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October 10, 2008


How to turn an ugly crowd into a scary crowd

McCain Palin puppets

McCain is in a tough spot. The Dow is down 40% since last year (20% just in the last 10 days!) and he's losing in states like Florida by a lot. His own desperation is starting to show in his supporters, and his latest strategy is riling up voters' illogical fear and anger. And talking about William Ayers, a topic I thought had already been played out last winter.

It's hard to see how Bill Ayers is relevant to anything in this election, especially now with the whole world falling apart, but a new McCain ad coming out today is largely about this guy.

Slate tries to set the record straight with an article by a guy who knew both Ayers and Obama in the 90's. These days Ayers, Chicago's Citizen of the Year in 1997, is best known for his work in education and juvenile justice reform. He's also worked on an approach to dealing with juvenile offenders that George W. Bush adopted as part of his 2000 campaign.

Reporters have noticed how riled up the crowds have been getting at McCain-Palin rallies this week. In Wisconsin yesterday, Slate quotes a man who probably expressed the anger and frustration that a lot of campaign staff is feeling these days: "I'm mad, and I'm really mad. It's not the economy. It's the socialists taking over our country." McCain started to respond, and the man shot back sternly. "Let me finish please. When you have an Obama, Pelosi, and the rest of the hooligans up there gonna run this country, we've got to have our head examined."

McCain decided this wasn't the best moment to bring up his socialist idea of the government buying people's mortgages. The Slate reporter also says that McCain's supporters gave members of the press the finger on their way out of the event (which he interprets as a "You're Number 1!" salute.)

At a rally in Florida earlier this week, Sarah Palin whipped the crowd into actual frenzy. From the Washington Post:

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."

Wow. It's desperate and ugly and sinister, and I doubt McCain himself supports this stuff. But his campaign is encouraging this behavior from the people whose votes he needs, so he's still responsible.

categories: Media, Politics, Race
posted by amy at 2:26 PM | #

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