Washington Independent: Is the ‘Southern Strategy’ Alive and Well?

Washington Independent

Is the ‘Southern Strategy’ Alive and Well?

It is getting pretty ugly on the road with the McCain campaign — and that may be an indication the character attacks on Sen. Barack Obama are working.

After Gov. Sarah Palin spent a couple of days making an issue of Obama’s connection to former Weatherman William Ayers, Sen. John McCain yesterday asked a rally in New Mexico, “Who is the real Barack Obama?” One audience member ignored the rhetorical nature of the question and cried out, “A terrorist!”

Perhaps the most disturbing part of the exchange was that many in the crowd laughed. Not nervously, as if shocked that somebody would say something so outrageous,  but as if they genuinely thought the remark was funny.

The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank reported that during a rally in Florida when Palin said that Ayers was an early supporter of Obama, somebody yelled, “Kill him!”

Milbank wrote today that Palin’s frequent attacks on the media also have provoked an ugly crowd reaction:

In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric’s questions for her “less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media.” At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network, and told him, “Sit down, boy.”

All this happened yesterday. One day does not make a trend — but it does provide an indicator for what may be happening.

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