The McCain campaign has avoided playing the race card, but they have skillfully exploited the mob card.
As McCain’s campaign continued to sag, it was “hockey mom” Palin who the ex-navy officer called upon to rally the troops. Pit-bull Palin was let loose and the dogs growled at the red meat being thrown. Every line became a refrain that elicited a lynch-mob response. So long as the auditorium was filled, McNasty ignored the spewed foam that was rising to the top, becoming standard fare.
But it wasn’t just Palin who played the mob. She had plenty of help from McCain campaign ads and talking heads who continue to propagate lies and distortions that they know will rouse the Base. It wasn’t until some of the more level-headed Republican Party regulars started to sound the alarms that McCain realized he had to douse the flames. The Base, who McCain won over with his VP pick, were yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, and the line between free speech and hate speech was growing thin. Use of the mob card has opened up another avenue for Obama to legitimately question McCain’s judgment.
As cat calls from the Base filled McCain’s vacuous policies, McCain realized too late that those “angry and bitter” voters, fueled by McCain’s smear ads, are convinced that Obama is a “terrorist.” This was surely the intent of his campaign advertising but it comes at a price. When the Base cheer Limbaugh while driving and sing praise to pastors who tell them Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment, there are no cameras rolling. But at a rally on Friday in Minneapolis, McCain was painfully aware of the cameras when a woman in his hand-picked town hall audience said she couldn’t vote for Obama because “he’s an Arab.” A disgruntled looking McCain took the mic away and politely said that Obama is an honorable citizen. He crowd booed. Even with the Bible thumpers, you reap what you sow.
While McCain knew he couldn’t let that ridiculous falsehood stand, it is telling that his response did not include the word “American”; nor did he bother to state in no uncertain terms before cameras that Obama is neither an Arab nor a Muslim. Rather than directly contradict the woman’s statement, McCain just shook his head no and then used politically correct language to simply say that Obama should not be feared. Given McCain’s complicity and his lack of intervention before reaching this boiling point, it is not unfair to ask if his “no” was simply a realization that the bus was backfiring.
McCain’s campaign is in a ditch because he gave the driver’s seat on The Straight Talk Express to the same campaign operatives who drunkenly drove the economy off a cliff and are doing the same thing to the campaign. While he continues to hammer Obama’s non-existent relationship to “questionable” associates, it is McCain’s associates, who thought they could deliver the White House by playing the mob card; it is they who need to be called into question along with McCain’s judgment.