Monday, October 20, 2008

the nasty (presidential) race

It is inconvenient for me that I never remember how to spell "hypocrisy" without looking it up, because it is a word that is so very very useful in describing the Republican Party in general and the campaign of John McCain and Sarah Palin in particular. The former Party of Lincoln is running an increasingly racist campaign against Barack Obama.

You know it and so do I. So does Josh Marshall, who describes it well in his post warning Obama supporters not to assume victory. The McCain campaign is still hoping there is enough racism around to turn the campaign around - and by associating Obama with terrorists and Islam all the "non-real" America and being the dark (word chosen on purpose) and scary unknown "that one," they are helpfully reminding latent racists that surprise, Barack Obama is indeed black. From Marshall:

Stripped down to its components McCain's message to voters is this: "Don't forget. He's definitely black. And he may be a terrorist." That's the message. The nuts and bolts is a concerted effort to keep Democrats from voting -- through intimidation, by striking new voters from the rolls, which is going to happen to lots of them, clogging polling stations to create delays that keep late day (predominantly) Obama voters from voting altogether. Smears in the air and voter suppression on the ground.

And ironically the endorsement (for all the right reasons) by Colin Powell of Obama could play into this. Asked about it, McCain said it "doesn't come as a surprise". Now maybe my ear is straining to hear racist comments, but when I read that I assumed the subtext was "Powell is black, so is Obama, and you know those blacks all stick together". (Except Clarence Thomas and Alan Keyes, I guess.)

Oh and while talking of Republican hyprocisy (hey, got it right that time), I enjoyed this little NY Times piece about Republican men being particularly hot for Palin, comprising 2/3 of the audience at her pep rallies I mean Nuremberg/Klan rallies I mean campaign rallies.

One segment caught my eye:

"Katie Couric and Tina Fey are going to do their thing, but it doesn’t bother me at all,” said Rob McLain, an insurance agent from Avon, Ind., who attended a packed Palin rally at an amphitheatre in Indiana on Friday night. Mr. McLain wore a “Proud to be voting for a hot chick” button and was joined by his wife, Shannan (“Read my lipstick” button on lapel), and his 6-week-old son, Jaxon (“Nobama” button on beanie).
“The criticism is part of the process,” Mr. McLain said, adding of Ms. Palin, “Who can’t trust a mother?”
First, Katie Couric was merely committing journalism. Rob McLain, not a plumber and undoubtedly a Fox News watcher, simply doesn't recognize it since his preferred source of "news" doesn't actually commit journalism. The questions Couric asked of Palin weren't that hard - for a moderately prepared, remotely intelligent politician with national aspirations. It wasn't that hard. Dan Quayle did it all the time, and he came across like Einstein compared to Palin.

Second, somehow I doubt that Mr McLain would extend the trust for a mother to Hillary Clinton if she had won the nomination, or to Nancy Pelosi or Madeleine Albright or any other Democratic woman. Typical hypocracy I mean hypocrisy, although I wonder whether McLain and his ilk even have the self-knowledge to recognize that as a possible description of his statement. Rob just likes Palin because she is the typical right-wing male's fantasy: a woman who looks good in a short skirt who likes guns and hunting and hockey and spouts right-wing claptrap.



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