Saturday, October 11, 2008

Rage Grows at McCain/Palin Rallies as Obama Strides Toward Victory

by Mark C. Eades

Red-faced, racially-charged Republican rage appears to be growing at McCain/Palin rallies as Barack Obama's national and swing-state lead over John McCain continues to build. New videos from McCain/Palin events in Pennsylvania and Ohio provide an up-close look at the face of hate as McCain/Palin supporters shout abuse at reporters and at peaceful pro-Obama demonstrators. These echo written accounts from McCain/Palin events published recently in the national press.

Video from a rally in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania includes shouts of "Obama is a terrorist!" and "Obama is a Muslim!" in addition to epithets directed at pro-Obama demonstrators such as "commie faggot" and "socialist swine."

Some even shouted, "Go back to Russia!" as though lost somewhere back in the middle of the Cold War. One man shouted "Die...! European socialists!" at pro-Obama demonstrators.

When asked by the videographer if he really thought they should die, the man replied: "Everyone dies, don't they?"

Asked by a pro-Obama demonstrator if a rape victim should have to pay for her own rape exam (as in Wasilla under Palin's watch as mayor), another McCain/Palin supporter shouted: "She should die!"

Rape kit comment made at 2:15 on this link:

Video from a rally in Strongsville, Ohio includes similar charges that Obama is a terrorist and that he is a secret Muslim. Asked if she believed Obama is a terrorist, one woman affirmatively replied, "He has the bloodlines"; and referred to Obama's middle name, Hussein, clearly indicating that Obama's heritage makes him suspect in her view.

These video records strongly echo recent written eyewitness accounts from the national press. A McCain/Palin rally Oct. 9 in Waukesha, Wisconsin was observed by Michael D. Shear and Perry Bacon Jr. of the Washington Post, who describe intense anger toward Obama, Democrats, and the media among attendees. "I can't stand to look at him, I don't trust him.

I don't like the circle of friends he keeps, I don't like his policies...," one woman said of Obama, "...I'm pissed off by it. I'm beyond mad. How is he climbing up in the polls?"

Others at McCain/Palin events have shouted "treason" and even "terrorist!" at the mention of Obama's name, as the Huffington Post discusses in detail.

As Dana Milbank observes in the Washington Post, Palin's line of attack on Obama at an Oct. 6 rally in Clearwater, Florida, prompted one man to shout, "Kill him!" (a secret service investigation is currently underway in response to this incident, which is hardly good press for the campaign).

As Milbank further observes, Palin's media-bashing likewise produced a hateful response from the crowd, who turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse while others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial slur at an African American sound man and told him, "Sit down, boy" (see also ABC News).

McCain appeared Friday (Oct. 10) to have finally come to realize that the anger and hate he and Palin have helped stoke might be getting a little out of hand. At a rally in Lakeville, Minnesota, McCain was booed by the crowd for suggesting a more respectful tone toward Obama, and was visibly uncomfortable when forced to correct a woman from the crowd who said of Obama, "He's an Arab" (see video).

McCain's feeble efforts at calming his crowd attest to the difficulty of getting the Hate Genie back in its bottle once it has been set free.

Mark C. Eades

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