With examples like John McCain and Sarah Palin, it should be no surprise that Republicans in tough races are using increasingly divisive tactics. Instead of focusing on specific targets, they are attacking voting blocks, questioning the patriotism of all Democrats and entire regions of the country. The adage "If you don't study history, then you are doomed to repeat it" is a good one to remember in this period of nasty Rovian politics.
To remind us who these people are -- beyond Palin and McCain -- I've made a list below of elected representatives using fear to win their races. Send me anymore examples here. (Including McCain surrogates' attacks would make this entry thirty pages long). As Arianna Huffington said in a recent post, "Rovian politics may or may not end up destroying the GOP. But, thanks to the Internet, with a bit of luck it will no longer have the power to befoul our democracy."
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) displayed her demagoguery on MSNBC's "Hardball" last Friday when she suggested that Obama harbored "anti-American" views. She also suggested a congressional witch hunt was needed -- not unlike Joe McCarthy's destructive 1950s campaign -- to "find out if they are pro-America or anti-America." Bachmann's comments elicited a windfall of donations for her opponent, Elwyn Tinklenberg, and a campaign to censure her.
Watch the video below:
Upstate New York Representative Randy Kuhl charged Tuesday that his Democratic colleagues in Congress wanted to "hurt" Americans. "I firmly believe the Democratic majority wants the American public to suffer and to hurt so that they can make some political gains at election time, and I think that's wrong." Watch the video:
North Carolina GOP Representative Robin Hayes was caught in a lie on October 18 when said that "liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God." Hayes' campaign claimed he never uttered those words ... until the tape showed up. Watch it below:
These three representatives, struggling against the downward tug of McCain's poll numbers, shouldn't be condemned alone for their comments. They are cogs in a machine that has launched a concerted effort to draw lines across the country. The McCain campaign's one organizational achievement in this election has been launching a campaign of "us against them." Palin, the central attack-dog in the effort, ratcheted up the intensity on Thursday when she referred to the "pro-America areas of this great nation." After six days of letting the words percolate and foot soldiers carry the message, Palin apologized yesterday on CNN for questioning Americans' patriotism.
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