We all knew, back in 2004 when some folks said: "You know, that Barack Obama, he could just wind up being the President one day," the other thought following it was that racism would be a big dynamic of the race.
Thankfully, race has not been a big issue over the last couple of years. It was the 400 lb elephant in the Democratic primary that didn't materialize because Obama's main opponent ended up being a white woman, not a white man. Hillary Clinton could punch and jab on a lot of issues, but race was not one of them. Hubby Bill's attempts in that realm backfired monumentally with African American voters who had felt that the Clintons represented them well over two decades.
Only in their dire desperation, the McCain campaign has invoked a racial hatred that has been diminishing since the 1960s as the country has become inclusive enough that a whole generation of young people can see Obama not as primarily an African-American, but as a qualified candidate for the highest office in the land.
The race issue, the terrorism associations with Ayers, and the voter stuffing nonsense with ACORN are built to win friends and influence people, but not the people that the media seems to be recognizing: EMBs.
EMBs are "Easily Malleable Voters," those lock-step, dogmatic chad-punchers who don't trouble themselves with fact or research, and merely look for someone to sound tough on issues in a simplistic enough manner to get a "Yeah!" out of that guy at the back of the audience who has been shouting "Kill him!" or "Terrorist."
The GOP strategy is two pronged, clear, and dangerous: Get as many of your voters who are already registered not to walk away and leave you at the polls, and disenfranchise as many of the new voters that the Obama campaign has registered as possible.
Today in Ohio, a Republican Judge amazingly agreed with the Ohio Republican Party that any discrepancies in the data entry of a voter's registration can be challenged. So if there is a problem with your address, or the entry of your driver's license or social security number, then you may be blocked from casting your vote.
The weak attack on ACORN is the smokescreen for a larger behind-the-scenes movement to undercut voting by the young people who are largely younger, largely poorer, and largely people of color. It worked in Ohio for Bush in 2004, and has become the GOP's new variation of Jim Crow for the 21st century.
What concerns me the most is that all of this thinly-veiled racism, and the hate speech that comes out of the Palin rallies in particular, will not go away after the election is over, and the elephant and donkey are taken out of the ring and sent to their winter home in Washington, D.C. People who are disenfranchised by the GOP will not forget it. Angry white voters who feel that "their America" is being diminished, or taken away, will feel justified in their anger because John McCain and Sarah Palin legitimized it, wooed it, spoke for it.
McCain camp people in the field, as Keith Olbermann so eloquently pointed out this week, are making plans to go door to door and continue to use fear of Muslims and terrorists and, by extent, people of color to help sell McCain.
How many of the nut-jobs in Palin's crowd are going to accelerate from just growling off-camera at a campaign rally to plotting to attack a President Obama? How many places will the racial discontent that McCain and Palin have fomented end up creating division and dissention that turns into a riot, a bombing of an African-American church, or, more frighteningly, give mega-nuts like Timothy McVeigh an urge to act on that anger in some explosion of violence like the Murrah federal building bombing in Oklahoma.
When you run an demagogic campaign that turns moderates like McCain into the wild-eyed ideologues like Sarah Palin, it fits him no better than the "Lock Box" repetitions fit Al Gore.
Win or lose, John McCain has turned loose an ugly side of white America's fear of inclusion of minorities in positions of authority. It is a genie which will be nearly impossible to stuff back into the bottle. Long after the results are known, and the next president is seated in the White House, these fringe folks will still be out there, will be angrier, more resentful, and looking for ways to take their frustrations out in their communities.
What will you do, Mr. McCain and Mrs. Palin, when the first act of violence that has spawned from your desperation happens? Will you comfort the mother who loses her child to a race crime? Will you rebuild the burnt church or school? How will you heal the communities that you ripped apart by allowing your blind ambition to let the people who espouse such hate to operate your campaign?
Even more unthinkably thinkable, given that we have had nuts like Chapman who take shots at Presidents, is the incredible wave of crazies that have been stoked by GOP hate fires that the Secret Service will have to contend with.
If, God forbid, Joe Biden has to take office because some nut got the idea that his or her actions would help the GOP take back White America, I would say that even Alaska isn't far enough away to escape the wrath of the good citizens of this country, Senator McCain and Mrs. Palin, for unleashing the dogs of racist hate.
Shame on both of you for doing it. Shame on Rove-Cheney forces inside the Republican party for engineering it. I truly hope that the economic conservatives take back your party and drive every last one of you out. You all are a cancer on the political process.
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