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According to the Daily Telegraph in London:

Sarah Palin's attacks on Barack Obama's patriotism provoked a spike in death threats against the future president, Secret Service agents revealed during the final weeks of the campaign.

The Republican vice presidential candidate attracted criticism for accusing Mr Obama of "palling around with terrorists", citing his association with the sixties radical William Ayers.

The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling "terrorist" and "kill him" until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric.

But it has now emerged that her demagogic tone may have unintentionally encouraged white supremacists to go even further.

The Secret Service warned the Obama family in mid October that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of threats against the Democratic candidate, coinciding with Mrs Palin's attacks.

Michelle Obama, the future First Lady, was so upset that she turned to her friend and campaign adviser Valerie Jarrett and said: "Why would they try to make people hate us?"

There's more in the article, which appears to reference a Newsweek article.  It's something we need to add to our Sara Palin Shit List®.  Based on what we're seeing in the wingnutosphere, it seems like Sarah's going to be around for a while.  Personally, I think we'll wipe the floor with her again next time around, but we need to be prepared.

I saw other diaries here that say 62% of Republicans want her as their leader.  It makes sense that a party that celebrates ignorance, superstition and intolerance would love her since she has all of these traits in abundance.  Let's keep our powder dry for the next round.

Wow, my first trip to the rec list and lots of comments.  Thanks guys, I think.  Let me throw my $.02 about some of the memes emerging in the comments:

"Blame" comes from the newspaper article.  This diary is obviously a slightly longer version of a hotlink, so I didn't add a whole lot of meat to those bones.  Having said that, historically, the Secret Service is among the most understated of all groups in making their pronouncements, so if they publicly even imply causality, I would take it very seriously.  They're the guys that have to take the bullet if it gets fired, and they're the ones who have been there and done that.  If they saw it as a coincidental uptick in areas of concern, they wouldn't say anything at all.

I do think that you can "blame" Palin, but I don't think it actually rises to the level of criminality.  It's extremely bad form, but not explicitly criminal.  Part of Free Speech is a pretty high bar for criminality.  I think we can and should use it politically, but it's not explicitly criminal.

Bottom Line
We're dealing hope against fear, and sometimes that's a hard sell but it's the sell we absolutely have to keep making.  I'm not advocating putting the secret police on Palin's ass (at least, not for this particular behavior), but we need to keep in mind the forces and people we're opposing, and prepare to oppose them again just like we did this time.

Update 2
Fixed the link DOH!!

I've been spanked a couple of times for overstating the case, and I have to say that I at least partially deserve it.  You can argue that the Telegraph stretched their interpretation from what was reported in Newsweek, and I broadcast that without any moderation.  My bad on that one... I'm frankly surprised by the length and vigorousness of the discussion.

I tried to clarify my position in the last update, but let me be absolutely clear.  The case I was trying to make is that we have to be aware of the tactics of hate and division that our opponents have used before and will use again.  I do not think this rises to the level of criminal intent, nor should it.  Before you go all lawerly on me though, that's just my opionion, and it's based on political considerations and not on criminal considerations.  Even under the grotesquely exaggerated conditions epitomized by the Patriot Act, this probably does not, and certainly should not rise to the level of criminality.  There's always a balancing act between free speech and hate speech, and I personally find this to be clearly in the free speech realm.

One thing certain though is that I deserved the spanking for being lazy.

Originally posted to Wade Hatler on Sat Nov 08, 2008 at 06:07 PM PST.

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