Washington Monthly: Political Animal: HATE, FEAR, AND IGNORANCE

Washington Monthly: Political Animal

HATE, FEAR, AND IGNORANCE

On CNN last night, David Gergen, a Republican advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton, commented on the “anger” evident at McCain/Palin rallies of late. “There is this free floating sort of whipping around anger that could really lead to some violence,”Gergen said. “I think we’re not far from that.”

When Anderson Cooper expressed skepticism about whether violence was likely, Gergen said he “really worries” given “the kind of rhetoric” coming from the Republican ticket.

This week has been unusually incendiary. The McCain campaign has deliberately been whipping the angry, far-right Republican base into a frenzy. That includes increasing frequency of “Hussein” references, but it also includes looking the other way while campaign supporters exclaim “treason!,” “terrorist!,” and “kill him!” during official rallies.

On Wednesday, during a McCain harangue against Obama, one man could be heard yelling, “Off with his head!” On Thursday, Republicans erupted when an unhinged McCain supporter ranted about “socialists taking over our country.” Instead of calming them down, McCain said the lunatic was “right.”

Both the Washington Post and the Politico have good items today on the explosive, enraged emotions at this week’s Republican rallies. Slate’s John Dickerson described the participants’ “bloodthirsty” tone.

There are, obviously, more than a few questions to consider. Will McCain/Palin push their enraged mob into committing acts of violence? (We can hope not.) Will the hysterical Republican base consider Obama/Biden legitimate if they win in November? (I doubt it.)

And then there’s the practical question: will the combination of hate, fear, and ignorance actually pay off on Election Day? Polls show Obama leading now, but the truth is, most of these polls were taken before McCain turned the Rage-o’-Meter to 11. How will mainstream voters react?

Time will obviously answer that question soon enough, but I found John Weaver’s perspective especially interesting.

John Weaver, McCain’s former top strategist, said top Republicans have a responsibility to temper this behavior.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: