In an appearance Thursday on CNN's Larry King Live, filmmaker Michael Moore commented on a wide variety of topics having to do with the presidential election, including Sarah Palin's wardrobe, but he was most eloquent when decrying the role of racism and ignorance in the campaign.
Moore began by rebutting Republican accusations that Obama is a "socialist," saying, "McCain, his campaign, they stand for socialism for the rich. Obama and the Democrats stand for giving these guys [working behind me] and other people like them a break."
Moore continued this theme when asked about McCain campaign's purchase of $150,000 in clothing for Governor Palin. "Let's cut the crap. All this Joe six-pack stuff. Governor Palin and her husband, the last tax return they turned in, made almost a quarter of a million dollars together. ... So I would assume that she likes to shop at Saks and Neiman Marcus and these places. If you make a quarter million dollars, you can do that. ... This is the genius of the Republicans, because they always love for someone else to pay the bill."
However, it took a question about General Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama to break Moore out of his usual populist jabs and into something more heartfelt. "I'm not a fan of his, that's for certain, " Moore said of Powell. "He has a lot of repenting to do for leading this country into war. But I'm a strong believer in redemption, and the words that he spoke were so powerful ... what he said about 'what's wrong with being a Muslim in this country, so what if Obama was?' That's like the key thing."
Moore was less impressed by McCain's reaction to a woman at one of his events who called Obama an Arab. "I know his conscience was trying to handle it well," suggested Moore, "because I think at John McCain's core, you know, he's not a racist, he doesn't believe this sort of thing, and he just chose the dark road to go down. But to say that 'no ma'am, he's not an Arab, he's decent.' That was what Powell was saying -- it's like wait a minute, you've said the wrong thing again."
"When I saw that," continued Moore, "I thought to myself, 'You know what, Obama's main opponent in this election on November 4th is not John McCain, it's ignorance.' It's Obama versus ignorance -- and will ignorance and hatred and racism win? Or will whoever should be the next president, who the majority of the people want to be the president, is that what's going to happen?"
"If a certain number of millions of people are going to vote out of ignorance," Moore added, "I hope that they would educate themselves some time in the next eleven days."
After Moore had finished, Larry King invited several Republicans to comment on the interview. Talk radio host Joe Pagliarulo began by defending Sarah Palin on the grounds that "a quarter of a million dollars for a family of seven is hardly rich."
However, the rebuttals focused on Moore's assertion that divided government would not be a good thing in the current economic crisis because "we are going to need an FDR-style era, where we have a president and a Congress that will work together ... to pull the country out of the mess that it's in."
Talk show host Michael Medved suggested that the Democrats in Congress should be held responsible for the current problems, saying, "If you talk about the downturn of the last two years, the Democrats happened to be in charge."
And former Virginia GOP chair Kate Obenshain did her best to link Obama to the unpopular leadership in Congress. "If there's a chance there's going to be a Reid-Pelosi-Obama administration -- the triumvirate," she stated, "then I think some folks are starting to sit back and getting a little nervous about the prospect of that."
"I know that Michael Moore was laughing gleefully at that prospect," Obershain concluded, "but that should make Americans a little nervous, that it excites Michael Moore to such an extent that he can't contain himself."