John over at AmericaBlog makes a good and important point today in a post today, and I'd like to do my small part to echo and hopefully amplify the outrage around an idea they've brought up. The idea is basically that McCain's choice to start attacking Barack Obama in certain ways this week is not simply dirty, it is dangerous. The accusations being tossed around by Palin and McCain today are the kind of ideas that stand some chance of riling up the craziest of the lunatic fringe on the borders of the right wing in America, the kind of folks who yell, "terrorist" at McCain rallies or, "kill him!" while Sarah Palin talks about Obama.
By suggesting Obama likes to hang out with terrorists and that we don't know who Obama really is they are playing the classic Republican, those who disagree with us are unpatriotic card, but with some ugly and new racial, ethnic and geopolitically tinged undertones. In essence, they are saying something that will sound to the craziest on the right like, "Obama is a terrorist," and in so doing I think they have truly crossed a line that has everything to do with decency.
Now, I know and am not surprised (nor should you be) that politics is ugly. However, the two-faced talk about bipartisanship, McCain's ability to reach across the isle, and building a better future, all while smearing their opponents in the ugliest possible way strikes me as something more people should speak out about. The larger pattern already established has been outrageous long before this week's increased intensity. What is new, is the dangerous and tantalizing possibility McCain's camp keeps spreading, the clearly implied endorsement of all those ugly forwarded emails that have been circulating since long before the Democratic primaries were over.
This world of lies and disinformation, these whispered notions about Obama being a secret Muslim and a friend of terrorists do absolutely nothing to move our discourse forward, nothing to benefit America or strengthen our nation. They take the exact the opposite tack from the dignified tone Biden took in the VP debate when he discussed his belief that you should never question other peoples' motives, simply their tactics, choices, perspective, etc.
I am not worried about the fact that today was simply an uglier day in a race that is likely to get a bit more dirty as the week wears on, but what worries me is that all of a sudden the McCain camp has put this campaign back in a place where it seems rational and reasonable to worry about what the lunatic fringe might do if Obama wins the election. I, for one, am angry that this kind of concern seems rational again. Angry and disappointed.