“Kill him” and “terrorist” were hollered by audiences this past weekend in stump speeches by Sarah Palin and John McCain. Just as when McCain was asked “how do we beat the bitch…” he smiled and waved like the mischievous penguins in the kids film Madagascar.
Sorry, but threatening someone under United States Secret Service protection — let alone injecting blatant racism like McCain and Co. have this week — is a point where both should have grabbed the microphone and stopped it. If McCain wanted to lead he should have done so and said, “no, Senator Obama is a committed and dedicated man just as I am and I will not tolerate that kind of talk from anyone supporting my campaign.”
How will anyone govern after this bitter fight? I thought the Democrats were polarised after the primaries, but this is ridiculous. The problems we face require bipartisan support and working together. Here in the United Kingdom, Tories and Labour do not like each other but the rancour between Dems and Repubs is toxic and hurtful.
I don’t recognise my country anymore. Twenty years ago, it would be unthinkable for a national party leader to play the race card, link Obama to terrorists, call him Hammas’ best friend, and blatantly use smear tactics that are simply lies.
And this is what we can expect for the next 27 days. The CNN flash poll result shows Obama winning and his favourables continuing to rise. That cannot be good for McCain. And the cesspit (below the gutter) is the only place McCain can go to win and even then he will so alienate the country and the world, how will he govern?
Obama did well to bring Hillary Clinton supporters into the fold after a bitter fight. He faces a tougher task this time around.
McCain referring to Obama as “that one” was the kind of condescending and patronising language that is not helping him. Leaving the debate hall early to get to his hotel while Barack Obama stayed behind and talked to everyone who wanted to speak with him, was more of a true Town Hall moment than at any other point in the program.
The debate tonight was a push to a slight win for Obama. McCain needed to win decisively. Obama looked cool, calm, and collected. McCain was tense, angry, and patronising. He needed to hit it for six and instead got a single run off the bowler’s bobble of a ball he should have caught (cricket reference for a baseball infield single vs hitting the ball out of the park).
The rules were so watered down that no one could hurt themselves fatally. Billed as a town hall, it was more of the same. Not very original and not very inspiring.
McCain has one last chance left. By next Thursday, we’ll be so mired in mudslinging will anyone even care by then?
I so fear for my country and its deep, deep divides. How can we become a force for truth and justice in the world again if we cannot even conduct ourselves with some decorum and better deportment in a campaign watched around the world?
In the words of those pesky penguins who hope no one is watching, “just smile and wave boys… smile and wave.”
I’m not smiling and neither should you.
Denis Campbell is a US journalist based in the United Kingdom. He contributes to newspapers and magazines, is a BBC Radio election commentator and publishes the daily e-magazine The Vadimus Post from the Latin Quo Vadimus – where are we headed and do we know why?
Articles by Denis Campbell