THE BLOG
11/12/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Republican Red Scare: The Smearing of Obama

The Republicans "October surprise" predictably unveiled itself last week as a virulent smear campaign of racially-tinged, fear-mongering insinuation. In a desperate attempt to deflect attention from an economic crisis and a faltering campaign, John McCain and Sarah Palin have begun shamelessly using Obama's "blackness" and alleged "Muslimy-ness" to suggest the biracial senator from Illinois is an extremist terrorist.

During the second, monumentally flaccid presidential debate, a condescending and smarmy McCain pointed to Obama and referred to him as "that one."

It would have been truly maverick had McCain simply dropped the ambiguous rhetoric, boarded his professed straight talk express and instead called him out as "that quasi Muslim," "that Hussein" or "that guy whose name rhymes with Osama."

Not to be out-mavericked, hockey mom and moose hunting vice-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, recently stated that Obama might "pal around with terrorists" due to his tangential connection to William Ayers, founder of the 1960s radical group the Weather Underground.

Furthermore, Palin took the racial cue from Senator Clinton and dusted off last spring's Reverend Wright card to imply Obama's anti-whiteness and racial radicalism. When William Kristol asked Palin about Wright, she replied:

"I don't know why that association isn't discussed more, because those were appalling things that that pastor had said about our great country. [Obama's former pastor said "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human."]

Palin continued:

"To me, that does say something about character. But, you know, I guess that would be a John McCain call on whether he wants to bring that up."

Undoubtedly, since both mavericks have now brought that up, one naturally assumes they adhere to the principle that a candidate's "association" should presumptively reflect his character. Employing their own standard, let's investigate Governor Palin's and Senator McCain's character based purely on their friends and associations.

Regarding extremist religious mentors, Sarah Palin's pastor, Larry Kroon of Wasilla Bible Church in Alaska, beat Obama's pastor in a "God damn-off" by suggesting the sinful conduct of Americans would invite God's wrath:

Listen, [God] is gonna' deal with all the inhabitants of the earth. He is gonna' strike out His hand against, yes, Wasilla; and Alaska; and the United States of America. There's no exceptions here -- there's none. It's all.

Not to be outdone in associating with angry, reactionary religious leaders, Senator McCain originally courted influential pastor John Hagee's support for his candidacy. The same pastor -- known for his anti-Catholic, homophobic and anti-Semitic remarks -- bellowed these tolerant and benevolent words of wisdom:

It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, God's chosen people, to their covenantal responsibility to serve only the one true God, Jehovah, that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day ...

Although McCain conveniently renounced this endorsement after a media firestorm, he originally said:

"All I can tell you is that I am very proud to have Pastor John Hagee's support."

One wonders what the crucial, yet undecided, Jewish voters in Florida think about such an association.

Sarah Palin, a political neophyte who made her national introduction only a month ago, recently stated that "it's really important for Americans to start knowing who the 'real' Barack Obama is." Apparently, two years of strenuous vetting by the media have conclusively shown Obama has never been a card carrying, registered member of the Islamic faith. Furthermore, he attended an Indonesian elementary school, or madrassa, during his youth, which was conclusively proven not to be a jihadi, Islamist terrorist training camp.

Meanwhile, Governor Palin, already embroiled in the unresolved Troopergate and Bridge to Nowhere controversies, has aggressively avoided impromptu press questions, instead opting to sit for only two thoroughly embarrassing one-on-one interviews. However, we do know that Sarah Palin's husband, Todd, twice registered as a member of the Alaska Independence party, a fierce states' rights group that favors Alaska's secession from the US, which is a treasonous and criminal act showing disloyalty to one's nation.

Yet, true character has been exclusively reserved for John McCain, a man who takes immense pride in his sage wisdom borne from years of experience as a war veteran and US senator. He assures us his clarion judgment will help steer America from the brink of economic disaster towards a new destination of financial prosperity.

However, he conveniently fails to mention his association with Charles Keating, he of the infamous Keating Five savings and loan scandal that cost the federal government nearly $2 billion and defrauded nearly 23,000 bond-holders, including senior citizens who lost their life savings. Although Senator McCain was cleared for his involvement in the scandal, the Senate Ethics Committee specifically criticised his "poor judgment."

Perhaps that poor judgment reflects his choice of advisers, such as campaign manager Rick Davis, co-founder of a lobbying firm, Davis Manafort, that was paid $15,000 a month by Freddie Mac for consulting.

According to the New York Times, "Davis took a leave from Davis Manafort for the presidential campaign, but as an equity holder continues to benefit from its income."

Furthermore, two of McCain's top advisers were recently lobbyists for Ameriquest Mortgage, a lender involved in the recent mortgage meltdown. In March, the Daily News reviewed disclosure forms and reported:

"John Green, [Senator McCain's] chief liaison to Congress, and Wayne Berman, his national finance co-chairman, billed more than $720,000 in lobbying fees from 2005 through last year to Ameriquest Mortgage through their lobbying firm."

One wonders how McCain can reform the economy when his closest associates consulted for some of the players deeply involved in the current crisis.

These questions warrant intelligent inquiry, honest disclosure and thorough analysis. Who has time for such elitist endeavours when fanning the flames of fear-mongering, racial hysteria and smear politics is so much more effective?

If indeed Senator McCain and Governor Palin believe one should be assumed guilty merely by one's associations, perhaps they are no better than "that one."