John McCain and Sarah Palin continue to campaign at some of the basest levels we’ve seen in recent years. Sarah Palin now regularly throws “meat” to racist bigots that I’m embarrassed live in America. Does she believe that her best and maybe only hope of becoming V.P. at this point is to incite an assassination of Barack Obama? The simple fact that she dresses it up in lipstick and says it with a smile doesn’t make it any better.
The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank described this scene in Clearwater, FL:
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.”
Cindy McCain has joined her husband in the nasty, angry tirades. [Spreading more lies about “Obama not funding the troops in Iraq” when this is equally true of McCain who refused to back a funding bill for U.S. soldiers in Iraq that had a withdrawal timeline.]
And John McCain continues to dwell on the fact that Barack Obama has served on non-profit boards with former Weatherman Bill Ayers, even though the two are not even close friends and Ayers is now a tenured professor in Chicago, Ayers been commended for his recent educational work, and got a Citizen of the Year award from the city of Chicago in 1997. [Not to make light of the subject, but Jon Stewart nails what is going on.]
His latest is this “about-to-air” commercial which the New York Times calls “paint-peeling” in tone (10/10/08)
I know McCain is embarrassed that he is not stronger on the economy, and E.J. Dionne has noticed that McCain, in his campaign desperation, has decided to start putting “John McCain First” rather than “Country First” as his campaign slogan claims. The only mark that McCain has any scruples is recent claims that he has put the brakes on advertising that tries to make hay out of comments of Obama’s ties to his previous pastor, Rev. Wright; McCain apparently, as least as of today, feels that this is a bridge too far. Let’s hope he holds on to at least this shred of campaign decency, even if his campaign numbers fall further, and current polling shows a 168 point electoral landslide for Obama.
One would hope that McCain would have learned something positively from the nasty smear campaigns that George Bush’s campaign ran against McCain in 2000, but instead he appears to have learned: ‘if you can’t lick ‘em, join ‘em.” Desperation has no fury like a McCain scorned…
Let’s hope that Americans have greater common sense than to fall to McCain’s baiting.
Coda: David Tanenhaus, who met Ayers and Obama in the early 1990s, writes about how Ayers’ 1997 book A Kind and Just Parent: The Children of Juvenile Court and the serious national discussion that ensued ushered in policy reforms of blended sentences, “whereby kids, even though tried as adults, received suspended sentences and were then referred to juvenile programs instead of rotting away for years in adult prisons.”
By the late 1990s, such ideas had become part of the national dialogue. Approaches that Ayers helped publicize were being adopted in several states—including Texas under then-Gov. George W. Bush. Juvenile justice was, in fact, a cornerstone of Bush’s “compassionate conservative” agenda. In his 2000 acceptance speech, he spoke movingly of a 15-year-old African-American boy he had met at a juvenile jail in Marlin, Texas, who had committed a “grown-up crime” but was still a “little boy”: “If that boy in Marlin believes he is trapped and worthless and hopeless—if he believes his life has no value—then other lives have no value to him, and we are all diminished.” The passage could have come directly from Ayers’ book….
Leading Chicagoans, including Mayor Daley, now commend Ayers for his service to the city. “I don’t condone what he did 40 years ago, but I remember that period well,” Daley said last April. “It was a difficult time, but those days are long over. I believe we have too many challenges in Chicago and our country to keep refighting 40-year-old battles.”
See a related comment on McCain’s deplorable tactics in Gail Collins’ “Confessions of a Phone Solicitor” (NYT, 10/23/08)