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October 17, 2008

The Politics of Fear

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

- The Litany against Fear

Never frighten a little man. He'll kill you.

- Diaries of Lazarus Long

I woke at 3 a.m. this morning with that feeling again.

We've all felt that way: irritated and slightly paranoid. It's what happens when you drink one too many cups of coffee and haven't gotten quite enough sleep. Couple that with information overload and the ceaseless drip-drip-drip.... Chinese water torture bloviation of the chattering classes building from a sybilant whisper in the back of your mind to a staccato drumbeat that bids fair to drown out the pounding of fingers on the keyboard in front of you. That's a pretty fair representation of my state of mind at 3 a.m. this morning.

I've been struggling to make sense of this election. In many ways the experience is reminiscent of learning to swim as a small child. Despite my best dog paddle, my head keeps slipping underwater and a feeling of overwhelming weariness, of deadening weight is slowly overtaking my arms and legs. I don't know how long I can keep going through the motions. But my brain tells me if I don't keep moving, my lungs will fill up with water and I will drown.

Not a good feeling. But on the other hand, what a relief to stop struggling! Because I am tired of fighting. If only someone would reach down and pull me out of the water.

I hate what I see happening to my country. America the beautiful, land that I love. Last night I saw both the best and the worst of this election. It's been a long week at work and I've been kind of tired. My husband works too hard. I worry about him. Last night I worked late. About 7:30, I got ready to go to the grocery store

As I opened the front door, a tiny wren flew into the house!

I spent the next 20 minutes or so trying to guide this frightened little bird out of my living room without accidentally breaking one of its fragile wings. Not the easiest of tasks, especially in the dark. I had turned the inside lights out, and my deck and porch lights on, in hopes the lights would attract the little guy to one of the open doors, but he was too scared. It didn't help to have Sausage the Weiner Beast from Heck running back and forth while the wren flapped madly over my head. I could see frenetic thought bubbles forming just over Sausage's fruit batty ears... "Dinner tiiiiiiiiiiiiiime!"

By the time I finally ushered the wren out into the night, got to the store, and pulled back into my driveway it was about 9 pm. I turned on the TV while I unpacked my groceries, made dinner, and waited for the spousal unit to bestow his magnificence upon me. To my utter delight, John McCain and Barack Obama were speaking at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial dinner in NYC. What an unexpected treat.

McCain was the guest of honor at the Marine Ball in DC a few years ago. He's an incredibly funny guy. I think he could have had a career in stand-up comedy. His timing is impeccable.

But the best thing about the evening was watching the genuine delight and enjoyment on Obama's and Hillary Clinton's faces. It's not often people on opposite sides of the political aisle put down the knives for a moment and simply laugh at each other's foibles. McCain's humor was quite pointed. He poked fun at some very painful episodes, but did so in a way that wasn't mean because he took care to poke fun at himself. Obama was funny too; self-deprecating and quick witted. I loved watching his face when he thought he'd made a particularly witty joke. It was open and childlike; not guarded the way it usually is. Rare. Human.

That was the good side of politics; when politicians are confident enough to reveal their weaknesses and even to poke fun at them. When they aren't afraid of being laughed at in public. It takes a strong person to expose yourself - and your faults - in front of your political opponents.

But this morning I awoke to the dark side of politics, the side that left me perplexed and sad for most of this week. It is typified by three incidents, which I will cover in more depth:

1. Factually disproven but un-retracted media reports of Republican Rage/Bigotry which all serve to feed the narrative that McCain and Palin are "fueling dangerous emotions and/or hate speech".

2. The vicious, dishonest, and pointless trashing of "Joe the Plumber".

3. Increasingly irrational behavior by both far right conservatives and far left progressives which contradicts their stated values and is (I believe) rooted in fear.

First, to the "Hate Rally that Wasn't" astroturfing. I use this term quite deliberately, though it doesn't fit literally. Let me explain why.

Astroturfing, strictly speaking, is a formal propaganda campaign undertaken under false pretenses: a carefully orchestrated campaign designed to intentionally create the impression of a spontaneous, grassroots phenomenon when in reality events have been carefully staged to further a political agenda. Think of the Romans seeding a crowd with fake peasants who yell out the same phony rallying cry to whip up the masses at just the right moment and you won't be far off.

Perhaps someone can tell me how much that scenario differs from this one:

1. One man - one man! - yells out "Kill him!" at a McCain rally, referring to a white, domestic terrorist named Bill Ayers. Despite the fact that the Secret Service and several other journalists who were on the scene corroborate the man was referring to Bill Ayers and not Barack Obama, the NY Times and Associated Press go on to say he threatened Barack Obama. This, of course, becomes the dominant narrative and launches a Secret Service investigation.

2. The next thing we know, it's happening in Scranton too!...not. Republicans are such racist haters.

3. Lookee! More evidence that Republicans are ignorant racists! What do you mean she never said that? What do you mean the transcript was altered? The media would never lie to us!

4. Then there's the Multiplicative Theory of Hating Haters Who Hate. They must teach this one at the Columbia School of Journalism; a fine technique of literary license whereby if the political end is judged sufficiently worthy to justify any and all means, a single incident may be endlessly pluralized. Don't try this at home, folks. Leave it to professionals like Frank Rich, Mary Mitchell, Jeffrey Feldman, Adam Clymer, John Lewis, E. J. Dionne, Dana Milbanks... oh, and one Barack Obama.

Why is it acceptable for the press to outright fabricate accounts of things that never happened in order to gin up outrage less than 30 days before a national election? In the past week I've seen this happen over and over and over again. It truly alarms me. Blog posts are written and then pulled with no explanation. This is erratic and unprofessional behavior that would get any other person fired, but it doesn't seem to apply to paid journalists. What code of ethics are they following?

I'm baffled. They lie and get away with it and there is no accountability and no retraction and yet my liberal friends can't understand why I distrust the media.

Do I think there was an intentionally orchestrated attempt here to make voters think Republicans are ignorant racists? No. That's silly. But the effect is the same. What I see is a failure on the part of paid professionals to adhere to even minimal standards of fact checking or objectivity. After all, as several people have pointed out, nouns don't pluralize themselves, do they?

And there is plentiful evidence of anti-conservative rage out there. When well known comics talk about having a female VP candidate gang-raped by her black brothers and this generates not a murmur of protest, no discussion about disturbing or negative racial stereotypes, you have to wonder what is going on.

I guess it didn't fit the narrative of conservatives engaging in racist fear mongering, did it? I'd love to show you the videotape, but Mr. Obama's campaign managed to pressure YouTube into removing it. Not exactly the kind of support for the First Amendment I like to think my next President will engage in, but entirely consonant with the Obama Truth Squad's attempts to shut down Stanley Kurtz on WGN in Chicago. If you plan to vote for Mr. Obama on November 4th, this ought to give you pause:

The Republican V.P. nom would be "gang-raped by my big black brothers" if she enters Manhattan, Bernhard said. Palin is said to be making a campaign stop in New York next week.

I don't think the press are intentionally doing anything. I think all of this is more akin to a giant, Freudian slip. It's just that with election day so close, some of them - not all, but some - just can't resist the temptation to tweak the news around a bit.

It's a shame, because every day a great many honest journalists do their job and these folks ruin it for the rest of them. There is no excuse in the Internet age for getting a transcript wrong like Anna Marie Cox did. I'd like to think that was not intentional, but how do you slip in the word "terrorist" when it was not there? That little old lady didn't say it. Watch the tape. She didn't say "I'm scared of Obama". She said "I don't trust him".

Those are two very different things. And one or two incidents at a few rallies where there are, in the aggregate, literally tens of thousands of people don't spontaneously multiply. That takes professional help. The kind professional journalists with a narrative are so good at supplying. And it needs to stop.

And one more thing. At the third and final debate, John McCain asked Senator Obama to repudiate the racially divisive, over the top statement John Lewis made comparing him to George Wallace, a well known racist. Obama replied that he had already done so.

Politifact fact-checked this statement and rated it false. But what was even more fascinating was what happened next:

palin c-nt.JPG

McCain: I'm not going to stand for somebody saying that because someone yelled something at a rally -- there's a lot of things that have been yelled at your rallies, Sen. Obama, that I'm not happy about either.

In fact, some T-shirts that are very...

Obama: John, I...

McCain: ... unacceptable. So the point is -- the point is that I have repudiated every time someone's been out of line, whether they've been part of my campaign or not, and I will continue to do that.

But the fact is that we need to absolutely not stand for the kind of things that have been going on. I haven't.

Obama: Well, look, Bob, as I said...

Schieffer: I mean, do you take issue with that?

Obama: You know, here's what I would say. I mean, we can have a debate back and forth about the merits of each other's campaigns. I suspect we won't agree here tonight.

What I think is most important is that we recognize that to solve the key problems that we're facing, if we're going to solve two wars, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, if we can -- if we're going to focus on lifting wages that have declined over the last eight years and create jobs here in America, then Democrats, independents and Republicans, we're going to have to be able to work together.

And what is important is making sure that we disagree without being disagreeable. And it means that we can have tough, vigorous debates around issues. What we can't do, I think, is try to characterize each other as bad people. And that has been a culture in Washington that has been taking place for too long.

Notice that not only did Barack Obama mislead the public about having repudiated John Lewis' racially inflammatory condemnation of the McCain/Palin ticket (which, as it turns out, is based on several incidents which were either manufactured out of whole cloth, distorted, or exaggerated by the press), but he then went on to ignore McCain's point about the T-shirt and the ugly abuse of Sarah Palin. This is interesting, since Mr. Obama said early in his campaign that family members were "off limits". Not only Palin, but her young children have been subjected to extremely vile harassment and threats by his supporters. In addition, Mr. Obama ran an ad which unequivocally framed John McCain as dishonorable, using words like "vile, disgusting, dishonorable, disgraceful, sleazy".

It worked. This, added to the outright lie about 100% of McCain's ads being negative (previously cited in this post), has been continually repeated by Mr. Obama. So much so that the mantra was eventually adopted by the press, giving it even more exposure even though it is patently false. I suppose I should not have been shocked when even Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post took up the cry on Monday. And today, the editorial page of the post cites two main reasons: Barack Obama's "calm, unflappable demeanor" and John McCain's dirty campaign" as their reasons for endorsing him for President despite their severe reservations about many of his policies.

It's incredible what the media can ignore when they want to.

How can they, for instance, rationalize away the destruction of Joe the Plumber? Grim explains better than anyone else I've seen the issues involved.

The media are trying to claim he's unlicensed, although his company is, and he is enrolled in the apprentice program -- and not eligible to complete the apprenticeship until next month. The union -- Local 50 of the Plumbers, Steamfitters and Service Mechanics, which has endorsed Obama -- is making noises unsupported by the law (see the comments), in order to convince the media that he's not one of their plumbers and shouldn't be allowed to work. Union leadership has never been known to make dubious, politically-motivated claims before (or self-interested ones -- for example, putting out the notion that no plumber unaffiliated with them was legitimate) so I am sure we can trust them.

Obama stopped by this guy's house while Joe was playing football with his kids. Obama picked this guy to ask a question. And then the Senator broke a key rule: he gave an honest answer.

So now the Alinsky playbook kicks in: Joe must be destroyed. He must be shown to be a liar ("He's not a plumber. He works for a plumber."), a criminal (He's not licensed! Whether or not he could be yet!), a thug (Sammy Davis Junior!), and possibly a Republican plant (indeed, planted years in advance in a neighborhood Obama would pick at random in which to campaign, presumably under the influence of some sort of mind control ray! That was probably how they got him to answer the question honestly, too). Union muscle is brought in, democratic officials in the government, the media, the liberal bloggers, everyone focuses on wrecking this guy's life.

Not figuratively speaking, either. That American Dream of his, to buy the company and build it? He needs to be out of a job instead.

Joe's us, folks. Look hard. There's some rule you haven't followed, or that someone can plausibly claim to the ignorant that you might not have followed. You're a hypocrite. A criminal. You'd better watch your step. You'd better keep your head down, eyes on your work. If you want to continue to have work, you know what I'm saying?

The incredible malice that has been aimed at this guy is just unbelievable. And where is Barack "family members are off limits" Obama, who (after all) walked into this guy's front yard in the first place? These people are going after everyone around him. No one is safe from their hate. Even his ex-wife.

Dare to question The One and all the power of the mainstream media and the Nutroots will be unleashed upon you. Nice. Don't think anyone in our crusading freethinking press will come to your aid. Their respect for free speech and the importance of checking facts before printing them in major newspapers (or slandering innocent people based on unverified information) is reserved for Democrats.

Unless of course you dig up some really juicy dirt. Wow... that's just brilliant detective work, Sully. I can't wait to ring up my little brother and tell him he's not 'truly' a man since he's been going by his middle name all his life too. The big fraud. His wife's a Democrat. I wonder... will she divorce him?

Congratulations, Andrew. That's textbook Phase II behavior. You're certifiable:

If we disapprove the polices and positions of a politician and regard them as, in some sense, immoral according to our own ideology, then absolutely everything about that politician is fair game for attack, including private and personal matters that would be exempt from rebuke in a politician whose politics we approved. That's how it came to pass that George W. Bush, his wife, daughters, extended family, and all members of his administration and party were acceptably in the eyes of the public subjected to almost inconceivably vile, vicious, and pornographic libel from brand new institutions like Moveon.org that were founded for the express purpose of mounting such assaults. As Phase II intensified, two additional effects surfaced. The MSM learned, much to its delight, that any prohibition which once existed against a clearly political double standard was also gone. Republicans could be pilloried, judged -- in advance of trial or any legal proceeding -- guilty of, yes, sexual misconduct that would never be -- and had never been -- career ending for Democrats, and there would be no public outrage.

This is what I'm seeing from so-called "progressives" over at TPM Cafe. They will excuse anything - even the most vicious, venal attacks against a 7 year old child - because they disagree with her mother. The sins of political disagreement will be visited on future generations without mercy or quarter. If this represents progress, hope, or change, God help this country because it will touch off an endless round of nastiness we won't see the end of in my lifetime. You don't go after people's children and expect them to stand for it.


Finally, there is the irrationality on both sides of the fence. On my side there are all the conservatives who suddenly seem to think it makes sense, less than 30 days before a national election, to grab the reins for themselves.


If we lose, we lose. The Republic will survive even this. If John McCain cannot win on his own, he does not need to be President. If the conservative coalition is that fragile, if the election is that close, if he cannot manage his campaign well enough to overcome the juggernaut that is The One, maybe he needs to lose.

I realize it is difficult to accept with grace, but grace is a quality we all need to cultivate at times. It would do us good. Work on it.

For the past eight years, a seething cauldron of inchoate rage has been simmering in this country. We all know that. Yes I think it's irrational and frankly stupid. But it also must be reckoned with. Emotions and perceptions are real, and if you dam them up for too long, they explode. Perhaps the pendulum just needs to swing back the other way for a while; to right itself. America is a great nation; a stable nation with a well tested and balanced infrastructure. Barack Obama is not The Under Toad.

And for all the soi disant Reality Based Community out there who keep bravely wading into the rat-infested sewers of humanity hoping for proof that confirmation bias works as well in real life as it does in the laboratory... buck up!!! If you look long enough and hard enough to find fear, suspicion and prejudice, your prayers will be answered!

But is that really all that surprising?

Good nightshirt. If you took your camera into downtown DC and went looking for anti-white prejudice, what do you think you would find? But you're not interested in doing that, are you? Your zeal for finding "racism" is oddly one-sided. Why is that?

If you went diving into the comments section at the Daily KOS or the DU, you'd find enough hatred and bigotry to light up New York City for the next decade. But you're not interested in that kind of ignorance or bigotry, are you?

These are human failings, not Republican failings. All of us, whether we are black, Asian, white, or pink with purple polka dots, are capable of these things. The very fact that you go looking for them says something about your wish to amplify fear and suspicion: to divide this country instead of uniting it. You are expressly ignoring what your own candidate has asked you to do.

Why is that? This is against your values. And it's wrong. And you know that in your heart, don't you? It won't make things better. It will only make them worse.

This is not the politics of change. It's the politics of fear and divisiveness - of the pointed finger.

We can do better than this.

On November 4th, whoever wins, this country needs to get behind the new President and pull together. We face difficult challenges. I would so love to see a nation of adults instead of a nation of squabbling children, working in concert to overcome the problems we face.

Whoever wins. On both sides. I think the comity I saw at the Alfred E. Smith dinner is a very good place to start. Perhaps we all need to take a very deep breath, learn to poke a little fun at ourselves, and start over.

How about it? It will take courage. I would like to think we still have it in us.

Posted by Cassandra at October 17, 2008 04:46 AM

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I don't think the press are intentionally doing anything...some of them - not all, but some - just can't resist the temptation to tweak the news around a bit.

They *are* doing it intentionally.

They've seen that repeating the lie often enough results in the lie being perceived as the truth, and they've never hesitated to use that tactic in order to advance their agenda.

Flip Tet '68 from a Communist defeat to a US one and cut popular support for a war you oppose. Trumpet a botched political espionage burglary as the Crime of the Century and you take down a sitting President you abhor.

I doubt there's a *conscious* conspiracy to do that, but there's certainly collusion -- and, by their own admission, the majority share the same agenda.

Posted by: BillT at October 17, 2008 10:44 AM

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 10/17/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Posted by: David M at October 17, 2008 11:27 AM

It is frustrating, and no mistake, Bill.

I don't think there is anything to be gained by alleging any kind of formalized conspiracy or plan you can never prove. I also think that often enough these things just take on a life of their own - people being what they are (sheep :p) one person start running and the rest follow like lemmings.

So, there is that. True, the rest could do their jobs, but that takes effort. And integrity.

Posted by: Cass at October 17, 2008 12:36 PM

I understand what you're saying about the pendulum and America's resilience.

Still, I think conservatives and Americans generally have a lot to be worried about. If Obama, the potential president, is as extreme in his leftist philosophy as he appears to me to be and is not checked by a Republican congress, it is frightening to think of the programs that will be built into the system that will not be able to be easily dismantled when the pendulum swings back to conservatism.

Social security was established about 80 years ago and today it's a mess and nobody can touch it because it has been institutionalized.

Yes, the American people will go on living under an Obama presidency, but its economic freedom (and in consequence, other freedoms) will most likely be severely restricted.

Just some thoughts.

Posted by: M at October 17, 2008 01:08 PM

I think people tend to forget how little power the President really has :p

These candidates get up there and start promising all kinds of nonsense, but in reality a lot of it is not within the purview of the Executive branch, and by virtue of the fact that the Pres. is just one guy, all eyes are on him. So it's hard for him to slip one by Congress or the American people.

I'm not saying 'don't worry, be happy'.

I've not stopped writing about the war and focused on Obama b/c I don't think this matters. It matters greatly. But it's not the be all and end all. Frankly, on the economic stuff I think the Republicans gave up the ghost a long time ago, sadly.

Posted by: Cass at October 17, 2008 01:19 PM

It's a weird and brilliant strategy

I want to project my campaign as a "unifier"

So I'll call the other guy a divider, while simultaneously doing the very thing I'm deriding my opponent for...

I want to project that I'm running a "positive" campaign, so I constantly accuse my opponent of being negative.

Posted by: Hawkins at October 17, 2008 01:35 PM

I think it works for two reasons:

1. Obama is almost preternaturally self possessed. He is the little guy who never loses his temper. Therefore, if you go after him in the normal way, you will always look like a big bully.

2. Sadly, because he is black. He does not even have to complain about racism - he can calmly sit back and let all the oh-so-enlighten progressives "defend" him while being high mindedly above it all.

And so he has.

Posted by: Cass at October 17, 2008 01:40 PM

I think people tend to forget how little power the President really has

But he *does* have it.

Its application can be limited by an obstreperous Congress or magnified by a compliant one.

One way or another, we're heading for interesting times -- in the sense of the Chinese curse...

Posted by: BillT at October 17, 2008 01:53 PM

Its application can be limited by an obstreperous Congress or magnified by a compliant one.

Exactly, I'd be much less worried about an Obama presidency with a 55/45 split in congress in the Republicans favor.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 17, 2008 04:01 PM

Quite a post. One thing I'd mention — the "pendulum swinging back" theory is such a load of BS. We can't afford it. Not with judges, taxes, public health care, born-alive, and everything else that's at stake.

Posted by: Jillian at October 17, 2008 04:35 PM

Well with all due respect, unless we plan to do away with representative government I'm not really sure what the alternative is :p

Posted by: Cass at October 17, 2008 04:42 PM

I'd be a whole lot happier if everyone agreed with me!

The problem is, they don't. In a democratic republic, we have to either persuade our countrymen our point of view is correct, or live with the consequences. I have a feeling we're about to live with the consequences.

Posted by: Cass at October 17, 2008 04:44 PM

What code of ethics are they following?

They told us before. They like mercenaries, Cass. They only call us mercenaries because they can't hire us.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 17, 2008 04:49 PM

Do I think there was an intentionally orchestrated attempt here to make voters think Republicans are ignorant racists? No. That's silly.


know anything about the highlander folk school and the people running it?

go here... and you see a propagandized sanitized history...


go here and find out that highlander was a communist front school (much like obamas relative used to take over kenya).

the school trained rosa parks, pete seeger, and martin luthor king... weird eh?

well, then read about
"as long as they dont move in next door"

the communists running the school bought houses in the south... in white neighborhoods, and then moved black families into them.

when the racist whites werent racist and didnt care, they created history rather than reacting to it (to quote lenin and stalin) and bombed them.

The Highlander Folk School, located in Monteagle, TN, was founded by Don West, District Director of the Communist Party in North Carolina, and Miles Norton Horton, Director of the Commonwealth College. Based upon testimony by members of the school, the school was cited for conducting subversive activities by the state of Tennessee, and closed by court order in 1960.

The Highlander school was financed by the Julius Rosenwald Fund. At one time Rosenwald headed Sears Roebuck Co. He spent $22 million financing civil rights groups. His daughter Edith Stern continued to give money to the SCEF and Highlander Folk School after her father's death. Her husband, Alfred stern of New Orleans, fled to Russia just before he was to be arrested on spy charges.

want to know another thing? rosenwald funded the tuskeegee medical thing that the left uses as an example of american attitudes towards blacks!

and here you are saying that such actions by the same political force that tortured to death 100 million people... wont do smears?

you can go here and read the FBI papers..

The Highlander Folk School, located in Monteagle, TN, was founded by Don West, District Director of the Communist Party in North Carolina, and Miles Norton, Director of the Commonwealth College. Based upon testimony by members of the school, the school was cited for conducting subversive activities by the state of Tennessee, and closed by court order in 1960.

and here is something to start following a thread

comparitively speaking... what you disbelieve is mild compared to history.

Posted by: artfldgr at October 17, 2008 05:08 PM

Braden catapulted into national headlines in mid-1954 when she and her husband Carl Braden were indicted for sedition for their leadership in desegregating a Louisville, Kentucky, suburb. Their purchase of a house in an all-white neighborhood on behalf of African Americans Andrew and Charlotte Wade violated Louisville’s color line and provoked violence against both families, culminating with the dynamiting of the house in June of 1954. A subsequent grand jury investigation concentrated not on the neighborhood’s harassment of the Wades, but looked to the Bradens’ supposedly communistic intentions in backing the purchase, and they were indicted for sedition that fall. The couple’s sedition case made national news and earned them the ire of segregationists across the South, which was reeling from the U.S. Supreme Court’s condemnation of school segregation in its Brown ruling earlier that spring. Only Carl was convicted, and that conviction was later overturned. The sedition charges left the Bradens pariahs, branded as radicals and “reds” in the Cold-War South, and they became fierce civil libertarians who openly espoused left-wing social critiques but would never either embrace nor disavow the Communist Party publicly because they felt that to do so accepted the terms of the 1950s anticommunist “witch hunts.”

Anne Braden’s memoir of the case, The Wall Between, was published in 1958, becoming one of the few accounts of its era to probe the psychology of white southern racism from within. Their case also introduced the Bradens to the civil rights movement blossoming farther south, in which white allies were few and far between. The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., meeting Anne Braden in 1957, pronounced her “the most amazing white woman” in her unswerving dedication to civil rights. The Bradens soon joined the staff of a regional civil rights organization, the Southern Conference Educational Fund (SCEF), and began traveling the region to solicit greater white support for the movement. As the 1960s dawned, Anne Braden became a mentor and role model to younger southern students who joined the movement—a role she maintained for the rest of her life. Although she was suspect in some circles, Braden publicized and supported the student sit-ins in the pages of SCEF’s Southern Patriot newspaper, which she edited, and she encouraged a broader vision of social change that would include peace and economic justice. She was also instrumental in Louisville’s Open Housing movement in the later sixties, and among the leading white voices who helped to bring peace to the turbulent second generation of school desegregation, in which busing brought open violence to Louisville and other cities in the mid-1970s.

like the leftists who hang nooses on their door and cry racism... you have to dig to get the truth on it. for just like sanger, you can get two complete stories based on who is telling it. (kind of like the CRA crud)

Posted by: artfldgr at October 17, 2008 05:15 PM

If John McCain cannot win this on his own he does not need to be President. . . . maybe he needs to lose.

Well, that's about as close to any "detailed" analysis of why McCain is increasingly looking to finish out his political career in senatorial (and not presidential) garb, as I have seen on this site. Oh, that, and a constant berating of the MSM.

Personally, I find that tiresome and not very informative. Both in general and in particular as to the question of where the GOP needs to be heading to pull back from what looks to be one of the most resounding electoral rejections in memory.

McCain obviously has had problems enough with distancing himself from Bush -- a President whom great swaths of the electorate has rejected. Bush-adversion likewise tainted many other Republican office-seekers, and then there came the financial crisis, which might have all-but clinched the deal for the Democrats.

But it doesn't seem to add much to the knowledge data-base to fail to appreciate that McCain and his campaign have directly contributed to this sorry state of affairs. What earthly good does it do to fail to recognize, for example, that good and fair people (conservatives included) can legitimately view the choice of Sarah Palin as VP with gasps of incredulity and something more as well? Or that such folks can legitimately question McCain's judgment because of such a choice; or that such folks can likewise legitimately come to view Gov. Palin, once they have gotten to know her better (Couric, the debate, her mendacious responses to questions re: the Troopergate report; her "palling around with terrorists" refrains, etc.) with alarum? And even with such inconsequential blips on the electoral scene as "Joe the Plumber" - surely, that McCain strategem was not particularly well-thought-out, and does not reflect -- so many (conservatives and independents included) might quite legitimately conclude -- particularly well on the "maverick"

Posted by: pogo at October 17, 2008 05:38 PM

You are not understanding something basic here.

If the guy cannot run his campaign well enough (including choosing his running mate) to take the presidency, maybe that is significant. Or maybe it just means the party is in disarray and it will take the infliction of a rather large kick in the backside, or just 4 to 8 years in the wilderness to make them stop fighting and pull together for once. I really don't want to see that. But at this point they are making it all but inevitable.

You can find my observations "tiresome" all you want. Personally, I find it tiresome to watch Republicans publicly squabbling (including writing numerous op-eds eviscerating both conservative candidates on the eve of the election). A little bird tells me this just *might* not be helpful when undecideds are trying to figure out which candidate to cast their vote for.

It's kind of ridiculous to go after McCain for taking advantage of the Joe the Plumber thing. If he hadn't, you all would be all over him for missing a golden opportunity and millions of Americans would never know that Joe leaves his dirty underwear on the bedroom floor at night. He was damned if he did and damned if he didn't.

But then that's pretty much par for the course.

Posted by: Cass at October 17, 2008 05:53 PM

You know, as much as I don't want to see Barack Obama elected (and trust me - I really do not) some people act as though there were only one party in this country and it is something unprecedented to have a Democrat in the Oval Office.

Let me assure you - it is not. Oddly enough, there are actually two major parties in this country, and the other party has the really odd notion in their heads that sometimes their candidate gets to win. God knows where they got that idea, but if only Republicans ever manage to get elected, I will start to think that maybe some of their screwball ideas about stolen elections just might have some merit to them.

Posted by: Cass at October 17, 2008 06:34 PM

Oh, that, and a constant berating of the MSM.

And while I'm on a tear, perhaps you can explain to me why it is acceptable for the media to make up and then hype news stories? I guess that is something you would prefer that I just "shut up" about if I happen to notice it?

Posted by: Cass at October 17, 2008 06:37 PM

You've seen the best and the worst - I've seen some of the good and a lot of the worst. Obama's Stepford Voters are showing us some of that "worst" side. As the saying goes, it ain't pretty.

I'm beginning to see how some of those less-than-angelic movements got started in some other countries sometime back.

I may just take a long nap until Nov 5, or find a small, deserted Club Med island to wait it out on.

After I mail in my absentee ballot. Shouting in the hurricane wind; pushing a rope upstream and all that.

"If Obama, the potential president, is as extreme in his leftist philosophy as he appears to me to be and is not checked by a Republican congress, it is frightening to think of the programs that will be built into the system ..."

Like his just-announced plan to declare CO2 a "dangeous pollutant":

Obama to Declare Carbon Dioxide Dangerous Pollutant If Elected

And the expected series of Congressional hearings against everbody in the current administration.

His minders have also told him about the wonders of the Executive Order.

First, get rid of all those nasty Bush EOs:

Obama to review Bush EOs

"“I would call my attorney general in and review every single executive order issued by George Bush and overturn those laws or executive decisions that I feel violate the constitution,” said Obama."

Then make a whole new set:

Environmental issues are focus of Nauticus forum

"Ann Swanson, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, said Congress controls most of the money behind environmental programs, but the president has the power to issue executive orders and set the agenda.

The next president, she said, could demand that new highway and road projects include "zero or near-zero discharges" of storm water, a pollution source that is ravaging the Chesapeake and other waterways."

Obama's EOs, however, will by definition be Constitutional.

This is where Presidential Power comes in. It isn't absolute, but remember that FDR closed the banks back in the 40s, and that Reagan fired all the Air Traffic Controllers.

Posted by: ZZMike at October 17, 2008 07:17 PM

The unrelenting hatred and bashing from the left, combined with the self-love and finger-pointing at the right for not-actually-doing what is really happening on the left (still with me?) is really getting on my nerves. To the degree where I can barely talk with liberals about politics right now (and I live in the Bay Area, so that's all I have to talk to).

I recently listened to a former German colleague, who got rich and retired young in America, say he'll become a citizen if Obama wins, but not if McCain wins, and he's worried about conservatives shooting people if they lose.

This is not a stupid man.

Yet, for all the pent-up rage inside me on this, I remain committed to not doing to Obama what they've done to Bush, or what conservatives did to Clinton before him.

As you say, we need to rally behind our next President regardless of who wins, and hope for his success where our goals (if not our methods) are in agreement, and respectfully but vigorously disagree where necessary.

But not hate. Let's not hate the next guy. Somebody has to put a stop to this.

Posted by: Ronald Hayden at October 17, 2008 09:09 PM

Well people always did say that Republicans were corrupt oligarchs that wouldn't let the weak and the downtrodden free to challenge the status quo. They just didn't happen to mention that those people in the GOP and in the Democrat party all somehow allied together against people like Joe and Sarah Palin.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 17, 2008 09:56 PM

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 17, 2008 10:11 PM

Cmdr Salamander links to this WSJ article that expresses my fears about the upcoming election: An Obama presidency, a Democrat-controlled House and a filibuster-proof Democrat-controlled Senate...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at October 17, 2008 10:47 PM

Let's not hate the next guy. Somebody has to put a stop to this.

Hating's counterproductive. Spoils your concentration when you're trying to decide which pressure point to nail on the guy who just took a swing at you...

Posted by: BillT at October 18, 2008 01:02 AM

...And dogs and cats living together, forty years of darkness. :)

Not trying to mock anyone, but the last time the Democrats had both Houses of Congress and the Presidency, they shot themselves in the foot. Don't underestimate just how incompetent they can be when they have that much power. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are hardly rocket scientists; it will be painful to watch, but I expect (if Sen. Obama wins the election) that it will be a cavalcade of idiocy and incompetence until the mid-term elections of 2010.

Ronald Hayden has it right. This is not the time to give into hate and fear.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at October 18, 2008 01:05 AM

...and the "Come Along, Sir," thumb-press works wonders at putting a stop to wildly-flailing aggression.

Posted by: BillT at October 18, 2008 01:05 AM

"Ronald Hayden has it right. This is not the time to give into hate and fear."
You mean this sort of hate and fear?

IMHO, it is the progressive contingent who needs to embrace that message. If their Elmer Gantry would preach to them and insure that his campaign along with their proxies did not transgress or get in their political opposites face.

P.S. Is it just me, or does it always seem that the progressive assault & battery incidents are perpetrated by manly progressive males upon females?

Best regards,


Former Ambassador, now Transportation via Pickup and Weapons Attache to the Ambassador

South BitterClingy

Posted by: bthun at October 18, 2008 01:34 PM

What'll it be like in two weeks?

Posted by: BillT at October 18, 2008 01:54 PM

What'll it be like in two weeks?

Cannbalism in the stadiums and insurrection in the streets, like Katrina?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 18, 2008 03:30 PM

Probably only go on until males start holding the McCain signs.

Interesting observation bthun made -- Lefties seem to specialize in attacking *women*, which fits right in with the bully-tactics. And -- not so oddly -- mirrors the tactics al-Qaeda-in-Iraq uses when they crawl out of the sewers...

Posted by: BillT at October 18, 2008 03:53 PM

Women are naturally or perhaps just statistically less prone to aggression, displays of aggression, and public arguments.

This looks like weakness to bullies. Just like America's attempts to evade civilian deaths and wars look like weakness to people like Amanie. They just can't help but attack such weakness. They were bred and raised to do just that.

Bill, I've seen Leftists attack women all the time over the previous years. In or out of the election cycle. Bookworm, Neo-Neocon, anybody and anything they can catch in a weakness they will exploit. Their ruthlessness is to be respected even if their goals are not to be admired.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 18, 2008 04:28 PM

For the past eight years, a seething cauldron of incoate rage has been simmering in this country. We all know that. Yes I think it's irrational and frankly stupid. But it also must be reckoned with. Emotions and perceptions are real, and if you dam them up for too long, they explode. Perhaps the pendulum just needs to swing back the other way for a while; to right itself.

That may not work out. What I have noticed over the past several years is that the people with the "inchoate rage" seem to find manners as some sort of weakness. A sign that they can roll over someone.

Either way, if Obama wins and they get further control of Congress I will give them a chance*. I am not enthused by such a future and I doubt the "pendulum" will swing the other way all that easily. A representative form of government usually requires that the factions at least agree that their opponents are people they disagree with and not icky evil monsters. That isn't the impression I get from the enraged ones you refer to.

*=(Unfortunately, I'm not a certain Time Lord so that "one chance" policy is probably not as frightening. The Wrath of a Help Desk Analyst just doesn't sound very intimidating.)

Posted by: Patrick Chester at October 18, 2008 07:14 PM

The Wrath of a Help Desk Analyst just doesn't sound very intimidating.

But therein lies your secret Source of Power.

"Your call is very important to us, sir. Please remain on the line while I route you to Bangladesh through a 900 number in Costa Rica."

Posted by: BillT at October 19, 2008 02:55 AM


I am utterly certain that, if the Right loses, we will not be happy but there will be no riots in the street.

I somewhat doubt if that's going to be so sure a thing if the Left loses. They think they've "stolen" this election "fair and square". It's a matter of entitlement to them. I think that there ARE likely to be riots, and protests and just about every form of refusal to accept such a thing.

Now let's see how right I am on half that.

Posted by: Obloodyhell at October 19, 2008 03:13 AM

I think that there ARE likely to be riots, and protests and just about every form of refusal to accept such a thing.

Ill-mannered children *will* throw their tantrums, so that's a given.

Posted by: BillT at October 19, 2008 05:31 AM

BillT: Unfortunately, I'm a bit too professional to do something like that. I've asked for the ability to send electric shocks back down the phone line, but keep getting refused.

Posted by: Patrick Chester at October 20, 2008 03:44 AM

Did you specify that the shocks would *not* exceed 40,000 volts? Sometimes that caveat will satisfy management.

Ummmmmm -- and sometimes it *won't*...

Posted by: BillT at October 20, 2008 05:24 AM

ENOUGH with the call to get behind the next far left, usa hating socialist politician and give him our support. HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MINDS? I am not advocating violence, I am advocating resistance in every possible manner. I do not want to be "nice" and "support" a man that is bent upon destroying my country....and believe me, his intents will cause this country to be unrecognizable.

Posted by: Judith at October 21, 2008 09:59 AM


Ooooh. 40,000 volts at *50* amps...

Posted by: BillT at October 21, 2008 10:39 AM

BillT: I think they were leery about OSHA or something. Still, it's a dream I have since I cannot access the Force. ("Alright. Log out of your computer." "Okay, the computer is shutdown-URK! *gasp* *wheeze*." "I find your lack of clue... disturbing.")

Posted by: Patrick Chester at October 21, 2008 12:08 PM

Ronald Hayden: "I remain committed to not doing to Obama what they've done to Bush, or what conservatives did to Clinton before him."

I salute you, a better man than I am. I'm sure our side - radio commentators and Just Plain Folk - will give President Obama the same gracious courtesy and respect that their side has given President Bush over the last 8 years.

Don B: "Not trying to mock anyone, but the last time the Democrats had both Houses of Congress and the Presidency, they shot themselves in the foot."

But this time, Obama (at least) didn't just rise to the occasion. He was put there by people with Serious Money - like Soros, who began by contributing $60k to his Illinois campaign - and Serious Agendas. They could well be calling the shots.

Bill Whittle pointed out that we could just take the stand of letting the Democrats run things for the next 4 years so that when the people come to their senses and vote the rascals out, things will get fixed. He says that's sorta like if you really want your gramma to stop smoking in bed, just let her smoke away, and when the house burns down, rebuild.

The stakes are too high. Already we hear from the Pelosi/Reid faction that they're going to start going through all of Bush's Executive Orders and cancelling any they don't like; that they're going to start proceedings and investigations of many of Bush's administration. It will be the Years of Revenge.

On the other hand, maybe that'll keep them occupied, and keep their mitts off the country.

Posted by: ZZMike at October 21, 2008 02:39 PM

"On the other hand, maybe that'll keep them occupied, and keep their mitts off the country."
You sir, are an optimist.

Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate, now what's going to happen to us with both a House and a Senate? -Will Rogers

Posted by: bt_what-me-worry_hun at October 22, 2008 08:20 AM