Tuesday, October 7, 2008


A year ago I complained about Barack Obama leading a gospel show around South Carolina in a bid to attract black Christian voters in the South.

The idea of a Presidential candidate headlining such a gathering struck me as an inappropriate splicing together of state and church—way beyond simply speaking at an already scheduled church meeting—and exacerbated by the fact that the show closed with ex-gay gospel singer Donnie McClurkin reciting a 15-minute prayer, praising God for saving him from the homosexual lifestyle.

The string of events and Obama’s clueless responses to gay men and women pissed off by the spectacle remain the bone I’ll just have to swallow next month when I vote Democratic.

But what to make now of the reports I hear about the John McCain/Sarah Palin tour?

Apparently, the Republican candidates are now speaking before hysterical, roiling, hyena-like crowds of true believers that only Nathanael West could have done justice to.

Today in Jacksonville, Florida, Sarah Palin misrepresented Obama’s remarks on US troops in Afghanistan as attacks, triggering one guy in the audience to yell, “Treason!”

Yesterday, speaking in New Mexico, John McCain rhetorically asked, “Who is the real Barack Obama?” to which somebody in the crowd shouted angrily, “Terrorist!”

McCain heard the remark (as evident on the YouTube video of the incident—at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvXf9AUHTqM), he grimaces slightly, but he is unwilling or incapable of responding to tone down the level of crazy.

On Monday, at a rally in Washington, when Palin raised the issue of Obama’s associations with Weathermen co-founder Bill Ayers, somebody in the crowd screamed, “Kill him!”

While Barack Obama and Joe Biden criticize McCain’s positions while demanding respect for the man and his patriotic self-sacrifice (ad nauseam, I might add), McCain and Palin seem to savor the fact that their crowds boo the very name of Obama—and that’s when they’re being relatively polite.

A year ago Obama went slightly off the rail, crusading like he’s Billy Graham. Who would have imagined that this year the Republican candidates would be trying to reenact the 1969 Free Concert at Altamont?

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