Palin Around With Terror
George Orwell once said that advertising was "the sound of a stick rattling inside a swill bucket." That's true enough, although the cadence since the Eisenhower days has gotten a little more syncopated, nuanced and complex, getting to the point where the product itself isn't being sold at all. Cosmetics manufacturers, said one ad executive decades ago, "weren't selling cold cream. They were selling hope."
In a way, Republican campaigning also rattles a stick in Orwell's swill bucket. The product, as with commercial advertising, isn't being sold at all. And McCain isn't selling himself or even hope for the future. He has nothing left to do but denigrate Brand X. The only thing they have to sell is fear itself.
America, it can be plausibly posited, is a lost country. There is no such thing as pre-9/11 America. And the all-pervasive disillusion with the rapacious, predatory opportunistic Bush administration that McCain is trying to resuscitate has pretty much put the unified America of 9/12 on the ash heap of history.
So what kind of country is America? What's left? Here's what I see:
I see an America that is complacent enough to see itself as a more liberal, tolerant nation simply because a man of color has gotten his party's nomination for the presidency of the United States. All too many Americans, especially white Americans, think the Civil Rights movement is not so much dead as retired, its work during the 50's and 60's done. And, on the face of it, it looks like a persuasive argument.
But it took George W. Bush five and a half years to address the NAACP. Early in the presidential campaign, nine out of the ten Republican candidates couldn't be bothered to show up for a debate hosted by that very same NAACP. Ken Mehlman aside, Republicans are so cynical and so dismissive of the African American vote that they don't respect them enough to try to lie to them in a serious outreach program.
Then along came Sarah Palin, the Klondike Queen from the Great White North to remind us what kind of America is left: We are a slightly muted version of ante-bellum America, in which half the states allowed a white man to own as many black people as he could afford and to treat them, in many cases, worse than farm animals.
Palin, addressing three different crowds in one day, repeated the meme that had actually wafted its odious way to Shepard Smith's preamble of the presidential debates in Tennessee last week: That Barack Obama was "pallin' around with terrorists." (note the plural noun.)
Republicans are fond of calling the kettle (and the current Democratic nominee for president) black when they themselves have been left in the fire of racial and religious hatred for decades. Palin is in no position whatsoever to be accusing Obama of "pallin' around with terrorists" considering her much more recent association with a certain African minister who used terrorist tactics to rid his village of an old woman whom he branded with Cotton Mather-esque zeal and tenacity as a witch.
This is the same party that loves to dust off Adolph Hitler and pull him out of their closet of horrors in the interests of comparing their self-perceived enemies to him while slyly eliding over the fact that they fought tooth and nail and used every dirty trick in Rove's playbook to install into the White House the grandson of a treasonous Nazi who was also installed in power decades earlier.
When McCain addressed a crowd recently, he asked, "What does that make (Obama)?", a banshee in the crowd shrieked with blood-curdling passion, "Terrorist!" McCain ignored the woman but the damage was done. And while it can be said that McCain, when all is said and done, is not running a campaign any dirtier than is typical of other Republican campaigns, it's also notable that McCain isn't doing anything in the way of making it any cleaner.
Telling crowds of a few hundred to take the high road and not compare Obama to a terrorist or to make race an issue is not the same thing as saying it on national television where millions can hear him.
Imagine if Obama did through Biden what McCain is doing through Palin: Imagine if Biden went out three times in a single day to tar and feather McCain for making a secret deal with the Communist North Vietnamese. Imagine the orgy of rage that would ensue. Take the reaction of Gen. Wesley Clark's respectful but matter-of-fact statements regarding McCain and multiply that by a factor of 100 and then consider how much damage it would've done to the terrorist-loving, treasonous, subversive Obama campaign.
Now, as always, there simply isn't even the faintest semblance of "fairness and balance" in the rules of engagement between the parties.
And McCain doesn't want to alienate this shrieking lunatic fringe en masse because he knows without these bigots and ignorant maniacs he has no chance. And said Stockholm Syndromed lunatics still loyal to the Bush administration prove pretty conclusively that McCain never truly had complete control of his own campaign. On at at least three occasions, Tucker Bounds has come out mere hours after McCain to say in so many words that John McCain doesn't speak for the John McCain campaign. That would be the same campaign that's controlling everything from what time at night he goes to bed to how much he can use his cell phone.
The antebellum pig hordes, lipstick or no, screaming and squealing out of instinctual hatred and fear, are the only customers for the only thing that Republicans have to sell these days, which is fear. Fear of anyone darker than them. Fear of anyone smarter and better educated than them. Fear of anyone more popular than them.
And McCain still has the support of over 40% of the nation. Think about that. That's a pretty big pig pen for a lunatic fringe and the stick, swill bucket and call of "Su-eeeee!" never fail to do their job.