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October 10, 2008

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I agree with this, though it seems to me that McCain has unleashed (and implicitly sanctioned) forces that he can no longer control.

The Palin selection has itself engendered a climate of complete permissability. McCain chose "one of them"--a fringe extremist with militant dominionist leanings--and they now demand that he remold himself in Palin's image. McCain isn't above this, of course (he's clearly demonstrated that absolutely nothing is beneath him), if it means winning the election; but he's sufficiently pragmatic to realize that running as a full on wingnut is not the way to win the presidency, especially not this year.

McCain has opened a trap for himself from which there's no escape. He can't possibly appease the base on which he's chosen to stake his campaign while remaining anything like a mainstream political candidate; however, they'll take any criticism as a repudiation, and the backlash will cost him just as much.

McCain isn't leading any more, he is being led.

He has become Saruman at Orthanc.

Time to gather the ents?

Well, sure, he's "unleashed...forces he can no longer control." but that doesn't really excuse him from confessing his sins and rejecting them, does it? Because at the same time that he has legitimized them and given them an outlet and a platform they get a chance to use *him* as an outlet and a platform. If you assemble a mob and incite it to hatred you are responsible for the mob's actions. If you refuse to call a mob together for a campaign rally you dissipate its force. McCain didn't start racism, or anti muslim sentiment, or anti liberal sentiment but he is giving it a physical location and a focus that it simply couldn't have without him at this point. If he can't control his own supporters its time for him to disown them and disband his campaign or admit that he's running for president of the hater's club of america.

aimai

We are the Ents we've been looking for!

> McCain isn't leading any more, he is being led.
>
> He has become Saruman at Orthanc.

One might say, he's jumped the sharkey.

(Slowly edges out of the room...)

aimai,

It certainly does not absolve him in any way; I'd go so far as to say that he has a clear and urgent moral obligation to address this directly and explicitly. McCain's campaign "tactics" border on incitement, to put it mildly, but I'm now convinced that he lacks the decency and fortitude to take any significant steps towards ending it.

THINKING THE UNTHINKABLE

We all resist doing it. Partly, it's a superstitious fear that if we think it, it's more likely to happen -- or conversely the superstitious hope that if we don't, it won't. But even superstitious people have to make contingency plans. So: if one of those McCain-worshipping, Palin-inspired yahoos follows the "Obama is the enemy" idea to its logical conclusion, what do you, gentle reader, plan to do about it?

Some potential calamities are not worth worrying about in advance: if there's an asteroid headed for a collision with the Earth, there's no point arguing about it. You cannot deter an asteroid. My question is: can you deter a wingnut?

The answer is probably no. Rightwing jihadists have too much in common with the likes of Mohammed Atta. But even Atta needed instigation, and we rightly went after the instigators. We might have got them, too, had we made contingency plans in advance.

"In advance" is now. The instigators must be put on notice: you will win nothing if one of your devotees takes your instigation seriously enough to act on it. You will have no nation to govern. Even your "reasonable" supporters will be shunned by polite society. They will have to get by on doing business only amongst themselves, having "civil" discussions only amongst themselves, trying to pretend to each other that they were not personally responsible for the unthinkable because, hey, they did not think about it.

I am not only asking Obama supporters to think about the unthinkable. I am also pleading with "reasonable" McCain supporters to so. Should the unthinkable happen, it will be too late to think about it.

--TP

McCain isn't leading any more, he is being led.

When Gergen was complaing about this nazi stuff on the Daily Show the other night, he still said some things which made *me* angry: basically, that McCain isn't responsible for this campaign, that this campaign just isn't what McCain is 'about', etc. How did our moral musculature get so flabby as this, someone like Gergen being the ultimate Moderate in our CW? McCain is The responsible party - who else? His campaign has actually been a long commercial deftly advertizing his unsuitability for the office he's been running for, and it just gets worse and worse. I do pity him, because I'm human, but I don't feel 'sorry' for him at all. He's scunmy, and I suspect he always has been when push came to shove; it's relatively easy to fake character - if that is your aim - when no one's really scrutinizing you and your butt isn't on the line. Oh murmuring nabob Gergen! This *is* the real McCain, 'who he is'.

If McCain were capable of admitting that anything he does is wrong, he would have shown some sign of it by now. Whatever he thinks "honor" is, he clearly doesn't believe that it's contingent on adhering to any code of behavior; it's something he just has, once and for all, and he'll lash out at anyone who tries to take it away.

cyd: Yeah, you better run.

Well, so long as some nutjob doesn't try to hurt Obama or anyone else, the positive aspect to all this rabble-rousing is that McCain is succeeding only in marginalising himself. Whether exaggerated or not, the conventional wisdom is accepting the idea that McCain is out there whooping up the fringe. It's a total election loser in a bad year for Republicans.

So was the Palin pick for that matter. I think it was Publius who pointed out long ago that McCain's structural challenges -- not being much liked by the base of his party -- would be a huge problem for him. It seems like his strategists never figured out how to surmount that difficulty without losing the center.


McCain isn't leading any more, he is being led.

Just to make sure that my remark above is not misinterpreted - I'm not suggesting that McCain has no power to act or is not responsible as a moral agent for the forces he has unleashed. Far from it - I'm observing that he is refusing to use what power he has and is negligent in doing so.

McCain and Palin are making the mistake of assuming the fierce anger they feel is shared by people outside the Republican base.

It isn't. This type of anger is repellent to all non-dittoheads and as far as winning the horserace I am glad they are playing this game because it will not help them win.

It is divisive, but it might also help us heal as a nation. It is Nixon/Rove/Atwater politics without the mask, and that type of politics needs to be laid bare to be firmly rejected by the nation at large.

An analogy was police beatings of peaceful civil rights protesters in the South 50 years ago. Jim Crow and lynchings had been the status quo for decades, but the racists had to go too far too publicly to really turn the middle against them.

McCain and Palin are overplaying their hand right now, laying bare when the smart play is to conceal. I hope they go even further and trigger a wave of revulsion. Right now only the chattering classes and the rabid right are noticing.

@ TLTIABQ:

Far from it - I'm observing that he is refusing to use what power he has and is negligent in doing so.

In particular contrast, I notice, to Sen. Barack Obama, who seems to have little or no trouble maintain control over his campaign - both in operations and "message": skills which will come in handy, no doubt in the White House.

The 2008 Presidential campaign seems to be playing out as I imagined it would shortly after the conventions. Despite the negative associations with the Republican "brand:, if Sen. McCain and his organization kept the focus of the campaign on issues and policies, they had at least an even chance to win: if the made the campaign about "personalities" (i.e. smears), they would probably kill their chances. And if the made the campaign about the campaign, they will be toast. As they appear to be doing.

Good. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch....


So: if one of those McCain-worshipping, Palin-inspired yahoos follows the "Obama is the enemy" idea to its logical conclusion, what do you, gentle reader, plan to do about it?

Enjoy a Democratic Party resurgence the likes of which hasn't been seen in decades? Seriously, if some nutbag tries to take a shot at Obama, whether or not they succeed, they will have given enormous power to Obama/Biden. If it happens before the election, Obama/Biden wins in a landslide. If it happens after, they will get so much political support that for a time, they'll be able to pass damn near any legislation they want. If someone made such an attack, lots and lots of swing and republican voters would recoil in horror. Republican party leaders won't be able to criticize Democrats too strongly lest they give the impression of supporting the nutbag assassins.

Obviously, I hope and pray that no attacks are made and that if any are, they are unsuccessful. But I still think that an attack, while tragically devastating, would imbue Obama's political movement with tremendous power. We ask even the lowliest privates to risk sacrificing their lives for their country, and the truth is, we ask no less from our Presidents.

I also think the Secret Service knows their stuff. Because of the political dimensions, the threat is far more likely to come from crazy people disconnected from serious money, planning or political power. The crazy ones are the easiest to deal with, so I'm not too worried.

Oh hey guys btw the ratfncking has now well and truly begun:

Barack 'Osama' on Rensselaer County ballots

By BOB GARDINIER, Staff writer
Last updated: 3:21 p.m., Friday, October 10, 2008

TROY — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's last name is spelled "Osama" on hundreds of absentee ballots mailed out this week to voters in Rensselaer County.

The misspelling, which elections officials on both sides of the aisle insist was simply a typo, is causing embarrassment for the county.

''No question this is an honest mistake innocently done,'' said Edward McDonough, the Democratic commissioner. ''We catch almost everything.''

''This was a typo,'' said Republican Commissioner Larry Bugbee. ''We have three different staff members who proof these things and somehow the typo got by us.''

COMMENT ON THIS STORY HERE

Officials say the flawed ballots were sent to approximately 300 voters. On row 1A Barack Obama's name is spelled Barack Osama.

Is it a Freudian slip, intentional act or a mistake? Voters are sure to have opinions, and one pol pointed out that the letters 's' and 'b' are not exactly keyboard neighbors.

But even the county Democratic election commissioner is apologizing for what he calls a terrible mistake.

McDonough said the absentee ballots went out to voters in Brunswick, Nassau, Sand Lake, Schaghticoke and Schodack with the error.

So far three people have called to point it out, he said. Those people will get new ballots sent to them.

One Sand Lake resident who caught the misspelling, and who asked to remain anonymous, was skeptical.

''It's a little suspicious and at least grossly incompetent,'' the voter said. "If I crossed out the name and wrote in the right spelling my ballot would be invalid."

McCain and Palin are making the mistake of assuming the fierce anger they feel is shared by people outside the Republican base.

It isn't. This type of anger is repellent to all non-dittoheads and as far as winning the horserace I am glad they are playing this game because it will not help them win.

Agreed. You can count me in the tomtom club...(apologies)

I also think the Secret Service knows their stuff

I hope that everybody here is praying or doing the non-religous equivalent, for the safety not only of the candidates but also the S.S. agents who are protecting them.

If he can't control his own supporters its time for him to disown them and disband his campaign or admit that he's running for president of the hater's club of america.

I've seen this movie before, in Chicago in 1983. Bernie Epton, a liberal Republican of the kind not found much in the party any more, became the candidate of people who didn't want a black mayor when Harold Washington won the Democratic nomination. As the campaign went along, the racism that motivated most of his supporters became more and more open.

On election night, as he gave his concession speech to a frenzied, angry crowd of his supporters, you could actually hear in Epton's voice the moment of his sickened realization that he, a mild-mannered, socially liberal Jewish politician, had become the figurehead for a mob of white racists. It was sobering and unforgettable.

Politicians who've stepped over the line in the heat of the campaign are almost structurally incapable of going back before election day. Winning is everything; it's a professional deformation.

McCain and reality have had a tenuous connection these past few months, accusing the Obama campaign of being guilty of what McCain himself is actually doing. He is showing himself to be not only no kind of leader, but someone who gives no pause for consideration of the results of what he is being led to do. He is obsessed with himself, his ego and his legacy, and is unable to see that outside of the rabid wingnut base currently rah-rah-rah-ing at his rallies, there is a nation of people truly afraid of what is happening in this country who are looking for solutions and leadership. The fact that McCain has taken that Straight Talk Express onto this course just shows that he has come completely off the rails and remains clueless about where it is going to crash.

Am I the only one who feels some tension (awkwardness, disconnect) between our apprehension at the increasing nastiness of the campaign and the obvious delight some of us take that Obama is getting under McCain's skin? (See "Temper, Temper" thread below; even greater joy is expressed in some other blogs.)

If our major concern is to defuse the threat of violence or irretrievable social breakdown, shouldn't we tamp down our glee that Obama is apparently getting McC madder and madder? Yes, it would probably help in the election, but does anyone think that if McC really blows his stack he will be *more* likely to call off the dogs, or that it will help make this a more harmonious country, easier for Obama to govern, less likely to explode in racial or social violence?

If our major concern is to defuse the threat of violence or irretrievable social breakdown, shouldn't we tamp down our glee that Obama is apparently getting McC madder and madder?

Why? Our glee doesn't change anything in the world, does it? I mean, no one here can make Obama do anything.

Beyond that, McCain strikes me as an emotionally immature person watching his lifelong ambition die while under enormous pressure. If he snaps and has a public outburst, I suspect it will have a lot more to do with those facts than with any of Obama's needling. If he does publicly blow his top, I wouldn't be surprised if Obama wasn't in the room.

does anyone think that if McC really blows his stack he will be *more* likely to call off the dogs, or that it will help make this a more harmonious country, easier for Obama to govern, less likely to explode in racial or social violence?

I don't think McCain will call off the dogs no matter what Obama does. He's strongly invested in winning and I have the sense that he would see "calling off the dogs" as surrender and thus something he could never do.

In addition, I think if McCain blows his top, that might help calm things down. Behaving like an infant makes people skeptical of your leadership; that vision repeated on TV might demoralize some of the nuts. It would certainly make it easier for other conservatives to step up and say "OK, the race is over now and I think this incitement crap is insane and wrong".

I wonder if we'll start seeing downticket Republicans run against McCain? They already have clearance to run against Bush and the RNC in this every congressman for himself year; how many moderates want their opponents tying them to the rabid crowds McCain-Palin now welcome?

Deborah: In the new "This Is Not a Gary Farber Post" Gary Farber post, Eric links to Daniel Larison at The American Conservative suggesting that Congressional Republicans might want to adopt that plan. Or, if not run against McCain, at least pretend they've never heard of him.

Ironic that while McCain/Palin are accusing Obama of palling around with a radical leftist, they're supporters are the ones "heightening the contradictions." Bush and Cheney were able to keep this stuff confined to right wing radio and off the evening news; now Americans are seeing the depraved soul of the Republican Party laid bare.

There's also http://crookedtimber.org/2008/10/10/a-bit-of-horserace-commentary/#comments >this on Crooked Timber (a rumor that the RNC is going to stop running joint ads with McCain).

Jake:

Ironic that while McCain/Palin are accusing Obama of palling around with a radical leftist, they're supporters are the ones "heightening the contradictions."

Yes. Thank you beating me to that comment. I don't know if 'irony' is exactly right (I don't know what *is* right outside of psychiatry); it's enough to say that this is another item in the very long list of things the modern, insurgent GOP accuses their opponents of, but of which they, in fact, are guilty. It just never ends. In fact, their accuations make a handy list of what's wrong with them. Handy, and appalling.

Where was the outrage when McCain allowed a man in one of his Town Halls call Clinton a "bitch?" The comment passed the media right by . . .

One might say, he's jumped the sharkey.

(Slowly edges out of the room...)

That made my day.

----------

In other news, as Sullivan just covered over at Daily Dish, the McCain/Palin campaign has just doubled down on the hate by making fun of Obama for commenting on the hateful speech directed at him during these rallies.

You know, instead of denouncing it as they should. I really didn't think they would be stupid enough to *defend* the rabid haters; I only thought it would go as far as a wink and a nod.

I was wrong.

@dr ngo:

I share your lack of glee at watching McCain get angrier and angrier; I also agree with Turbulence that he will not call off the dogs before election day (see my comment above; it's a structural thing).

He's a fraud, someone who was never really a straight-arrow, honorable person but invested everything in the appearance of same to the broader public. But his personal psychodrama interests me not at all, because he's not running this show.

The people advising and backing him, the people who pushed Palin, need the party to be able to disown him, to make the country less or un-governable under President Obama, and to pretend that it was the abandonment of "conservative" "ideas" that led to ruin, not the implementation of them.

He's a sad husk fronting for a fascist, racist base. No amount of conciliation, even if we felt like offering any, would do any good. After the election they'll still have their media megaphones. And the only thing that might buy off half of them, genuinely populist economic reforms, aren't going to happen.

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/10/10/1529529.aspx

This is now so far beyond irresponsible and dangerous that it's getting scary. Not only is McCain's campaign playing to the very worst tendencies of his supporters, but now he's characterizing even light criticism of it as an insulting assault on them and "average Americans"?

I seriously don't like where this is headed.

What would a right-wing, gun-totting homeowner do if a black man stood on his front lawn and chanted "kill him"?

Is "kill him" now protected political speech?

I'm a registered Republican (I vote against the crazies in the primaries and then vote straight Democratic in the election).

Maybe I need to attend a Palin rally and wade over to the crazies and, you know, see what happens when I let them know what ignorant cocksucking subhuman filth they are.

Maybe it's time the good people of America do to do to our new domestic right-wing terrorists what they did to Iraq.

I'm surprised neither you nor any commenters here or at PolAn realized who "Frank Schaeffer" is. With his father, Francis Schaeffer, he, almost literally, created the Religious Right as a working force in the Republican Party. Of course, along with Weyrich, etc., but the Schaeffers were more important because of the theologigal backing they gave then media stars like Roibertson and Falwell.

And, in much the same way as John Dean has done, he realized what it was he had created, and -- without abandoning his 'conservatism' or his Christianity -- has spent much of the past ten years trying to repair the damage he and his father had done.

He's someone McCain should listen closely to -- but won't.

Further, the white cowards who plan to murder Barack Obama will hire a black man or a person of Middle Eastern descent to do it.

We'll never trace the money trail.

Erick Erickson over at Redstate and Sean Hannity at FUX news and moose harasser Sarah Plain just haven't got the guts to do it themselves.

>Seriously, if some nutbag tries to take a shot at Obama, whether or not they succeed, they will have given enormous power to Obama/Biden. If it happens before the election, Obama/Biden wins in a landslide.

You people don't think nearly deviously enough. If Sarah Palin -- who increasingly reminds me of the Nicole Kidman character in To Die For -- seriously wants to win this election, she needs to convince some crazed fringe leftist -- preferably someone who can be in even a tangential way connected to Ayers -- to murder her running mate, preferably on national TV, which will cause a huge swing in the election and will overwhelm any petty corruption complaints about her.

Luckily, while she may be as soulless and ruthless as Kidman, I don't think she's as smart as Angela Lansbury.

I know: I see too many movies.

I'm surprised neither you nor any commenters here or at PolAn realized who "Frank Schaeffer" is.

And I'm surprised that you assume that just because we're not sticking up our hands and shouting "OOh! Teacher! I know! I know!" we therefore are unaware of what your matchless cosmopolitan wisdom has granted you.

"I'm surprised neither you nor any commenters here or at PolAn realized who 'Frank Schaeffer' is."

Great mindreading. I just figured most people knew, given how regularly he's been denouncing McCain, in dozens and dozens of pieces over the past year. That's hardly news.

I'd suggest not making claims about what people do or don't "realize."

Apologies, not arrogance, just that I hadn't seen him mentioned, and there was a similar blank spot at PA. Shouldn't underestimate the ObWi crew, and I go off to eat crow -- well, hamburger.

Prup: Apologies accepted. For me (I can't speak for Gary) it's a matter of phrasing. Try something like "Perhaps some readers may not realize that . . ." and you won't bother me, whether or not I'm actually part of the "some" alluded to.

You must remember, however, that whatever you say on the Internet, someone will jump in and claim he said it first and better, so neener-neener to you. I suspect this would even be true if you were announcing the birth of your first child, but I'm too many years past that event to put this hypothesis to the test.

Before we make a choice we may regret for the next four years, the accusations against Barack Obama should be carefully considered, as">http://www.testimoanials.com/blog/blog1.php/2008/10/10/the-difference-between-jefferson-davis-a">as they are here.

Maybe it's time the good people of America do to do to our new domestic right-wing terrorists what they did to Iraq.

With much respect to Thullen, and in spite of my stupid "kick them in the nuts" language on another thread, what I'd like to suggest is that the proper thing to do with domestic right-wing terrorists -- who are quite real -- is to bring the authority of the law down on their heads.

For folks who are interested in keeping tabs on stuff like this, I highly recommend the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Beggar them with lawsuits and throw the violent ones in jail.

For the mere bullies among us, a lot can be accomplished by simply showing up whenever they do.

We buried a guy from my town who was killed in Afghanistan a couple of years go. Of course, Fred Phelps and his miserable followers showed up to tell us all how this guy was now burning in hell.

Phelps had 14 people there, the town had several thousand. The point was made.

When the racists, the nazis, or any other variety of bully shows up anywhere near you, you show up too. If they send 10, you send 100. If they send 100, you send 1,000. If they send 1,000, you send 10,000.

The point will be made.

Thanks -

also, much as I love your writings, Thullen, I would suggest you reconsider the use of "cocksucking" as an insult. Just sayin'.

"For me (I can't speak for Gary)"

Probably usually you can.

"Try something like...."

Yep.

"Before we make a choice we may regret for the next four years, the accusations against Barack Obama should be carefully considered, as they are here."

Link: "I was thinking about Jefferson Davis as John McCain announced earlier this week that he would not attack Barack Obama for having met a 1960s radical in the living room of a prominent Republican supporter of McCain. The former radical had helped bomb some vacant buildings decades before, when Obama was a small child. Obama as an adult had agreed to serve on a charity set up by the McCain backer. The former radical had also been asked to serve. They had crossed paths a couple of times later doing charity work. McCain would not play dirty with this association-that-was-no-association."

You seem rather confused.

Also, it's "supremacists," not "supremecists."

also, much as I love your writings, Thullen, I would suggest you reconsider the use of "cocksucking" as an insult. Just sayin'.

Too much Deadwood for Thullen?

(intended)

I totally hate it when the posting rules impinge on Thullen.........

Well, I've nothing whatsoever against c---------g.

But when my conservative friends throw around terms like "unpatriotic" and "unAmerican" and whatever other insults they like to use for liberals and Democrats and Obama and Hillary Clinton, I calmly point out to them that they wouldn't like it if people went around calling THEM "c---------s, now would they?

THEY think it's an insult.

It's amazing how many dinner parties a guy can bring to a dead halt by calling people c---------s, when not two minutes before that THEY were calling liberals u---------c, or t-------s.

But, yeah, I need to go fishing with DaveC.

ah, I see your point. still, open to misinterpretation. can I offer "goatf*ckers" for future use? similar syllabic and consonant structure.

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