Chickens come home to roost

Even John McCain’s supporters don’t care for his campaign’s tactics of attacking Obama with lies.

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin has referred to her own campaign and its supporters as “atrocious and unacceptable.” She told the Christian Broadcasting Network:

If I ever were to hear that [threats to Senator Obama] standing up there at the podium with the mic, I would call them out on that, and I would tell these people, no, that?s unacceptable, let?s rise above that please.

Asked whether that denunciation included her own claim that Senator Obama has been “palling around with terrorists,? however, she said “I would say it again.”

Speaking to reporters about the vicious, dishonest and dishonorable robocalls being run by her campaign, Palin stopped just short of denunciation: “If I called all the shots, and if I could wave a magic wand, I would be sitting at a kitchen table with more and more Americans, ?, and not having to rely on the old conventional ways of campaigning that includes those robocalls, and includes spending so much money on the television ads that, I think, is kind of draining out there in terms of Americans’ attention span. ? They get a bit irritated with just being inundated.”

Of course, her voice appears on the latest robocalls being issued by the McCain campaign. But it’s the thought that counts.

Alas, though, other McCain supporters didn’t get the message. While the folks in the video above stood up to a man making “racist” attacks on Obama, not to mention the entire Islamic religion (a religion to which, it must be noted, Obama does not belong), the folks in the videos below are actually protesting against voters.

One lone voter stands up against the tide, but protesters insist that it is “cheating” for folks to be voting, especially on a Sunday. Other protesters refer to voters with the phrase “terrorist connections,” though it is hard to imagine what they think that means.

Now, I was in an unnamed state helping turn folks out to vote last weekend, and I have to say that it is profoundly offensive for anyone to protest against voters. Protest against a candidate. Knock on doors or stick literature under people’s windshields (as we saw anti-woman/anti-abortion groups doing last Sunday). But don’t attack people for exercising their franchise.

That act is profoundly un-American.

Sarah Palin commented last week that she considers certain areas, the rural parts in particular, to be “pro-America.” Michelle Bachmann, a Minnesota congresswoman, expanded on those comments, telling Chris Matthews that she is “very concerned that he [Obama] may have anti-American views,” adding when pressed, “I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America. I would love to see an exposť like that.”

John McCain has not taken press questions in nearly a month, but Sarah Palin responded to Bachmann, rambling that “Well that’s quite subjective. I would think that anybody running and wanting to serve in Congress is quite pro-American because that’s what the mission is, to better this country, so I would question the intent of that.” Colin Powell, in endorsing Barack Obama’s presidency, specifically called out such attacks as a reason why he is splitting with his party’s ticket.

And frankly, Palin’s statement doesn’t go far enough. Not for me, and clearly not for General Powell. There are enough weasel-words in Palin’s comment to drive a truck through, and McCain/Palin have not specifically repudiated these attacks on their opponents’ patriotism. Nor have they repudiated the claim that there are parts of this nation which are anti-American. But when I look at the video of people protesting against voters, I can think of no other word to describe what I see.

i-96ba9cee0f3f49b77c27848cf67c4647-NClynching.jpgVoting is a foundational American right. People died for that right, not just in wars, but on bridges and roads, and on nooses strung from tree branches, throughout the South. The men in the photo to the right were hanged in Salisbury, North Carolina by a mob.
i-1c66cc242310d3c283448809c755f7be-Duluthlynching.jpg In the photo to the left, you see three men lynched in Duluth, MN, only a few hours north of Michelle Bachmann’s district.

And below you see the faces of three men murdered in 1967 by the KKK, shot and buried in a swamp, for going to Mississippi to register black men and women to vote.

i-fb678552c426d952b0196b49673c2c71-GoodmanChaneySchwerner.jpg

If McCain-Palin won’t stand up for everyone’s right to vote, then it falls to the rest of us to do it for them. That right is too fundamental to be toyed with like this. If you don’t like how other people vote, the solution is not to protest against them, or to play dirty tricks to keep them home. The solution is to do what Barack Obama did: organize your community and get people out to vote.

Unfortunately, the GOP’s plan runs less to turning more voters out than doing everything they can to obstruct the rights of voters. The Michigan Republican Party just settled a lawsuit, and acknowledged that they had tried to illegally interfere with the rights of thousands of citizens to cast their ballot. Ohio Republicans have been repeatedly rebuffed in their efforts to get as many as a third of newly registered voters kicked off the rolls over typos from their voter registrations, or typos in other government databases. Washington’s Republican party recently withdrew similarly bogus challenges to voter registrations. UPDATED TO ADD: Don’t forget about Mark Jacoby, a Republican activist, has been arrested for voter registration fraud. This means that more Republicans have been arrested for voter registration fraud (1) than Democrats (0). UPDATE II: Note the incompetent attempts to disenfranchise early voters in Democratic parts of Indiana.

i-a373c26db8886cbf4208e0430f791857-MccainsVA.jpgUPDATE III: Furthermore, ponder the words of Congressman Robin Hayes, Republican from North Carolina (again). Hayes warned a crowd of supporters to “make sure we don’t say something stupid, make sure we don’t say something we don’t mean,” Hayes (trailing Democrat Larry Kissell in the polls) continued to “accuse[] Obama of ‘inciting class warfare’ and said that ‘liberals hate real Americans that work and achieve and believe in God.’” While we’re talking about “real Americans,” let’s note that McCain-Palin spokeswoman Nancy Pfotenhauer recently dismissed talk that they will lose Virginia: “I certainly agree that Northern Virginia has gone more Democratic. ? But the rest of the state ? real Virginia if you will ? I think will be very responsive to Senator McCain?s message.” Asked to clarify that last bit, she added “Real Virginia, I take to be, this part of the state that?s more Southern in nature, if you will.” The real Virginia is the part with more “Southern ? nature,” eh? I feel much better about using the lynching photos now. Note that the term “lynching” is believed to be derived from the actions of one Charles Lynch, a Virginian famed for his rough justice in the late 18th century. (Figure at right via.)

UPDATE IV: Tires slashed at an Obama rally.

Lynne Steenstra said it cost $120 to get her van towed and repaired. ?

“It hasn’t deterred us one bit,” Steenstra said. “It has only encouraged us more. I just hope whoever did this pays the price.”

Obama’s North Carolina campaign spokeswoman Susan Lagana said it was disappointing that the candidate’s supporters had to experience the vandalism.

Sarah Revis ? said she saw a single mother and a toddler stranded.

“This is an embarrassment to this city and to me as a citizen,” Revis said.

Whoever did this is dishonest and dishonorable, and John McCain is dishonest and dishonorable for creating the conditions which led to such acts of violence. See also “Obama Campaign [Volunteer] Allegedly Attacked“:

Nancy Takehara of Chicago says she was going door-to-door when she came across a disgruntled [Wisconsin] homeowner.

?The next thing I know he?s telling us we?re not his people, we?re probably with ACORN, and he started screaming and raving,? Takehara said. ?He grabbed me by the back of the neck. I thought he was going to rip my hair out of my head. He was pounding on my head and screaming. The man terrified me.? ?

?This negative stuff has to stop,? said Takehara. ?We?re all Americans. This is all about protecting our democracy, not about attacking each other.?

Takehara was encouraged when she had a message waiting at home from the candidate she is fighting for. Takehara called back and she and Senator Obama talked one-on-one.

Takehara said, ?Senator Obama understood? it was wonderful. It made me feel wonderful. It made me feel connected to this government again.?

END UPDATE!

If we’re going to toss around words like “anti-American,” I challenge anyone to tell me why I shouldn’t slap that label on these actions of the McCain-Palin campaign, their supporters on those protest lines, and the state parties working on their behalf to disenfranchise voters.

Comments

  1. #1 Davis
    October 21, 2008

    The phrase that immediately came to mind when I watched the videos of those protesters: “moral bankruptcy.”

  2. #2 Oldfart
    October 21, 2008

    I have a whole list of right wingers who won’t take emails from me anymore because I have pointed out just how unAmerican they, their “leader” Bush, their party and their attitude towards America is. I suggested to a couple of them that they should move to Iran to discover what it means to live in a non-secular country.

    You SHOULD slap those labels on McCain-Palin along with other labels like “socialism for wealthy people” and “take from the poor, give to the rich” and “pro-control”. Don’t allow the right wing to frame YOU. Frame them instead. Don’t allow them the moral high ground because they don’t deserve it, haven’t earned it.

    And they whine like babies when you use their own techniques against them.

  3. #3 NJ
    October 21, 2008

    WTF? Explanations, anyone?

  4. #4 Doubting Foo
    October 21, 2008

    That can’t be legal, to heckle people in line to vote! If I can’t where an Obama shirt when I go to vote then they can’t heckle me! This is complete BS!

  5. #5 Josh Rosenau
    October 21, 2008

    DF: I believe it to be a myth that you can’t wear an Obama shirt to vote. You can’t actively campaign within a fixed distance of the polls, but you can wear what you like while you vote.

  6. #6 Michael I
    October 22, 2008

    Depends on the state.

    There are laws in some states barring people from wearing (for example) t-shirts with messages supporting a candidate into the polling place.

  7. #7 Louis
    October 22, 2008

    In my state, Virginia (even in the not real VA parts, lol) one cannot wear anything supporting a candidate or party. The ACLU is fighting this and I am waiting for an outcome – hopefully before election day.