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Two Days After McCain Tells His Supporters to be 'More Respectful' of His Opponent, Palin Again Stokes Fear and Loathing Against Obama by Branding Him a 'Terrorist Sympathizer' at Ohio Rally -- TV News Reporter Captures Palin Supporters Making Blatantly Racist Remarks Against the Democratic Nominee

(Posted 5:00 a.m. EDT Monday, October 20, 2008)


Dear Readers:

It has often been said that one can judge a person by the company he or she keeps. In the case of Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, the company she is keeping has caused this blogger to sound a very loud alarm that the Alaska governor is a dangerous, fearmongering demagogue totally unfit to be situated a heartbeat away from the most powerful job in the world.

On Friday, I made a discovery on YouTube that disturbed me to a great degree. In fact, it did much more than disturb me; it made me both very fearful and very angry at the same time.

At an October 12 rally in Ohio for Palin, Casey Kauffman, a reporter for the English-language international channel of the Qatar-based Aljazeera news network, interviewed several Palin supporters for their thoughts on Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

What came out of their mouths was utterly shocking.

Apparently aware that Aljazeera's English-language channel is largely unavailable for viewing in the United States -- save for a couple of cable systems, its live Web stream and a dedicated channel on YouTube -- these Palin supporters gave Kauffman an earful of blatantly racist remarks against the African-American senator from Illinois that they likely would never have told a reporter for an American TV network.

"I'm afraid if he [Obama] wins, the blacks will take over!" a silver-haired white woman told Kauffman. Stubbornly clinging to the false belief that the Illinois senator is a Muslim -- when, in fact, he is a Christian -- the woman angrily insisted, "He's not a Christian! This is a Christian nation! What is our culture gonna end up like?"

It gets worse. Much worse.

A middle-aged white man whom Kauffman interviewed made no attempt to hide his contempt for Obama because of the fact that the Democratic nominee is black. "When you've got a nigger running for president, he ain't a first-stringer," he said. "He's definitely a second-stringer."

No, that's not a typographical error. This man boldly and unapologetically called Obama the infamous N-word.

One woman expressed a fear that Obama and his wife, Michelle, might be secretly "anti-white." Another woman told Kauffman this comment about Obama: "I don't like the fact that he thinks us white people are trash -- because we're not!"

These comments were uttered at what was supposed to be a rally for Sarah Palin. As it was, the crowd was predominantly middle-aged and older, predominantly male and -- most tellingly -- exclusively white.

If you closed your eyes while listening to these comments, you'd think they were being made at a gathering of the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists, rather than at a rally for the GOP vice-presidential nominee. This blogger seriously doubts that anyone would have dared to say out loud what they really thought of Obama if there were any nonwhite people, especially blacks, present.

Indeed, Kauffman interviewed an Obama supporter -- a white man who lives in the area -- who told him that as he was holding up his Obama sign at the entrance to the rally site, several Palin supporters shouted the N-word and other epithets at him ("Baby killer!") as they passed by in their cars.

"I'm really scared of what's going on here," the unidentified man told Kauffman. "I'm scared that one of these people could be crazy enough to try to harm Obama."

That Aljazeera had the guts to broadcast those venomous remarks uncensored -- when neither of the big three American cable news channels (CNN, Fox News and MSNBC) nor any of the big three over-the-air American TV networks (ABC, CBS or NBC) would do so -- speaks volumes not only about what caliber of people Palin is attracting, but also the sorry state of the mainstream American news media in their abject failure to report this part of the Palin story.

It is noteworthy that this rally took place a week ago Sunday -- a full two days after Republican presidential nominee John McCain found himself confronted with open bigotry against Obama at his own town hall-style campaign stop in Minnesota.

To his credit, McCain challenged his supporters to be more respectful of his opponent -- even in the face of a chorus of boos. What did Palin do to hold her supporters to the same standard?

Nothing -- Zero, zip, zilch, nada.

To the contrary, she did the exact opposite: She stoked the crowd into a frenzy of contempt against the Illinois senator by saying, "We know who the bad guys are," referring to terrorists. At Palin's mention of "bad guys," the crowd shouted, "Obama!"

Did Palin cut them off? No. Did she tell her supporters to be more respectful of the Democratic nominee, as McCain did two days earlier? Absolutely not.

Rather, the Alaska governor continued: "Those who sympathize and support those terrorists who would seek to destroy all that it is that we value -- those are the bad guys, OK?"

Palin's implication was clear: Obama was, in her mind, a "bad guy." A terrorist sympathizer. An enemy of America. A traitor.

Palin obviously wasn't the only one at the rally who felt that way, as one man told Aljazeera's Kauffman his belief that Obama "is related to a known terrorist and is a supporter of terrorists."

Remember that it was Palin -- not McCain -- who accused Obama of "palling around with terrorists," referring to Obama's relationship to former 1960s radical William Ayres.

But although McCain did bring up Ayres at last Wednesday's final presidential debate, McCain made it clear that he didn't much care about "a washed-up '60s radical" like Ayres.

Never once has Palin referred to Ayres as an "old '60s radical." Rather, she's always used the word "terrorist" to describe him. In her mind -- and in the minds of her supporters -- Ayres is a "terrorist" in the mold of al-Qaida and other Muslim extremists.

Anyone who's familiar with recent American history knows that except for the Black Panthers, the domestic radicals of the 1960s were mostly middle-class white kids. Say "'60's radical," and the mind immediately conjures up the image of a long-haired, bearded white guy like Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin -- or William Ayres.

Say "terrorist" on the the other hand, and the mind immediately conjures up the image of a dark-skinned Middle Easterner like Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- or Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The only thing that Barack Obama has in common with al-Qaida terrorists is that he has the same skin complexion they have.

Palin is fully aware that many of Obama's opponents still believe that the Illinois senator is a Muslim. And some -- egged on by right-wing radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh -- believe that Obama isn't even African-American, but a foreign-born Arab.

That's far beyond anything that McCain would say about his opponent. Indeed, Palin's remarks were the kind one would have expected more than 50 years ago from Senator Joe McCarthy about the "Communist menace." Indeed, McCarthy would be very proud of her.

Sarah Palin is deliberately playing to xenophobia toward the foreign-born as well as Afrophobia toward Americans of African descent. As far as this blogger is concerned, Sarah Palin has crossed the line into the kind of demagoguery that flirts dangerously with outright fascism.

That makes her totally unfit to serve as our country's next vice president -- a heartbeat away from the presidency.

I'm not the only one who's noticed this. So has Representative John Lewis (D-Georgia), a veteran of the civil rights movement who experienced first hand the fear and hatred that many white people of his generation and older had toward darker-skinned people nearly half a century ago.

Lewis criticized the McCain campaign -- but especially Palin -- for whipping up racially-charged animosity toward Obama. He accused Palin of "sowing the seeds of hatred and division" and compared the feelings expressed at her campaign rallies to those of late segregationist Alabama governor and presidential candidate George Wallace.

"As public figures with power to influence and persuade, Senator McCain and Governor Palin are playing with fire and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all," Lewis warned.

While Obama did rebuke as unfair Lewis' comparison of McCain to Wallace, he nonetheless agreed with the Georgia congressman's underlying message. And so does this blogger -- especially when it comes to Palin.

The Alaska governor has made no secret of her displeasure with McCain's ironclad ban on anyone in his campaign bringing up Obama's 20-year friendship with his former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Yet McCain knew full well that to bring up Wright now would be racially inflammatory.

Unlike Palin, McCain is clearly determined not to be cast as a racist. Unfortunately for him, McCain is stuck with the Alaska governor.

It's much too late for the Arizona senator to boot Palin from the GOP ticket; not only is her name on the ballot in all 50 states, but it's logistically impossible to reassemble the GOP convention to pick a replacement for her. By now, it should be abundantly clear that Palin has become a serious liability to McCain and, ultimately, to the Republican Party.

By choosing Palin to be his running mate -- instead of a more highly respected Republican woman such as Senators Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine or Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina -- McCain made the single worst mistake of his entire campaign.

But I understand why McCain did it: He had to appease the far right wing of his party who to this day remains suspicious of him -- and, unfortunately, is firmly in control of the GOP.

Little did anyone realize at the time McCain chose Palin in August just how much of a fearmongering demagogue she really is.

To borrow Richard Nixon's 1968 campaign slogan, "This time, vote like your whole world depended on it" -- because it does. For the sake of our country -- and the world -- the McCain-Palin ticket must be defeated at all costs.

Skeeter Sanders
Editor & Publisher
The 'Skeeter Bites Report

# # #

Copyright 2008, Skeeter Sanders. All rights reserved.

Originally posted to SkeeterVT on Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 02:33 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Excellent Diary (10+ / 0-)

    Made me shudder.


    You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can always be honest.

    by mattman on Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 02:59:48 AM PDT

    •  nah... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mattman, Hillblogger

      ohio is many things, actually.  it's much closer to the microcosm of america that palin claims alaska is.  i grew up in toledo and then spent many years in cleveland.  northern ohio is a wonderful blue bubble, for the most part.  most of the "morans" you see in videos at palin or mccain rallies are in southern ohio, except for strongsville, ohio.  but, strongsville is very much a "hick" type community.  it wouldn't even be a suburb of cleveland, except that cleveland got so big it grew towards/into strongsville.  
      so, while there are certainly extremists in ohio, and bigots, and hicks, and rednecks, etc...there are also liberals, progressives, creative people, artists, unions, libertarians, etc.  
      i always felt this about ohio, that it's a great sampling of most of this nation, but always figured i wasn't able to be objective about my home state.  i recently read a book on the history of the state of ohio - and learned that ohio has almost always been considered a great example of this entire nation.

      [more than] 2,000 years after 1 man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change...

      by betty brown on Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 03:24:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have heard that Ohio is (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    celdd, lecsmith, Iranaqamuk, Virginia mom

    the land of extremists but these people in the video really scare the crap out of me.  Now I understand waht Colin Powell said about the images going out on Aljazeera.

    "The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving." Oliver Wendell Holmes

    by AvoMonster on Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 03:07:27 AM PDT

    •  Ohio is a divided state (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Southeastern Ohio is predominantly Appalachian in outlook and culture. Much closer to West Virginia and eastern Kentucky than the rest of the state.

      Indeed, large numbers of people from economically depressed areas of Kentucky settled in southern Ohio. The city of Hamilton, outside of Cincinnati, is often referred to as "Hamiltucky".

      Northern Ohio has more in common with the upper-midwest and places likes Buffalo than it does with southern Ohio.

      The racist southern sympathizers of the Civil War era (known as Butternuts) were mostly poor immigrants from southern states. That immigration into Ohio only increased after the economic boom of the "Rust Belt" period.

      I loved growing up in Ohio (near Cincinnati), but there are a lot of people there that I don't miss. My parents moved to Ohio from Kentucky and felt right at home, though they came from the more moderate flatlands of western Kentucky and never held the insular racist views that many do.

  •  I think it was less a choice than (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    a quid pro quo.  Or better yet a bargain with the devil.  He gets to be pres for a bit, he dies and the religious right is in like Flynn.

  •  St. Clairsville, Ohio (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    obatanga night

    Newspaper there is the Wheeling News/Register. It has been spinning for bush since 1999. It is no wonder folks in that region are ill informed and racist. Moved away from there 4 years ago. Wheeling News/Register is owned by Ogden Press, same owner of Pittsburgh Pirates. Take a look at archived pro-McCain, anti-Obama editorials if you can stomach them. Last week the Wheeling News/Register was one of two newspapers to endorse John McCain.

    In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. G. Orwell

    by DickCheneyBeforeHeDicksYou on Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 03:14:21 AM PDT

  •  I have a slightly different take on this... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I honestly don't think she understands what she is doing, nor is fully aware by any means.  She has shown such a nack for not understanding things... and she has never dealt with these issues.  Sure she has attacked opponents, but she has never really tapped into people's bigotries, let alone in hundreds of places she has never been and does not understand.  She is also in a relative bubble, and a master at self denial.  On top of that when the people actually get up to her face they are smiling and saying things like 'your my hero'.  What few bad things actually get to her ears she seems to have the capacity to excuse as random fringe.

    And all criticism is from the liberal biased media right?  Just tainting the truth don'tcha know?  Isn't that her personal stance towards all things negative?  She certainly isn't reading the news we read...  I don't think she understands what is going on or what her true effect is.

    Anybody hearin me on this?

    the more you know, the more you know you don't know

    by penkilk on Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 03:19:44 AM PDT

    •  Sorry... her track record says otherwise... (5+ / 0-)

      From the time she ran for mayor of Wasilla she has been a campaign by smear candidate... she was elected after running a campaign where she said her opponent was a Jew, playing on whatever anti-semitic bias there was; whatever it was, it was sufficient for her to win.

      Since then she has run campaigns designed to make the voters fear the flaws, real or imagined, of her opponent. This campaign is no different save in scale and the extent to which she will employ the tactic.

      She knows exactly what she is doing; she's good at it and it has worked for her in the past.

      •  Looks like I agree with you totally. n/t (0+ / 0-)

        It's been the "Dawning of the Age of Aquarius" for 40 years. "Harmony and understanding," my ass.

        by Cassandra77 on Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 06:03:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  yes, exactly (0+ / 0-)

        she has done this, this smearing and seen it to work.  Nothing went wrong.  She's never even lost. Now she is bringing something that was small and localized and in no way exploded with violence or assassinations into the national scene where tension and passions are much higher.  I don't think she fully grasps the difference.

        the more you know, the more you know you don't know

        by penkilk on Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 09:51:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  not only that but... (0+ / 0-)

          Think about it like a psycologist.

          For one she doesn't think she is evil, which means she has one of those Christian blind spots for anything she does that is bad.  When your blind spot is so big you can't even contemplate the relevant data sometimes and get a grasp of whats going on.

          Secondly she has always had this strange go to far remorslesness in attacking people personally even in basketball.  As to why somebody in high school would already be showing these traits... usually when you see a trait that everybody has naturally and then one person for little reason simply does not, the spot in their brain that deals with it is just broken.

          the more you know, the more you know you don't know

          by penkilk on Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 10:00:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  She understands, alright. She campaigned like (0+ / 0-)

      this for the office of mayor of Wasilla.
      Her opponent was shocked when she started using
      devisive tactics to win the tiny town's mayoral office.
      She knows exactly what she's doing and she likes it.
      My guess is: She's very racist.
      Just a guess,  but a fairly educated one.

      It's been the "Dawning of the Age of Aquarius" for 40 years. "Harmony and understanding," my ass.

      by Cassandra77 on Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 06:02:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fascism Feeds on Racism. . . . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        As the author of this diary/editorial, I'm not prepared to call Sarah Palin a racist directly, but there is little doubt that she plays the politics of fear and loathing to an art form that borders on outright fascism.

        And, as history has shown most clearly, fascism feeds on racism. Palin may not be a racist herself, but she's definitely a demagogue whose brand of politics is bringing racists crawling out of the woodwork.

    •  Not really, I think if any person can be said to (0+ / 0-)

      be evil, many of the people currently on the right fit the bill.
      Any thinking person that was a republican, quit that party after about 2 years of the bushites, and their flat earth friends.
      The nut case noise is an excuse for violence, after they loose the election, as is the constant shout of voter fraud.

      Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry men? It is the music of a people Who will not be slaves again!

      by axman on Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 07:00:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Review Palin's Chief Talking Points on Herself (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and THAT is why she was selected. That is a prepared script--her salable image. All the backlash was unanticipated and is unmanageable despite much effort. In time, Palin and her rabble-rousing will be the lasting symbol of a party that lost its moral compass. Something better is sure to come of it all.

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