These words spoken more than a half century ago about one of the Senate’s most vicious hate mongers have new relevance to Senator John McCain. Who we have largely taken to be a decent man has descended into the most dangerous attack on a fellow candidate in recent times. It is time he rescue his honor, remove Sarah Palin from his ticket and offer an apology to America and Senator Obama specifically. He has disgraced himself and unleashed forces that portend evil.
Palin’s irresponsible claim that Obama is a terrorist can fairly be interpreted as summoning up the crowd’s responsive calls for harm to his person. It is one thing to decry what proves to be a weak link between Senator Obama and William Ayers. It is quite another to claim that because of any such association Obama is a terrorist. That is irresponsible and beneath the dignity of the American people.
We should have gotten a clue of what the real purpose of naming Palin when as Frank Rich points out in the New York Times , she quoted Westbrook Pegler, a man who called for someone to splatter Bobby Kennedy’s brains; a man for whom hatred was the serum of life. We might have been wary when she told us she didn’t care what anyone asked she would say what she wanted heard.
Sarah Palin’s lack of contact with mainstream America of so many values and issues is troubling enough, but for her to become the cheerleader for hatred is beyond the pale. She has raised to the surface that strange brew of racism and violence unique to America in a way that is at once dangerous and insidious.
That senator McCain allows this horrible woman to spew hatred is unconscionable. It is both beneath his own standards but a complete repudiation of the one good attribute his candidacy once offered America – his willingness to bridge our divides. All that is gone, sacrificed to the evil god of ambition and hunger for power.
It would be nice to pretend that McCain is the victim of an out of control campaign and that he retains his basic goodness, but I can no longer do so. Many of us have long worried that his well known volatile temper would be a danger for anyone in the office of President. What we, or at least I, did not discern that his temper would find outlet through a woman of such little character as Sarah Palin.
This is a governor who was so petty as to use her influence to fire a former brother in law for personal reasons. This is a governor who doesn’t have a clue about what 90% of America deals with on a daily basis. She is either rather dumb or just not interested in using her mental resources. She is a joke that allows for no laughter.
All of that can be put into a “that’s politics” container – after all we made it through Dan Quayle. But it cannot be tolerated in modern America that she be allowed to work crowds into a lynch mob mentality where it is acceptable to call for killing the opposition candidate. It cannot be tolerated that McCain publicly asks for calm while his ads speak hatred and he retains the mistress of hate to share his ticket.
It is time for McCain to replace Sarah Palin or resign from it himself. Just as the junior Senator from Wisconsin brought dishonor to the Senate, McCain has brought dishonor to his party, the Senate and the electoral process.