Beware the Muck at the Bottom of the Lake

Kyle’s post immediately below gives me the perfect segue for this commentary by Josh Marshall:

If you’re thinking to yourself that there’s little more than two weeks before election day and Obama has a solid lead in the polls, don’t be so sure.

Yes, it looks good for the Democrats. But you need to play close attention to the McCain campaign’s final weeks’ strategy under and just above the radar. McCain’s final strategy relies on two pillars. The first is aggressively playing to voters’ fears of electing a black president. Make no mistake: not just his campaign in a general sense, but McCain himself and his top handful of advisers, are banking on the residual racism in a changing America to get them over the finish line. The second is an aggressive use of innuendo to convince casual voters that Obama is in league with Islamic terrorists bent on killing Americans.

Many people have asked whether enough Americans really care any more about the cultural convulsions of the 1960s. The answer? It doesn’t matter. For the McCain campaign, Bill Ayers has nothing to do with 60s radicalism. Ayers is nothing more than a tool that permits McCain, Palin and all their surrogates to use the noun “terrorist” in polite company in the same sentence as “Obama,” over and over and over again. It allows them to cobble together a ‘respectable’ version of those Obama smear emails they can push in commercials and robocalls and surrogate talking points every hour of every day.

Stripped down to its components McCain’s message to voters is this: “Don’t forget. He’s definitely black. And he may be a terrorist.” That’s the message. The nuts and bolts is a concerted effort to keep Democrats from voting — through intimidation, by striking new voters from the rolls, which is going to happen to lots of them, clogging polling stations to create delays that keep late day (predominantly) Obama voters from voting altogether. Smears in the air and voter suppression on the ground.

And we shouldn’t get complacent just because this ugliness hasn’t worked up until now. As Josh points out, the main reason it hasn’t worked is that, via the media and public opinion polls, there’s been a price to pay in terms of lessened support. But now we’re in the final stretch. There just isn’t the time anymore for that kind of pushback to have the effect it had before.

We need to be vigilant.

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