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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

frightened horses « Previous | |Next »
October 12, 2008

It can't be a good thing when your support base starts scaring people. Rallies and town hall meetings are supposed to fill our tv screens with cheering, happy, enthusiastic, bunting-bearing, optimistic supporters and elevate our feel-good meters. It's not quite turning out that way for McCain.

Nicholas Gruen is prepared to give McCain the benefit of the doubt, figuring he's probably a decent person in real life:

Anyway for whatever reason, after fanning the flames of hatred towards Obama - “is he one of us?” - McCain seems to have gone to one of his town hall meetings and deliberately tried to hose down the psychosis amongst (a quite sizable group of) those attending his rallies and town hall meetings. Is this because he’s reverted back to the ‘earlier McCain’ who was supposed to be a person of integrity come what may, or is it just the latest knee jerk change of pace when confronted with the failure of his escalating divisiveness.

Maybe he is a decent person, but it's not McCain that some people are finding so alarming. Rather, it's the values, beliefs and behaviour of some of their fellow Americans.

Nicholas' favourite lefty, Kathy G, posts a bunch of YouTube videos of McCain supporters being scary, although to be fair, they're being stirred up for the cameras. She says,

I am seriously scared for my country. In my entire life I can't remember when the nation has been gripped by an angrier, uglier mood. And the worst of the financial crisis and accompanying economic meltdown hasn't even begun to hit yet. If this is what it's like now, what will it be like later?

I'm trying not to be a drama queen about this stuff, but honest to God, I am very scared for Barack Obama. Just watch those videos again. Look at the faces of those people. Listen to their voices. I don't know what's scarier: the ranting hysterics, or the ones who, with cool, calm, unembarrassed certainty, aver that, oh yes, of course they know that Barack Obama is a terrorist who hates America.

A terrorist who hates America and organises dead people to vote for him. It's the sort of thing that's worked for the Republicans in the past, but it's just not anymore. It's all rather firewall campaign-wise, but what of the longer term social fallout?

Cam's got a pretty pie cloud which suggests that the Republicans are in a tad more trouble than the temporary kind you get when you make bad candidate choices. He anticipates a Presidential and Congressional blood bath. Appealing to the poor and uneducated while running the country badly turns out not to be a winning combo after all.

Newspoll currently has Obama leading 52-41 a month after they were tied at 46. And he's taking the Electoral College as well.

Not defending nastiness here, but it's hard to imagine how these people who truly hate and fear Obama will cope if he wins. What would it be like to be saddled with a President you honestly believe is a terrorist-loving, military-hating, baby-eating traitor? How much worse would it be if it turns out to be the landslide anticipated? Worse again when it happens in the current financial climate. John 'America First' McCain could do worse for his supporters than thinking on such matters for a while.

| Posted by Lyn at 10:37 AM | | Comments (13)
Comments

Comments

Glenn Greenwood has a good run down of the polls in his The Right and mainstream America: a universe apart post over at Salon

... it's not McCain that some people are finding so alarming. Rather, it's the values, beliefs and behaviour of some of their fellow Americans.'

Count me out of the 'some people'. It's completely unsurprising that Obama has flushed out the US equivalent of Pauline Hanson's One Nation in all their malignant ignorance.

The person I find alarming is John McCain: an unstable, deranged, unintelligent man who is in love with his own righteousness, convinced of his mission to rule and absolutely committed to using coercion as the first response to any and every international obstacle.

Have just arrived from the "
Age" where I was reading about Palin's downfall and then an article which at first appears to have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with above.
This is an article by an academic David MacNight, about Exxon in strife with its own shareholder including members of the Rockefella family over climate change denial funding, including the attitude that science and dicoveries like climate change, are a leftist plot "political orthodoxy" rather than an objective discipline and relates indirectly to the crackpot Lavoisier group and (Wikipedia) Jennifer Marohasy, a local think tank patholog cloned out of Albrechtsen and Devine .
Putting it together the connection is the culturally or pathologically imposed lack of consciousness and self reflexivity of the Right; a dominant pathology of denial, control and emotive nastiness that involves the INABILITY thru internal utter suppression, to recognise and admit reality and truth when it bites a subject in the face, that is exactly what Kathy G is likely worried about.
And what better example of the mentality than Palin, in light of Troopergate!

Gary, if it's true that poll results influence people's opinions that's a terrible bunch of numbers. And because this has been such a controversial part of the campaign I imagine it's all getting a decent run in US media. An interesting few weeks ahead.


Yeah, Ken, well there's that too I guess. Everything I know about McCain I've learned since the Obama/McCain face off started and I see very little of the decent bloke with his heart in the right place people keep saying he used to be.

Paul,
it sure looks as if McCain has let the Bush-Cheney operatives who took over his Republican presidential campaign talk him into running a scorched-earth campaign attacking Barack Obama. That campaign is now fully operational.

McCain appears to be shocked and unsettled by the anger and hostility he is hearing from his own base--Obama is an Arab, a Muslim and a terrorist; and whose popularity is responsible for the systematic crisis of the financial system. All the wingnut part of the base wants to hear is trash talk that smears Obama at every turn,

McCain has a problem with credibility ie.,

is he McCain is the hard-right conservative his associations suggest, or the independent maverick of all of his speeches; whether he's the conservative who kowtowed to the culturally conservative, free market base of his own party in the Republican primaries, or the pragmatist who endorsed a massive government intervention as soon as he was handed the nomination. Is this the McCain who said he would run a principled campaign and then took a hard right turn into the mud? Or is this the McCain who says walk softly and carry a big stick, but loudly counsels war with any number of states at a time when our military has been stretched to the breaking point by our conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq?

paul,
the conservative Republican fear and anger this year looks to be s so much harsher than it was when Gore or Kerry was running. The difference is race. A significant minority of the right-wing base are watching a black man with a Muslim-sounding name close this election, and they are not happy about it at all. They do not want a black president

Lyn,
McCain's image or brand as an honorable, straight-talker, partisan-mediator, maverick image is sure taking a battering. He's allowed himself to be associated with the dirt and mud throwing--eg., Obama the terrorist

There are good reasons why McCain's taken the turn to the hard Republican right --its the logic of the situation he finds himself in.

"There are good reasons why McCain's taken the turn to the hard Republican right --its the logic of the situation he finds himself in."

If the situation he finds himself in is one where their internal polling tells them they're doomed and it's time to adopt a firewall strategy to avoid annihilation, then yes, I can see the logic. I don't see the need to be so extreme about it.

As you say, McCain appears to be shocked at the reaction he's getting, but when you consider that none of this is accidental you have to figure 'appears to be' is where the emphasis should be.

They've been campaigning against Hussein Obama and Hussein Osama and other such nonsense. If McCain's surprised at the response I'm a monkey's uncle.

saw some footage from a mccain rally where a lady in the audience was claiming tha Obama was 'an Arab'. Understandably, Mccain snatched the mic away before she could finish BUT he said: "no ma'am, no ma'am. he is a decent human being....". interesting....does that mean that Arabs cannot be decent human beings?

Lyn,
The logic of his situation is that he has to turn to the right in order to sure up his base, which doesn't trust him. he has to live with a Republican platform----eg.,on abortion, immigration----that he disagrees with.

Luke,
as New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd pointed out recently, McCain is essentially the arsonist who helps set a fire in someone's house and then tries to take credit for keeping it under control, if not putting it out.

Lyn
Michael Tomasky in the Guardian says that:

McCain's campaign is now at the point – seven, eight points behind with just three weeks remaining; also, unsure of its message and direction – where the political pros in the party start making choices. They look at the amount of money the party is bringing in. They look at the state of McCain's campaign and start making sober calculations about the chance of his winning.

With fewer resources at their disposal than the Obama campaign, the Republicans are going to have to start making choices soon about what to defend.

Nan, it looks to me as though they made that choice when they decided to track into wingnut territory. The campaign has been sticking with safe territory geographically and culturally, defending its patch. It looks as though they know they're gone.

As Cam's purple pie cloud shows, their support base is broke people. Appealing to that base cruels their fundraising.