these jacktards have been poking and poking and poking, and now they're getting bitten, and we're supposed to feel bad about it? Uh, yeah, OK.

Do I condone Molotov cocktails? No, I guess not. Am I mad that those who sowed the wind are reaping the whirlwind? Not even a little.

Destruction of people's yard signs is bad, period. Best I can tell, it's equal opportunity.

Destruction of people's yard signs in ways that could lead to injury is especially bad. So is, for instance, hanging Obama in effigy. People are jerks sometimes. I tend to pay attention to them (on the blog) only when they're either organized or deliberately incited. Otherwise, I might never post about anything else.

I hate that stuff, though.

It’s not Republicans stalking Democratic speakers, throwing pies and crap. Bush has been demonized to the point that any whacko would think s/he has moral authority to do something.

It’s not McCain taking extraordinary action to shut down criticism of him or his campaign.

Cite me the stories about vandalism to Obama campaign headquarters.

McCain supporters may be talking smack – Democrats have been doing it.

Jeeze – we all read the same news… Mostly? ;)

Yeah Turb – this is whiny. I’m in a damned whiny mood tonight.

Right now, whiny fits me to a freakin’ T. (seriously)

All due respect, OC, but dropping this notion of Dems on the attack in multiple threads is a bit problematic. I'd also note that I suggested quite a bit earlier that the Republicans were playing with fire and they were going to have to deal with the consequences. The folks here are going to go with ridicule, but you raise the temp of the reaction vessel, expect more energetic reactions.

Cite me the stories about vandalism to Obama campaign headquarters.

Um...no. Why don't you answer some of the questions and issues I raised in my 5:23 comment first? You made a bunch of claims, I engaged them, now you want to pretend like that never happened while you raise new claims? I'm sure it would be easier if you don't have to, you know, stand and defend any of your claims, but I'm not really interested in that kind of conversation.

Backup your claims or withdraw them, but don't expect me to deal with a whole barrage of new claims until you do.

I don’t expect you to deal with any of this at all Turb, or LJ, or Gary – or anyone else. (Not sure what you mean by multiple threads LJ). And I’m not researching anything at this point. I am venting.

I don’t expect to win a debate here. I don’t give a good god damn. There is plenty of stuff to blame my side for, and I’ll acknowledge the legitimate stuff. I have plenty to feel bad about.

But point me to the episodes of actual violence or property destruction or stalking or pies or anything similar on the right. (Something this decade please.) I’m sure there are some, there has to be. But this thread is all about the danger that people on my side pose while all the actual violence (down at the personal level) I have seen in recent years is on your side. And don’t give me McVeigh or Rudolph – they were whacko’s pure and simple. But you have the kids of (D) politicians who think it’s cool to hack the opponents email or slash the tires of opponents GOTV vans. They have been raised to see no problem with that…

Defacing McCain campaign offices is just good clean fun. Using the threat of a prosecutor to suppress criticism is A-OK.

I’ll vote for Obama and I hope he wins, but I don’t agree with some of his methods. In terms of the larger picture, Democrats scare the hell out of me.

Yes – I see the irony in that.

Sorry, I thought that you had posted this in two different threads.

I'd also justapose two of your comments in this thread

This about McCain
It was said on another thread that he lost control of things. I agree with that. I never thought he would go as low as he has, and I’m guessing he’s surprised himself.

and this about Obama
I’ll vote for Obama and I hope he wins, but I don’t agree with some of his methods. (emphasis mine)

Setting aside individual incidents, can you see how giving McCain a pass because 'he lost control' while claiming that what has happened on the Dem side is a direct result of Obama's methods seems to be a huge double standard?

But you have the kids of (D) politicians who think it’s cool to hack the opponents email or slash the tires of opponents GOTV vans. They have been raised to see no problem with that…

I question the inferences you're making about what those kids have been taught and what it says about their parents and all Democrats. But then again, you seem to think this sort of inferential reasoning is OK, so who am I to disagree. So, I'm sure you'll agree with the following:

Given this news story, I think US military personal are all violent murderers who kill without reason. I mean, their kids decided to kill a bunch of people for NO APPARENT REASON (yeah, I'm going to say that dropping large rocks on people can be expected to kill them). What kind of values are those soldiers passing on to their children? The kind of values that say all non-Americans are subhuman filth who can (and should be) killed for sport? Apparently so. Killing people was just a game. Children play the games they learn at home after all. Their games reflect the values they've learned. Ergo, all US military personal are disgusting murderers. Or at least they all think killing inferiors is cool.

I look forward to your hearty agreement. Or maybe you'll admit that teenagers do all sorts of stupid things (some of which are criminal), that most young people lean Dem no matter what their parents believe, or that stupid things teens do doesn't really tell us much about the collective values of 100,000,000 people. Maybe you'll admit that this sort of inference is really dumb.

LJ: Of course it’s a double standard. I’m complaining about a double standard, and I have a double standard. I guess you would call that… a double standard?

Turb: You’re yanking my chain. (As I was likely yanking yours.) I’ve vented enough for one day.

Night all.

I believe that is called cut and run.

"And don’t give me McVeigh or Rudolph – they were whacko’s pure and simple"

I don't remember much about Rudolph and am not inclined to go googling, but regarding McVeigh, as I recall, rightwing talk radio hosts were on the defensive after the Oklahoma City bombing, because their rhetoric could have been taken as incitement. McVeigh is as much an embarrassment for the right as, say, people like Ayers are a problem for leftwing whackos like me. Which is why, if I were someone in public life, I'd still be calling Bush a war criminal, but emphasizing that the way to deal with him is with investigations, impeachment proceedings, and so forth--not violence.

Also, everyone is half-expecting attempts on Obama's life and we all know from which part of the spectrum the danger lies. And telling people that Obama consorts with terrorists probably isn't the best way to decrease the danger. Not that I would object to harsh rhetoric if Obama were being criticized for supporting war crimes overseas (don't get me started), but the Ayers link is total crap for the simple reason that nobody has come up with any evidence that Obama has ever in any way said that Ayers was justified--quite the opposite. And Palin is spewing this crap to a bunch of yahoos who think Obama is a secret Muslim Arab terrorist (all synonymous) with a plan to hand the country over to the leftist communist atheist rightwing Muslim religious fanatics. To the extent that there is a threat to Obama's physical safety, she has magnified it.

McVeigh is as much an embarrassment for the right as, say, people like Ayers are a problem for leftwing whackos like me

As much of an embarrassment? How many people did Ayers kill? How many did McVeigh kill?

Ayers did nothing compared to what right wing nuts like McVeigh have done. There is no comparison. Period.

False equivalency, once again.

Please, in the future, compare like to like. Don't help whitewash what McVeigh and his right wing creeps did.

I wasn't comparing numbers of dead, now-what, but degrees to which a particular whacko could be linked to an ideology. Anyway, I wouldn't really want to go there--people who play with bombs as a form of protest have to face the fact that they might kill innocent people, and only a moral cretin starts arguing about numbers killed.

I said nothing that whitewashed McVeigh's hideous action--that's just your own desire to score political points making you see it that way.

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