John McCain’s a frustrated man. In his heart, he knows that he’s not only the right choice for president — he’s the only reasonable choice. Yet, here he stands trailing in the polls, losing to someone who, in his opinion, wouldn’t be qualified to serve as a White House groundskeeper in a McCain administration. His contempt for Barack Obama runs as deep as the lines on his face – and he can’t hide it, even on the rare occasions he tries
His disdain for the man he referred to as “that one” was apparent almost from the beginning of the second debate, notwithstanding his attempts (unlike the first debate) to actually look at him once in awhile. He couldn’t stand being in the same room with the man. And so very quickly he fled, abandoning the “town hall” crowd almost immediately after the debate, leaving Obama alone to shake hands and chat amicably with the prospective voters in front of the television cameras.
To find himself trailing Obama in the polls is more than a disappointment to McCain: it is, as I’ve said before, an affront to his sense of honor. And there can be no more potent emotional brew than the mixture of righteous rage and unquenchable ambition.
So make no mistake: John McCain will do anything, short of overt prosecutable criminality, to win — and I mean anything.
Given all this, it’s hardly surprising that the McCain/Palin campaign has decided to play dirty. But, playing dirty is one thing: inciting dangerous people to potential violence is quite another. And this is a line in the sand the McCain campaign has been crossing with shocking regularity in recent days.
Much of this, of course, involves Bill Ayers. McCain and Palin have repeatedly attacked Obama’s patriotism in recent days based upon his very fleeting contacts with this former 60s radical. The attacks themselves, with their McCarthy-style guilt by association, are disgusting enough. But what’s even more troubling is the incendiary way they’ve been offered, which has, in turn, led to some truly frightening responses from certain McCain/Palin partisans.
This has included the use of threatening language directed towards Obama himself:
As ABC News reports:
As the rhetoric at Palin’s rallies has ratcheted up, so too has the language of supporters in the crowds coming to see her. At rallies in Florida, supporters were heard yelling “treason” and “traitor” when Obama’s name was mentioned.
At a rally on Monday in Clearwater, one man shouted “Kill him,” according to the Washington Post, after Palin mentioned Obama’s association with 1960s radical Bill Ayers. It was not clear who made the comment or if the man was referring to Ayers or to Obama, but the Secret Service says it will investigate.
According to Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, these pro-McCain thugs have also been turning on the press (especially African American representatives):
“At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African-American sound man . . . and told him, “Sit down, boy.”
Yet, not only have McCain and Palin continued to use the same (or worse) incendiary language on the campaign trail, they’ve entirely failed to condemn the excesses of their supporters.
To which I have to ask: Are these people nuts?
Even when viewed solely from the perspective of their own selfish political interests, this is pure lunacy. Surely, they must understand that dangerous people, including some with serious mental illnesses, often circle around the fringes of political movements. And it’s hardly unpredictable that this would become especially true when, for the first time in history, a black man is running for president as the nominee of a major party.
Forget for the moment the ultimate nightmare scenario — the one involving Obama himself that has haunted people from the very beginning of this campaign, long before McCain and Palin began deliberately fanning the flames of racial and cultural hatred. Without a doubt, direct violence against Obama is the most frightening possibility. But there are many other ways — not involving the person of Obama — in which one of these McCain enabled human bombs might explode.
What would happen, for example, if a small group of McCain supporters, sent into a fit of rage, let’s say, by McCain’s questioning of Obama’s “otherness,” physically attacked an African American or Arab American who happened to be walking by? Or what if a drunk at one of the campaign’s rallies, infuriated by Palin’s accusations against the press, threw a bottle at a television cameraman, hitting him on the head and killing or severely injuring him?
Do they seriously think either McCain or Palin could survive politically after such an incident, given the repeated warnings they’ve received?
Already, McCain may have missed one bullet in Louisiana, where a man was arrested for threatening to “empty his shotgun” if he didn’t get quicker action on receiving his voter registration card in order to “keep the nigger out of office.”
Whether they know it or not, McCain and Palin are playing with a bomb set to explode on a hair trigger. And if that happens, both their political aspirations and what little is left of their personal reputations are nearly certain to be among the casualties.