The acrimony on the presidential campaign trail has reached new lows in distortions, misinformation and irresponsible racially and religiously coded attacks by pundits, campaign staffers, surrogates and the candidates themselves.
That divisiveness has spilled over into campaign rallies over the last several weeks, provoking long-simmering class, gender and racial tensions expressed as everything from full-throated criticisms and angry outbursts to subtle pretext questioning the nominees’ patriotism, mental stability and public demands for candidates’ medical records.
The most egregious examples from the McCain camp range from campaign co-chair ex-Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating using racially loaded terms to describe Obama; Rep. Michele Bachmann calling for McCarthy-esque investigations of Obama, his wife, Michelle, and other members of Congress for alleged anti-American beliefs; to yahoos across the nation whipped into a frenzy shouting “nigger,” “terrorist” and “kill him” at recent rallies headlined by GOP vice presidential nominee Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Though less obvious in their tactics, Obama and his surrogates have steathily insinuated doubts about McCain’s age and mental health by invoking the terms “erratic,” “reckless” and “risky” when describing their opponent.