13 October 2008

The McCain-Palin Campaign: Running on Hatred & Fear

McCain and Palin both have invoked the specter of terrorism or socialism or both or something else really, really scary, trying to link Obama in the minds of their supporters to some imagined threat. Their followers seem are rising to the bait.
“A sense of grievance spilling into rage has gripped some GOP events this week as McCain supporters see his presidential campaign lag against Obama. Some in the audience are making it personal, against the Democrat. Shouts of "traitor," "terrorist," "treason," "liar," and even "off with his head" have rung from the crowd at McCain and Sarah Palin rallies, and gone unchallenged by them. [. . .]

When a visibly angry McCain supporter in Waukesha, Wis., on Thursday told the candidate "I'm really mad" because of "socialists taking over the country," McCain stoked the sentiment. "I think I got the message," he said. "The gentleman is right." He went on to talk about Democrats in control of Congress. [. . .]

The anti-Obama taunts and jeers are noticeably louder when McCain appears with Palin, a big draw for GOP social conservatives. She accused Obama this week of "palling around with terrorists" because of his past, loose association with a 1960s radical. If less directly, McCain, too, has sought to exploit Obama's Chicago neighborhood ties to William Ayers, while trying simultaneously to steer voters' attention to his plans for the financial crisis.” ~ AP
For more on all this I recommend this Op-Ed by Frank Rich the other day at The Times - even though Rich seems to be way too sanguine about the racial motivations of many American voters. Notice: this is the same variety of politics we've had from Bush and company - make people afraid and they will simply acquiesce in whatever duplicitous policy or program you promote.

Then, of course, there is this:

"I find that Governor Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52 110(a)of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act. Alaska Statute 39.52 110(a) provides:

The legislature affirms that each public officer holds office as a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust."

Branchflower said the evidence he gathered in the course of a two-a-half-month inquiry led to the conclusion that "Governor Palin and Todd Palin and her family have, over an extended period of time, endeavored to get Trooper Michael Wooten fired from his job as an Alaskan State Trooper." ~ Steve Branchflower, Report to the Alaska Legislative Council (10 October 2008)

So, as Governor Sarah Palin indeed had the power to fire Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. By that I mean simply to say that it was within the powers and prerogatives granted the Governor by the State Constitution. No news there. To the extent, however, that her reasons for doing so included retribution for Monegan's refusal to fire her former brother-in-law from his post as a State Trooper, she violated the law. And, that notwithstanding, she apparently stood by while her husband ran a vigilante campaign against the former brother-in-law. Before the right spins the report's infelicitous prose this way and that, the point is simple - omission and commission are two different things and Palin surely failed by omission. She ought to have ordered the 'first dude' to cut the crap. Even a maverick like Sarah should get that point. One interesting perspective in all this is that the Republican dominated legislature not only initiated Branchflower's inquiry, but voted to release his damning report. Maybe these legislators are members of the republican establishment that Sarah so frequently brags about having challenged. Political lesson: life is a repeated game.

The politics of fear and unabashed, unapologetic abuse of power. Yet more reasons - if you needed some - to vote against McCain/Palin.

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