“They Are Who We Thought They Were”
Here we are, folks.
At that point of the presidential campaign we all dreaded, yet probably secretly waited for—like shamed spectators at an auto race. Ostensibly here for the thrill of the speed, but really there to see the end-over-end somersaulting of a race car into a pulsing fireball of “What the fucking fuck?”
We dreaded it, because of the ugliness we knew we'd see, this point in the election season. And yet, we waited for it with bated breath because we knew when it came it would mean that the earth had opened up and hell itself had licked its flames out and put a carbonizing third-degree burn on John McCain's and the GOP's pasty posteriors.
Here it is. Damn.
And what we've got in the last few days is the hard-core gridiron tackle (as opposed to the comparative primary-period scrimmage push) of the 'He's a Black Panther-y terr-a-rist!' meme against the front-runner, Barack Obama.
I'd create a Huey Newton in the wicker chair / Obama Photoshop mash-up to accompany this, but it'd probably fall into misuse...and besides, the words themselves should be read / heard unfettered...to let their naked fear-mongering be experienced raw and sticky, like the bad sushi it is.
SEDONA, Ariz., Oct. 4 --GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin opened a new assault on Barack Obama on Saturday, accusing the Democratic presidential nominee of being “someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists.”
Seizing on a New York Times account Saturday of the relationship between Obama and Bill Ayers, who has confessed to domestic bombings as a member of the Vietnam-era Weather Underground, Palin told Republican donors in Colorado that Obama “is not a man who sees America as you and I do -- as the greatest force for good in the world.”
Palin's comments came as Sen. John McCain's campaign signaled a new effort to go after Obama and were a distortion of what the Times story concluded: that the two men are not close but that Obama has played down his contacts with Ayers, who remains unrepentant about his actions but has been rehabilitated in the eyes of many Chicago political and civic leaders.
The comments underscored a new determination by the McCain campaign to try to regain momentum by painting Obama as a radical out of touch with Main Street.
The problem with this smear job is its very messiness. This is as tepid as tepid as old bucketwater, and is being slopped about carelessly with a raggedy mop by McCain and his dimwitted running mate, Governor Real Doll™ of Frostbite Fucking Falls.
There's a bitter venom in McCain's words about this on the stump these last couple of days. A bitterness born of frustration and what must surely be some gut-wrenching news on the internal polling front. The way he's spitting these barely-coded words:“Who Is The Real Barack Obama?”, a.k.a. “This man is not the Cliff Huxtable you think you see...it is Cinque, Plunderer of Pink-Fleshed Pulchritude!”, you can almost see the ghost-image of him standing next to himself, flailing about in sheer electoral-disaster panic.
And as for his attack chihuahua Palin, leave us just to say that her sad rhetoric and ironically pedantic style (as she is in NO position to even think she's smarter than anyone else on God's green earth, really), doesn't so much energize the base, so much as it repackages grainy, old Postum™ in a nifty Starbucks cup. And her mannered, incomprehensible condenscension has moved even my non-political 14-year old daughter to remark about her:
“She sounds like a second grade teacher subbing for a fifth grade class explaining stuff the kids already know. And she doesn't get that these aren't second graders she''s talking to. We get bored with teachers like that. I mean, you doodle. Or pass notes. Whatever. She's so annoying.”
When big “mean girl” / drama queen loses the little “mean girls / drama queens my friends, she has lost America. At least the America not spoon-fed to her at tightly-controlled rallies lest she ever, ever be exposed to people who might actually ask a hard question of her.
But the enfeebled McCain sent her out there, all smirks and snarls, while he works the other side of the street, stinking of Poli-Grip™ and stale cocktail franks as he harrumphs along, shaking his fist at the sky and cursing the clouds that offend him with displeasing shapes.
The GOP's externals (polls) are bad. We know this. And the internals are clearly dismal. We know this because of McCain and company's clumsy “going to the mattresses” as the situation has gotten dire. All the signs were there. Wingnut mouthpieces had gotten quietly depressed and when they weren't that, became self-reflectively pissy. So all pretenses of high-minded collegiality faded away. In its place? Random rhetorical rubouts—replete with the ritualistic, gangland “messaging” in the verbally violent attacks.
My natural impulse here is to pour myself a libation and extend a hand to that Marlene Dietrich-doppelganger named Schadenfreude, so we can dance the next twenty-sometrhing days away, giggling and a' canoodling.
But fun's fun, and what these attacks by the dangerously flawed McCain and his stultifyingly stupid hate-moll VP is stirring up most decidedly isn't fun. I've said before, “Politics ain't beanbag...but it doesn't have to be the 'ear scene' in Reservoir Dogs either.”
I'll amend that by adding “It also shouldn't be a crazed hog-holler to the unbalanced among us, to step in and mete out the rough justice of lynch mobs gone by.”
And that's just what the increasingly desperate Republican candidates are doing right now. Not so much igniting their base as they are putting jumper cables to their nads and cranking the juice to eleven. And those supremely sickest fucks in said base who get off on those zaps and the spastic jumps they make them do are now effectively a menace to be watched closely. Because the level of dealing with them if we don't watch them closely is one that'll set this whole country ablaze. (Via TPM)
After John McCain delivered the central question of his speech today -- “Who is the real Barack Obama?” -- the first, and loudest, supporter seems to yell:
McCain seemed to pause, and didn't denounce the epithet. I'd argue that there's no way to arrive at a conclusive answer as to whether he heard it or not, short of asking him and getting a frank answer. McCain could have been pausing to admire the pith and artfulness of his smear, or to bask in the adulation it brought. And McCain is not responsible for what some whackjob yells at his rally.
That said, the moment is uncomfortably revealing: McCain is now dabbling in the tactics employed in the most viral smears of Obama, if not to the same degree. No honest observer would dispute that McCain's speech today was about sowing fears of Obama as a risky, unknown, and vaguely sinister "other," and this supporter, at least, read the subtext, intended or not, loud and clear.
The “Monty Python and The Holy Grail” 'She's a Witch, burn her, burn her!' bit this reminds me of was quite funny. 'Cause John Cleese and Eric Idle were in it and are a couple of the funniest son-of-a-bitches on the planet. John McCain's as funny as an impacted bowel. And the lunatic he whipped up into yelling “Terrorist!” while smiling that Gila Monster smile of his was not funny in the least. That's a “watch list” motherfucker for sure, and McCain knows exactly what he's doing with this hate-hollering to the half-wits.
He's inciting shit. Plain and simple. But hey, he was in a POW camp for five years...let him have his nativist, lynch-mobby fun, eh? Then, it was critter-killin' Sarah Mae, The Barely Competent Snowbilly's turn at the Reichstag mic:
Worse, Palin's routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her “less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media.” At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, “Sit down, boy.”
And again, via TPM:
As I noted below, in his piece today about the abuse that Palin supporters heaped on reporters at a Florida rally yesterday, WaPo's Dana Milbank wrote that one supporter had hurled an unspecified racial epithet at an African American sound man before saying, "sit down, boy."
A reporter who was there tells me what that unspecified epithet was: “Uppity negro.”
Color me cynical...and brown, but for some reason, I do not think that “negro” was the stilted pejorative actually used in this bit of rabble-rousing-cum-torch party. Just a hunch, there. And Sarah's donning of the white for these appearances was also a nice touch. It plays off the blood from the red meat the idiot's tossing out there, as well as contrasting nicely with the sooty hands from the previous night's cross-light dontchaknow?
But then, things at the Palin rally started to get all 'last big scene from In the Heat Of The Night', minus the actors, lights and someone yelling cut, that is. No...this was very ver-i-fucking-té: (Via AmericaBlog)
Palin, again, told the lie that some of Obama's best friends are terrorists:
”Now it turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers,” Palin said.
“Boooo!” said the crowd.
“And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, 'launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,'” she continued.
“Boooo!” the crowd repeated.
“Kill him!” proposed one man in the audience.
Palin went on to say that “Obama held one of the first meetings of his political career in Bill Ayers's living room, and they've worked together on various projects in Chicago.”
(JOHN ARAVOSIS) “Palin went on?”
Oh, they'll play it off and say “Why, Ayers of course!”, as if that makes it all okay. But I think we all know who that little non-countenanced call to extermination was for. Palin and McCain are directing their fire at the opposing candidate. The Cracker Barrel-sitting whackjobs who are taking their cues here don't know Bill Ayers from an Air Rifle. But there's a guy they do know and have no problem showing a comfortable, natural hate for. A hate so strong they wear it on their sleeves. And their chests.
“Supporters” at a Sarah Palin Rally Carson, CA —October 4, 2008. By Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty.—Via Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish
Here we are, folks.
And as high-minded as we may aspire to be, to think the best of our fellow man, giving the benefit of the doubt because, “Hey, it's not really fair to make the blanket judgement—and let not caricature become the sitting portrait, right?”—when you look at McCain's and Palin's call to the rabid wild here, the words of former Minnesota Vikings / Arizona Cardinals coach Dennis Green ring so loud and true that they almost hurt.
“They Are Who We Thought They Were”
Do not ever assume good intentions with these people. They have no class to speak of. No scruples. Nor a heart that “feels” or beats or a brain that weighs and thinks. Just that vestigial brain stem with four simple tasks encoded within it. Breathe. Eat. Sleep. And hate.
And the hate “my friends” is just as essential as the other three imprinted there.
“Sit down, boy”. “Uppity N*gger.” “Terrorist!”
This is not the comparatively benign conjuring we saw during the primary season evidenced by Senator Hillary Clinton's flailing endgame words. No. These are twisted hemp and torchlight fantasies these people are playing with. Down and desperate and dirty and dangerous because it's all they have left.
It's “fuck reason...get the rifles” time.
The passive / aggressive shitstorm McCain and Palin are whipping up here, knowingly playing to the absolute worst in the worst of their supporters should give us pause even as his electoral chances have begun cratering. There's nothing to celebrate. here. On paper? Perhaps. But the rough, cautionary words of Pulp Fiction's “Mr. Wolf” to Jules and Vincent instantly come to mind (Alert—NSFW!). I don't know precisely if they are trying to incite actual violence against Barack Obama. As the ultimate “game-changer”, if you will, by stoking crazed, interested parties into eliminating him from the contest, thus paving a clear path for them.
I'm not that good of a mind reader.
But I can tell you that the GOP and by extension, its standard bearers were that to happen, wouldn't shed so much as a fucking tear over it. They wouldn't have a problem with it privately—while playing all concerned and somber for the cameras. On the campaign bus, and in the back rooms, these sooty-handed shitbirds would high-five and say Obama brought it on himself...fully aware that they are in effect handing out a ton of free “Knife-of-the-Month Club” subscriptions at a picnic for patients at a Hospital For The Criminally Insane with this game they're playing.
“We didn't do anything!” Oh yes...yes you fucking did.
And it's twenty-six more days of this stuff ahead. The call-outs of “otherness”. Stamping “terrorist” on his forehead, or simpler yet—pictures of the collapsing WTC towers, as the crowd they're playing to can't read for shit anyways. They will savage Senator Obama's wife and kids. They (fearful wingnuts) will stage things to make themselves appear the victim of uppity n*ggers feeling their oats over a change in D.C., and get all breathless and “Don't let this happen!” about it. They will trot out all manner of paid-off charlatans, axe-grinding gadflies, and miffed White folks who will talk of how the Obamas dissed them and sniffed at them, and didn't know their station in the order of things. There will be things done and said to inject and inflate the little “Bull Connor” in just enough flabbergasted crypto-racists to cause some truly awful shit to go down in this country should the present trend away from McCain's being elected continue, you can make book on that.
Here we are, folks. And again, “they are who we thought they were”. No Goddamn doubt.
So be prepared. Let nothing shock you. Call them on their shit when it goes down. Mock the hell out of them. They hate that, and it confuses them. Disabuse yourself of any thoughts of appealing to their better natures, or hoping for a consideration of collegiality amongst rivals or any such lunacy. Assume NO “good intentions” here.
McCain has gone to the mattresses, and if doing so means inciting physical menace against his opponent—so be it. That's cool...for him.
I've written about that “physical menace” before and its historical baggage. I'm ready to let go of some of its soul-bending weight. I've got a son and a daughter I don't want it crippling either. So the fight is on. Not just for ourselves, but for our future. America's future.
And I'll be damned if I'm going to let some delusional, avaricious, war-mongering, soulless hypocrite and his moon-eyed simpleton of a partner in retrogression seal us in the amber of the ugly America they so desperately want to preserve. Neither should you.
Twenty-six days. And here. We. Are.
No hanging back. Be a “Fighting Liberal” as Steve so eloquently said.
And let's kick some ass.