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Bill Ayers is the new Vince Foster

By Amanda Marcotte
Friday, October 10, 2008 22:49 EDT
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And by that, I mean that the repetition of the name will get to the point where it’s drained of all meaning, but is just a bell whistle to extract a Pavlovian hate response towards Obama from right wingers. That sort of toxic wingnuttery is exactly the sort of thing that tends to turn off middle of the road people, and so I find myself a bit baffled as to why McCain/Palin are ramping it up. Are they hoping that people will dread another eight years of black helicopter nuts and wacky conspiracy theories and will give into the terrorists who use stupidity as their weapon, electing McCain to get relief? I doubt it—the “OMG Ayers-Foster-black-helicopters!” set looks childish in the face of our economic crisis, and anyway, Republicans look guilty by association. But the tenor of the Republican campaign rallies has turned so ugly, so far to the right, that this is beyond guilt by association. This is McCain giving a sloppy kiss to the crazies. What could they possibly be hoping to accomplish with this?

Theories:

McCain has just lost his shit. The evidence for this is that he’s the kind of person who loses his shit all the time. Egged on by Palin, it’s possible that McCain is just going to gorge himself on hatred if he can’t win. Standing before an angry mob that will turn violent on your behalf the second that you say the word probably feels good. However, it was clear in the debates that the lines that McCain and Palin both thought would just kill went over like rocks with the non-wingnut audience. Is being immersed in wingnuttery making them forget most Americans are not wingnuts?

They actually think this will win them the election. I can’t see how they could think this, but I had to include it as a possibility.

They’re hoping to incite some violence that will change everything, even perhaps stopping the election. People like to forget about how rioters in Florida helped Bush “win” an election he didn’t win, but it did happen. As Paul Krugman notes, they’re playing to a constituency that simply refuses to accept that a Democrat can be President. Having seen what happened in Florida in 2000, and with the knowledge that the wingnut base is also rabidly racist, McCain has got to know that they’re going to be exponentially more furious that people who they don’t think of as legitimate voters (i.e. anyone who would vote Democrat) won this round. So why is he pushing them, when he knows they’re capable of violence? Well, violence could change the dynamics of the race. It seems impossible to me that they would change the dynamics in favor of McCain. But consider that McCain watched Bush snatch away what he thought was his chance to be President, and ever since then he’s just tried to out-Bush Bush. This might be another example of him thinking, “If it worked for Bush, then it’ll be twice as good for me if you do it twice as much.”

Sabotaging Obama’s Presidency. Like Krugman says, with the sort of fuel added to the right wing fire, they’re going to be completely insufferable, even compared to the Vince Foster/Whitewater nonsense of the Clinton years. The seed that was planted with conspiracy theories and fake expose videos blossomed into the impeachment trial, and also, I’d argue, the election theft. If democracy works this time around, the right will not take it lying down, but do everything in their power to destroy the democratic process. McCain probably doesn’t know what that might entail, but he’s willing to plant the seed to see what tree will grow.

Palin’s running the show now. And using the tactics that have worked for her in the past on a population of people that have grown all the more wingnutty from isolation and lack of sunshine.

What do you think?

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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