Racist McCain

I was afraid the Westbrook Pegler citation in Sarah Palin’s convention speech was going down the memory hole, but Frank Rich mentions it in his column today:

The tone was set at the Republican convention, with Rudy Giuliani’s mocking dismissal of Obama as an “only in America” affirmative-action baby. We also learned then that the McCain campaign had recruited as a Palin handler none other than Tucker Eskew, the South Carolina consultant who had worked for George W. Bush in the notorious 2000 G.O.P. primary battle where the McCains and their adopted Bangladeshi daughter were slimed by vicious racist rumors.

No less disconcerting was a still-unexplained passage of Palin’s convention speech: Her use of an unattributed quote praising small-town America (as opposed to, say, Chicago and its community organizers) from Westbrook Pegler, the mid-century Hearst columnist famous for his anti-Semitism, racism and violent rhetorical excess. After an assassin tried to kill F.D.R. at a Florida rally and murdered Chicago’s mayor instead in 1933, Pegler wrote that it was “regrettable that Giuseppe Zangara shot the wrong man.” In the ’60s, Pegler had a wish for Bobby Kennedy: “Some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow falls.”

This is the writer who found his way into a speech by a potential vice president at a national political convention. It’s astonishing there’s been no demand for a public accounting from the McCain campaign. Imagine if Obama had quoted a Black Panther or Louis Farrakhan — or William Ayers — in Denver.

The operatives who would have Palin quote Pegler have been at it ever since. A key indicator came two weeks after the convention, when the McCain campaign ran its first ad tying Obama to the mortgage giant Fannie Mae. Rather than make its case by using a legitimate link between Fannie and Obama (or other Democratic leaders), the McCain forces chose a former Fannie executive who had no real tie to Obama or his campaign but did have a black face that could dominate the ad’s visuals.

[From Frank Rich – The Terrorist Barack Hussein Obama – NYTimes.com]

Is John McCain a bigot? Maybe, maybe not, but his campaign surely is. If McCain was the leader he proclaims himself to be, he would be able to effortlessly lead those demagogues into the 21st century, away from the mindless racism that stems from fear of the unknown. But he isn’t, and he won’t.

2 thoughts on “Racist McCain

  1. Dave says:

    At the outset of this campaign, I respected McCain and while I supported Obama, I thought McCain would make a decent President, too. Now I think the guy is an unethical scumbag. He’s also running robocalls claiming Obama hangs out with terrorists and supports sex education in Kindergarten. The program in question taught young children to protect themselves from sexual predators, but I guess McCain supports the rights of sexual predators.

  2. Exactly! McCain seemed like an amiable guy, even for a Republican, based on his appearances on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and elsewhere. Not somebody I would vote for, but a decent enough guy.

    Apparently the real John McCain is much more of a demagogue, and much more dangerous. I’ve lost a lot of respect for McCain in the last year, and especially in the last few months.

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