Sunday, October 12, 2008

McCain: tragic figure

Tragic in the classical sense: a figure who is undone by himself.

McCain is now trying to walk back the Krystalnacht-style turn that his campaign has taken. But his Republican supporters are having none of it:
Said McCain, "I want to be president of the United States and I obviously I do not want Senator Obama to be. But I have to tell you, I have to tell you, he is a decent person. And a person that you do not have to be scared as president of the United States."

The crowd booed.

Bits and pieces of bad behaviour continue to leak out from McCain's campaign rallies. Here we have a McCain supporter who'd brought in a monkey with an Obama bumper sticker stuck on it. Here we have the official clergyman for the event give the following invocation at the start:
"I would also pray, Lord, that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are millions of people around this world praying to their god - whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah - that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons,” Conrad said.

“And Lord, I pray that you would guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens. So I pray that you will step forward and honor your own name with all that happens between now and Election Day"

"Buddah"? Praying to "their god?"

Sometimes the McCain campaign gives a lukewarm indication that McCain doesn't like this sort of thing, as with their official statement about that invocation:
While we understand the important role that faith plays in informing the votes of Iowans, questions about the religious background of the candidates only serve to distract from the real questions in this race about Barack Obama’s judgment, policies and readiness to lead as commander in chief.

But sometimes the campaign comes out with the claim that pointing out this bad behaviour is an unfair attack on Mccain's supporters:
Barack Obama’s attacks on Americans who support John McCain reveal far more about him than they do about John McCain. It is clear that Barack Obama just doesn’t understand regular people and the issues they care about. He dismisses hardworking middle class Americans as clinging to guns and religion, while at the same time attacking average Americans at McCain rallies who are angry at Washington, Wall Street and the status quo.

By the by, this post contains a poll comparing Independent voters' opinion about if they think Obama or McCain "understands your needs and problems". Obama blows McCain out of the water.

The difficulty McCain faces now is that the destructive social forces he unleashed are beyond his control, and are threatening to destroy not only him, but the social fabric of the country as well. Can you imagine what these people are going to do if Obama wins? Some commentors on American blogs I read are already discussing the best small arms to get for self-defense purposes should the Reichstag Right turn violent after "Barack Hussein Osama" becomes President.

Worse for Mccain, the Reichstag Right appears to exist within his own campaign apparatus, and even appears to include his own Vice Presidential nominee. That's my interpretation of this recent article from the Sunday Times, anyway: McCain tussles with Palin over whipping up a mob mentality. Read the whole thing, and be very afraid.

In classical tragedy, the tragic hero must sacrifice himself in order to right the larger wrong he helped create. It's certainly not necessary to go that far in this day and age of course, but I will say this: John McCain, the only way you can win is by feeding this mob. If you don't, they'll turn on you and demand you be replaced by someone who will, like your own running mate. If you do, you'll be responsible for everything that this mob does in the future to all the people that they merely demonise and threaten now.

You can either try to become president of the United States of America on the backs of those who do not believe that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are the right of anyone who is not exactly like them, or you can show that you truly believe in American values, ensure that the next President is not faced with a large segment of his own population wanting to kill him just for being who he is, and oppose this mob and everything it stands for, even though politically it will cost you everything.

It's either you or the country. Make your choice.

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