Last night, on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) attacked Barack Obama as being “anti-American” for his past relationships with Bill Ayers and Rev. Wright. Bachmann even went so far as to invoke Michelle Obama’s ancinet comments about “for the first time being proud of my country.” (So much for the campaigns laying off family members.) Matthews pressed Bachmann to name other members of Congress that she felt were anti-American, specifically asking about Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Bachmann audaciously insinuated that most, if not all liberals are anti-American and demanded that the media do an expose into which members of Congress are anti-American. There is now a major campaign underway to petition Congress to censure Ms. Bachmann, and there are reports that since the interview aired, Ms. Bachmann’s Democratic challenger has a received a swell of campaign donations totaling nearly $500,000.
The actions of Ms. Bachmann along with the behavior of the McCain campaign is highly troubling. Today, during a radio broadcast, John McCain suggested that Barack Obama is a socialist based on the assessment of Obama’s tax plan by his new poster boy “Joe the Plumber”. (This is the same Joe The Plumber who owes back taxes; is not really a licensed plumber; is in no financial position to buy the business, which by the way only grosses $100,000 and therefore would receive a TAX CUT under Obama’s plan; and thinks Social Security is a joke.) So, rather than repudiate Bachmann’s salacious remarks, the McCain camp is high-fiving her. What’s next? If McCain doesn’t see a bump in the polls, will he up the ante and start calling Obama a communist and claiming that his aides have seen Obama reading Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto?
Look, presidential campaigns are brutal, but this is beyond ridiculous and if it doesn’t stop, we could be looking at another McCarthy era in which conservatives will being going door to door literally hunting for liberals. What has transpired in this 2008 race makes the swift-boating of 2004 look like a playground taunt.
What I find most appalling though, is the hypocrisy of the Republicans, especially considering that John McCain and Sarah Palin have associated with characters of questionable “American ideals”. Ms. Bachmann was relentless in her bashing of Obama’s relationship with Ayers, yet I can only assume she is not as upset about John McCain’s friendship with G. Gordon Liddy, who, besides being one of the architects of the Watergate scandal, also has some pretty radical views of his own. On the Vietnam War, Liddy said if he had his way he would have “drowned half the country and starved the other half.” During the Branch Davidian conflict in Waco,TX, Liddy insisted that the cult should defeat the ATF agents by “shooting them in the head” since they were wearing flak jackets. And perhaps most disturbing of all, on listening to Adolf Hitler on the radio , he said, “Hitler’s sheer animal confidence and power of will entranced me. He sent an electric current through my body.”
Now, if you believe the right wing nuts that the media is all “left wing liberals”, why hasn’t this relationship gained as much traction as the Obama-Ayers link? Why are the Republicans allowed to continue the Ayers link without equal representation of McCain’s skeletons?
And then you have Sarah Palin going around saying that “Obama pals around with terrorists.” and that “Obama doesn’t see America as the rest of us see America.” Wasn’t Palin’s husband a registered member of the Alaska Independence Party – a party that continues to seek the secession of Alaska? Isn’t there video of Palin HERSELF addressing the AIP Convention earlier THIS YEAR? Isn’t there a YouTube video of radical AIP members talking amicably about Palin and figuring out how they get her to infiltrate the mainstream Republican party presumably to advance their causes? This woman has the audacity to claim Barack Obama is anti-American?
As ugly as all that is, there does seem to be some hope that Americans have learned a thing or two from the McCarthy days. Seeing photos of the Obama rally in St. Louis that was witnessed by over 100,000 supporters brought tears to my eyes. People are hurting in this country right now thanks in large part to the buffoonery of the current administration. People are hungry for change. They see that change in Obama and images like that in St. Louis today should be somewhat reassuring to good, honest Americans who are fed up with the sleaze and lies that have defined the McCain/Palin campaign. Obama’s rallies feature people of all color, creed, and social standing – a true reflection of America at its best. Anyone looking at these images should feel proud that we as Americans don’t have to settle for the fear and hate mongering coming out of the Republican side. Ironically, these images help make people like Ms. Bachmann appear as the anti-American ones.