Yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) scolded the recent angry disruptions at congressional town halls on his twitter feed. While McCain’s opposition to the behavior of right-wing activists is a welcome development, the wave of unfounded, anti-Obama hate found legitimacy through the McCain Presidential campaign last year.
Rather than talking about health care or the economy, once Sarah Palin joined the McCain ticket, calling into question the legitimacy and patriotism of Obama became a central message of the campaign. And with this line of rhetoric, anger directed at Obama found a venue at McCain rallies. To divert attention away from policy issues, Palin focused her attention on decrying Obama’s alleged ties to the “unrepentant terrorist” Bill Ayers. Palin’s denunciations of Obama were met with loud cries of “kill him!” Instead of immediately clamping down on these calls to violence and racial slurs featured at campaign events, the McCain campaign searched for ways to harness them — notably, for example, embracing the mentally ill Ashley Todd, who faked a racially-motivated political attack.
McCain himself was booed when he described Obama as a “decent man” and denied claims that he is an “Arab.” Despite this incident and many others, the McCain campaign maintained its tacit approval by remaining largely quiet. This right-wing hate, being harnessed by lobbyists-run organizations and the GOP, is now on full display at congressional town halls. Progressive Media has compiled a video on this phenomenon:
Rather than heed McCain’s responsible twitter message, Republicans are actively supporting the wild disruptions at town halls.