Sent to you by Sean McBride via Google Reader: McCainism via Talking
Points Memo by Josh Marshall on 11/1/08
For my own part, obviously, I hope Barack Obama can pull off a victory
on Tuesday. But more than that, I hope the result of the election can
be a rebuke, a closing of the book on McCainism and the moral filth it
has come to represent. I'm under no illusion that negative or even
nasty campaigning will come to an end in the USA. I don't think that's
realistic or even necessarily desirable. Hard-fought and brass-knuckle
politics is something built into the fiber of American politics. It's
part and parcel of the intensity of belief and passion that many of us
have for the issues at stake in our elections.

But McCain's campaign has devolved into something altogether
different ... what with its increasingly open appeals to racial
conflict and aggressive invocations of blood hatred of Arabs and
Muslims. As The New Republic phrases it, McCain's "subtle incitements
of racial warfare and underhanded implications of foreign nativity."
Over the months we've become desensitized to the moral depravity of
McCain's campaign.

There is of course what appears to be a more conventional attack on
economics and taxes. But 'socialism' refers, if we can speak in
shorthand, to state ownership of large portions of the economy. In
other words, something like the Bush administration's decision to have
the government purchase a large amount of the financial services
industry. But as John Judis notes, a closer look at the language and
imargery McCain's 'socialism' pitch reveals it's actually "about whites
paying their taxes so that lazy, indolent, unemployed blacks can live
off them."

McCarthyism has rightly become an American shorthand for smearing
liberals and anyone else from the center leftward as political
traitors. The McCain campaign's current campaign of villification of
Rashid Khalidi is cut from a very similar cloth -- the kind of rancid
race-baiting that we sometimes see at the fringes of our politics but
seldom quite so directly and formally from a national campaign, even
going so far as to have McCain himself compare Khalidi to a neo-nazi.
Where McCainism is different is in its particular amalgam of racism and
xenophobia specially suited to this historical moment, to this opponent
and to Americans' continuing fears of foreign threat from Muslims and
Arabs seven years into the War on Terror.

We'll always have a national dark side. But some signal needs to be
sent, at least for a while, that this sort of filth, his character
assassination and appeals to race hatred is not an effective life raft
for desperate opportunists looking to save themselves by degrading this
country. A McCain defeat would go some way to accomplishing that.

Things you can do from here:
- Subscribe to Talking Points Memo using Google Reader
- Get started using Google Reader to easily keep up with all your
favorite sites

Reply via email to