Election 2008: Are we all on the sidewalk to nowhereIt’s starting to get ugly. With three weeks left in the presidential campaign and the country in the middle of an historic economic meltdown, tempers are hot and the populace is entrenched along party lines. As usual, the ten percenters to the far right and far left of middle are the ones making the most noise, leaving the 80 percent of us who reside in the middle more than a little bit concerned about the future of our country, if not our neighborhood.
It’s almost to the point where it’s hard to imagine a positive outcome to the presidential race, no matter which candidate one prefers. In the spirit of full disclosure, and as I’ve discussed earlier in this space, I am an Obama delegate and usually vote Democratic.
That said, it goes without saying that I am concerned about the anger and intolerance created as a byproduct of Obama’s projected lead as the presidential race nears the finish line. By now, we’ve all heard the stories: as Obama’s lead grew in direct relation to the deepening of the economic crisis, hard-core Republicans have become more and more frustrated and understandably so. I think it is fair to say that McCain has lost what was a three-point lead just over a month ago largely due to bad luck.
As the financial crisis unfolded, as each new day brought headlines in local dailies forecasting untold economic woes, points were shaved off of McCain’s lead until not only was he facing a 7.5 point deficit in non-partisan Real Clear Politics’ national poll-of-polls, he had also lost his leads in Florida, Ohio, Colorado and Virginia. Similarly, Obama’s margin had widened in battlegrounds like Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan causing McCain to withdraw from the latter completely.
Now back to the point I think it is fair to say that McCain really has no responsibility in the current financial crisis, and Obama really didn’t do much to earn the current swing in his direction. It’s just that age old James Carville mantra: when all else fails, “It’s the economy, stupid!”. Our country has a long and storied history of voting the bums out when economic crisis occurs. If a Democratic president was ending his term in the White House as this crisis unfolded, then McCain would be the one benefiting from the current swing in the polls. But that’s not how it worked out.
So back to the Republican rally-goers. They’re mad as hell, and they’re not gonna take it anymore, or whatever. They realize that the prize so close at hand just weeks ago has likely been wrested out of their hands due to a large portion of chance.
The RNC has initiated the Kitchen Sink period of the campaign, throwing every charge out there against Obama to see what sticks. Again, the DNC would do the same if they were down seven points with three weeks left.
But these charges aren’t enough to satiate the angry base they are out for blood. So when Sarah Palin brings up the William Ayers line of discussion, the riled up rally goers scream “Terrorist” and “Kill him” - and they’re not talking about Ayers. More and more often, we’ve seen the baseless charges that Obama is an “Arab” or that he is “Muslim” screamed out in defiance from the blood-thirsty charges (Sidenote: when did “Arab” become a slur in this country? What happened to tolerance?).
Now, let’s be fair and point out that, to the chagrin of some radio hosts and conservative commentators, John McCain has interrupted rallies to correct these fallacies telling one woman that she was wrong in charging that Obama was an “Arab”, and in another case, silencing a man who said he was scared that Obama was a “terrorist”. But while we are being fair to McCain, we must also be fair in shooting down the “we can’t blame the many for what a couple crazies scream out” theory. This defense has been trotted out ever since the media began broadcasting some of the comments emanating from the Palin rallies.
It’s just patently untrue.
CNN, the AP, and several other outlets have broadcast unedited segments where they stand outside and film the rally-goers on their way out of the rallies.
Person after person look into the camera, and in reference to Obama, with murderous rage in their eyes, throw out gems like “one-man terror cell”, “he’s got the bloodlines”, “traitor”, “communist @#$%^$”, “Socialist,” “Arab” and “terrorist”. I have provided links to several of these videos on the Off the Record blog at Lakestevensjournal.com. I ask you to take a look for yourself and see if these are people that you are proud to call brother and sister Americans.
Now back to the original thesis you know, the one about how it’s hard to see a happy ending. Let’s assume that the theory that people aren’t ready to vote for a black candidate turns out to be true. Many pollsters have theorized (see: “The Bradley Effect”) that black candidates poll five to seven points higher than the number of votes they actually receive because some people are afraid to admit a prejudice against a black candidate while being polled.
So let’s say that Obama is up seven points heading into election day, and let’s say he holds the same projected electoral leads he does today, with projected victories in the aforementioned states. But let’s hypothesize that in a stunning last second turnabout, McCain ends up winning the election in spite of the polls. Would you rather deal with the understandable rage and ethnic turmoil that would inevitably be touched off by such an inarguable demonstration of our country’s lack of racial progress?
Or would you rather see Obama prevail as currently projected, only to have a certain percentage of the country maybe as much as ten or fifteen percent frothing at the mouth, absolutely certain in their convictions that our Country is soon to be led by a Communist *&$%@$% Arab terrorist?
You have to admit, as of right now, it doesn’t look good, no matter which side you’re on.
Please visit Off the Record blog at Lakestevensjournal.com to see sourcing and hyperlinks in relation to this column. Kevin Hulten also maintains the Purple and Gold Pigskin blog at lakestevensjournal.com. Send comments to Kevin.firstname.lastname@example.org