Friday, October 17, 2008
My mom always implores me to try to sympathetically understand the ignorant Republican base that's out there wandering around America screaming wildly about how they believe Obama to be a baby-killing, terrorist sympathizing Arab-Manchurian candidate. Although I generally try to give ignorant rubes little quarter, this piece in the center-leaning American Conservative gives me some pause for sympathy:
Perhaps you‘ve seen it, the near-precise moment when John McCain lost control of his campaign. The scene is a now familiar one, the bogus “town-hall meeting.” He’s passing the microphone around like a decrepit Donahue, standing before a woman who starts by saying she “can’t trust” Obama; McCain is nodding along, intimately engaged for the moment in manipulating the neurotic angst that is the dwindling lifeblood of his campaign. About the time she says her fear is due to what she’s been reading, a look of worry creases his trademark frown of condescending concern; he’s contemplating preemptively snatching the microphone back from her, when she lays it on him: Obama is “an Arab”. She’s managed to confuse her slander (assuming there isn‘t an “Obama is an Arab” email careening about the internet), but it matters not.
Taking back the microphone, still in the affectedly somber tones we usually hear dulling the senator’s continual call to panic (before the more immediate economic panic swamped it along with his campaign) he informs his disappointed supporter that while he‘s spent the last several months denouncing as irresponsible peace-mongering Barack Obama‘s marginal departure from a foreign policy of serial occupations determined by the requirements of AIPAC and the defense industry, no, the man is in fact human, and all that entails. The crowd lets fly with various notes of despair, all but booing their candidate.
It was about as close to sympathetic as our too-proud would-be president has come in a long time, but it’s the anonymous woman, now a momentary punchline, who deserves our compassion (in taking a break from writing this I find her being parodied on television as “Crazy McCain Campaign Lady”). Her only sins are a lack of sophistication and an abiding faith in a political party. In taking advantage of this that party has terrorized her with the serial bogeys of Iraqi WMD, Iranian nuclear weapons, treasonous Democrats and now an Islamic Manchurian Candidate, with only resolute John McCain and his platoon of lobbyists and ideologues standing athwart these allied furies, united solely but unalterably in their Hatred of America and Her Freedoms.