After a week of whipping up his supporters into a Nazi-style frenzy against Barack Obama, McCain has nothing but points lost in the polls to show for it. It has not helped his campaign at all. In fact, it has hurt his standing in the polls.
McCain has spent a week raising doubts about the character of Obama, a campaign tactic that is tried and true and quite frankly fair game. However, what McCain has done is that he has gone far beyond standard campaign rhetoric. He and Palin have manipulated the anger of their die-hard believers into focusing their wrath, not on the problems of the economy and how they were created, but on Barack Obama himself. They have done this by portraying him as a dark and sinister character who can't be trusted. They have played into the ignorance of the "low information voters," the folks out there who work hard, obey the laws, try to pay their bills, and have been hit hard by the economic woes. But nevertheless, these people are prone to believe the internet rumors and urban legends about Obama such as the outlandish claim that he is a Muslim. If people believe he's a Muslim, the McCain camp knew that it wouldn't take much to get them to connect the dots by associating him with William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright. They have now, for this small segment of the electorate, created a dangerous brew of leading these people to believe that Obama is somehow un-American, an Arab, someone who consorts with terrorists, or even worse, a terrorist himself who is a part of an American sleeper cell.
This has got to stop. Bob Shrum today on the Huffington Post, has a good article about this. He recalls the McCarthy Hearings which ran out of steam when Boston attorney Joseph Welch said to McCarthy, "You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency sir? At long last have you left no sense of decency?"
Shrum says that someone should say those words to McCain. Indeed the wrath and anger generated at the McCain/Palin events could cause violence. That's why I say something "Nazi-like" is in a surreal way taking hold. Shrum ends his column tonight with this paragraph:
"The reality is that in an America facing two wars and a mounting economic crisis, these despicable appeals aren't working. Obama's lead is mounting, nationally and in the battleground states. But there is a threat here too that is all too real. When I heard someone in a Palin crowd yell out "traitor" as the candidate lashed out at the Democratic nominee, I thought of the full-page ad that appeared in a Dallas newspaper on the morning of Nov. 22, 1963. The headline -- "Wanted for Treason" -- was sprawled across a poster-sized photo of President John F. Kennedy." (Here's the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-shrum/time-to-ask-mccain-have-y_b_133814.html).
God help us!