Thursday, October 09, 2008


When John McCain & Sarah Palin started praising Ronald Reagan, it should have been seen as a prelude for what was coming. In other words, when the going gets tough, the GOP brings forth the Good Old Southern Strategy -- racism. Reagan's presidential campaign was coda for the appeal to bigots as a political tactic. In fact, it was two years ago that the op-ed page of the NYTimes engaged in the "Great Debate" over Reagan's racist legacy. See here, here, and here.

And so, it's a case of here we go again.

Sarah Palin is the chief cheerleader of the strategy, Unleashed, Palin Makes a Pit Bull Look Tame:

"For me, the heels are on, the gloves are off," she announced at high noon Monday to a group of Republican donors at the Naples Beach Club.

You betcha.

As the donors sipped their bloody marys and mimosas, she added, in a conspiratorial stage whisper, "I'm sending the message back to John McCain also: Tomorrow night in his debate, might as well take the gloves off."

Darn right.

Of course, it's not only gloves and heels; headgear has a role, too. "Okay, so, Florida, you know that you're going to have to hang on to your hats," she said at a morning rally in Clearwater, "because from now until Election Day, it may get kind of rough."

Say it ain't so, Sarah!

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a McCain confidant, told The Post's David Broder that the campaign would "go down in history as stupid if they don't unleash" Palin. Well, the self-identified pit bull has been unleashed -- if not unhinged.

* * * *

Worse, Palin's routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media." 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 Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."
As noted by the Washington Post, the rally to rally the racists has brought out the uglies in full force. Josh Marshall of TPM observes, Who They Are, What They're About:
So we have McCain today getting his crowd riled up asking who Barack Obama is and then apparently giving a wink and a nod when one member of the crowd screams out "terrorist."

And later we have Sarah Palin with the same mob racket, getting members of the crowd to yell out "kill him", though it's not clear whether the call for murder was for Bill Ayers or Barack Obama. It didn't seem to matter.

These are dangerous and sick people, McCain and Palin. Whatever it takes. Stop at nothing.
As I said before, it's the GOP way. Before Rove was Reagan. Republicans perfected the code words to appeal to racists as a policy to sway voters long before a real life black democratic presidential candidate was ever considered to be viable. If it worked against white liberals, why not expect that it would succeed against the real deal?

And of course, Sarah Palin is the perfect foil to roil the haters. After all, she comes from the land of rural radicals and white supremacists, Intolerance thrives in Palin's Pacific Northwest:
Despite her efforts to portray herself as an average, small-town, 'folksy' American, Sarah Palin's political views - ardently pro-gun, pro-censorship, antichoice and antigay - make John McCain's conservative credentials pale in comparison. What few observers have said, however, is these beliefs are not just extreme - they are radical, and even bear a comparison with some of the most notorious 'rural radicals' of our time.

It has been years since groups such as the Montana Militia, the Posse Comitatus and the Sagebrush Rebels, and individuals such as Terry Nichols and Ted Kaczynski have made us wonder why so many 'angry white men' populated our rural regions. Many of us have forgotten the threat once posed by domestic terrorists and instead have turned our attention to foreign terrorists. But we should never forget that in the late 20th century, ultra-Christian, antistatist and white-supremacist groups flourished in the states of the Pacific Northwest - called by many the 'Great White Northwest' - the very region that Sarah Palin and her family call home.

* * * *

But the region also must be defined by its history of intolerance, resentment, antistatism and violence. Appearing in the region in the 1980s and 1990s were some of the most notorious "hate radicals" of our time: militia groups, survivalists, Identity Christians, secessionists, white supremacists and others.

* * * *
There is no evidence that Palin was ever affiliated with white-supremacist groups during her years in Idaho or at home in Alaska. On the other hand, the beliefs of ultraconservative, evangelical churches like her family's come dangerously close to those of the Christian Identity movement of those years. Likewise, Palin's husband was a member of a political party whose members favored secession for Alaska, suggesting an affiliation with radical antistatism.
Jonathan Valencia also has a round up of racist rant at PALIN LAND: The Gloves And The Hoods Are Off.

Some have argued that Palin/McCain should not be held responsible for the nasty conduct of those in attendance at campaign rallies. See, e.g., Palin McCain Thuggism Pt.2. I would ordinarily agree with that view, except in the case where, as here, the campaign intentionally promotes such a reaction based upon the subliminal messages sent by the candidates. After the gloves are removed, the blood is on their hands. Shaun Mullen suggests the same, saying:
[It] is incumbent on McCain and Palin to state unequivocally that hateful outbursts will not be tolerated and do not reflect their views.

We're waiting.
See John & Sarah: We're Waiting.

In the latest racist eruption, where McCain's campaign co-chair referred to Obama as a "man of the street," Josh Marshall queried, How Long Till The N-Word?.

My guess is that one's already a been there, done that moment.

(Cartoon via Pat Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune)

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