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Obama Should Apologize for Congressman Lewis?

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A curious thing happened this weekend. Congressman and civil rights activist, John Lewis, condemned Senator John McCain's campaign's wretched, disgusting and divisive campaign rhetoric.

Lewis said that the McCain campaign's rhetoric was "sowing the seeds of hatred and division." It was a generous assessment because in reality, journalists covering McCain's nasty, blood-thirsty rallies fear for their lives.

"There is," David Gergen told CNN's Cooper Anderson on 360, "a free-floating sort of whipping-around anger that could really lead to some violence. And I think we're not far from that."

Last Tuesday, at VP nominee Gov. Sarah Palin's campaign rally in Clearwater, a man "hurled a racial epithet at a television cameraman," according to the New York Times. The disgusting wretches frothing at the mouth when Palin and McCain speak have called on Palin and McCain to, "Kill [Obama]," and cut off [Obama's] head

The sickening mobs of disgusting human beings, who would overrun our country with terror and who flock to the leadership of John McCain, make Lewis's assessment on Saturday less than curious. McCain's forceful and angry rebuke, his singling out of Lewis, on the other hand, is bewildering. 

Why Lewis? Why did the McCain campaign focus on Congressman Lewis? The very day McCain campaign chairman Rick Davis called on Obama to apologize for Lewis's remarks, Frank Rich came close to comparing McCain to Hitler.

"What makes them different," Rich wrote in a Sunday column, "and what has pumped up the Weimar-like rage at McCain-Palin rallies, is the violent escalation in rhetoric, especially (though not exclusively) by Palin." 

On Thursday, John Stewart made the same comparison between McCain and his followers and pre-Holocaust Germany. "Have you noticed," Stewart said at the Project ALS benefit at the Waldorf-Astoria, "how [Palin's] rallies have begun to take on the characteristics of the last days of the Weimar Republic? In Florida, she asked 'Who is Barack Obama?' Hey, lady, we just met YOU five f-ing weeks ago."

On Friday, AFL-CIO president John Sweeney said that failure to stem the tide of violent plots being hatched at McCain-Palin rallies would put McCain on par with "racists and extremists."

So why did the McCain campaign single out Congressman Lewis? What do Frank Rich, John Stewart and John Sweeney have in common that John Lewis does not have in common?

McCain campaign chairman Rick Davis told Mike Wallace on Fox News Sunday, "The idea that [Lewis is] going to compare John McCain to the kinds of hate spread in the '60s by somebody like George Wallace is outrageous."

"Barack Obama should apologize to John McCain directly for the kinds of comments made by John Lewis yesterday and that should be the end of this sordid affair."  

What about "the idea" that Rich and Stewart are practically comparing McCain to Hitler? I'll throw my lot in with Rich and Stewart. I think their analogies to the Weimar Republic are spot on. The crowds following Palin and McCain are simply vile.

You spineless cowards. You just finished the most toxic week of race-baiting in political history and follow-up by slapping a civil rights leader in the face for saying less than his white peers have said over the last 72 hours.

You, Rick Davis, hoped that you could use Lewis's remarks to refocus this campaign on race, as all the pundits said it might. The conventional wisdom holds that Obama fares better with the focus on the economy rather than skin color. 

You, Rick Davis, tried to exploit racial tensions and fears all week until a black man finally weighed in on your vicious, nasty and disgusting rhetoric, and then you used the race card to portray McCain as the victim of black attacks! How whimsical! May God have mercy on your soul.  

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Dean Powers lives in Castleton, VT. He has apprenticed at several newspapers including The Nation. He currently writes for OpEdNews. He can be found at facebook.com/deanppowers.


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 Tragedy often starts with casual remarks som... by Rue Robinson on Monday, Oct 13, 2008 at 6:03:06 PM
McCain has yet to apologize for things that he and... by Diane Vandermast on Monday, Oct 13, 2008 at 7:16:14 PM
Don't worry about Lewis. Georgia citizens laug... by Smarterthanu on Monday, Oct 13, 2008 at 9:08:23 PM
John Lewis is the one who used race. He is the one... by Scott on Monday, Oct 13, 2008 at 11:38:13 PM
To those of you trying here to diminish Rep. John ... by Jim Moran on Tuesday, Oct 14, 2008 at 1:20:15 AM