We now know what the future is going to look like if the trends continue and Barack Obama is elected President with increased Democratic majorities in Congress.
Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) indicated on the Matthews' program ("Hardball") that the news media ought to do a thorough investigation of all members of Congress to determine who is "anti-American". She is clearly not alone in her sentiments, conflating "liberal", with "leftist", with "anti-American".
These sentiments are not new. Indeed, they have always been lurking, but were suppressed as the rightwing held either Congress or the Presidency or both.
In the 1950s a Washington State rancher, John Goldmark, held a state legislative seat from Eastern Washington in the Olympia statehouse. After serving 3 terms, he was defeated by a Republican who accused him of being a Communist. The evidence he was a Communist? He supported certain labor-friendly bills that were proposed by colleagues in the State legislature! His wife had been a casual member of the Communist Party in th 1930s and the Party forbade marriages to someone who was not a Communist [if only Karl Marx had had the opportunity of meeting the Rev Sun Myung Moon!].
Goldmark sued for libel. A very conservative jury in a very rural part of the state agreed with Goldmark.*
The McCain campaign is sending out RoboCalls whose script first associates Barack Obama with Bill Ayers, and then says what Bill Ayers did, strongly suggesting that Obama was "associated" not just with Ayers 40 years later, but with those acts. It follow then, as the night the day, that Obama will enact an extreme left wing agenda -- indeed, electing Obama President sounds mild by comparison to what he is "associated" with doing in the first part of the call.
As reprehensible as this is in any situation, the financial meltdown has raised peoples' temperatures, and the media is fanning the flames -- a very dangerous witches' brew to stir and that could easily lead to violence. ("McCain Media & Meltdown: A Witches' Brew for Election Violence", October 10, 2008)
The Republicans are also knowingly conflating voter registration fraud with voting fraud -- as if Mickey Mouse could show up and be able to vote, regardless of the registration.
The strategy is clear: win by any means necessary; if they lose, delegitimize the victory; once out of power, start the investigation of Members of Congress for Anti-Americanism.
Welcome to the next era of American politics!
*[Goldmark won. But, the Supreme Court decided New York Times v Sullivan before the damages were awarded. Goldmark was satisfied with his victory, and did not retry.
His son, Peter Goldmark, also a rancher, but also a Ph.D. in microbiology, is a candidate for "Commissioner of Public Lands" in Washington this year. ]