The latest chant at Palin rallies is this: “Vote McCain, not Hussein!” or “John McCain! Not Hussein!” As NYT’s The Caucus is reporting, the former made an appearance at a rally earlier this week in Pennsylvania, the latter at one this morning in Florida:
After the rally in Florida ended, two of the people leading the chant explained why they did so.
“Because it rhymes,” said Shirley Mitten, 64, a volunteer at a pregnancy center and a resident of Brooksville, Fla. She said she does not know if Mr. Obama is a Muslim. “He says he’s not, but we have no way of knowing,” Ms. Mitten said.
Her husband, John A. Mitten, 64, took credit for starting the chant. “I was trying to get it going!” he said. “I just do not want Obama to be elected.”
Mr. Mitten said he could not trust Mr. Obama because of his past association with William Ayers, the 1960’s radical, and because of his relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. He also pointed out that Mr. Obama’s father was a Muslim.
The middle name Hussein, he said, added to the suspicion. “I guess Obama was named after Saddam Hussein,” he said.
We do know that Obama’s not a Muslim, and we do know that the Mittens are a couple of blithering idiots. But they are hardly the only ones in the McCain-Palin mob. And it isn’t just ignorance that drives them, it’s bigotry.
For so what if Obama were a Muslim? Would that automatically disqualify him from public office? Well, yes, to these people who are so full of hatred and spite.
And yet there they are, cheering on Sarah Palin, herself the cheerleader of the mob, spewing lies and deceptions at rally after rally.
Not all McCain-Palin supporters are like that, to be sure, but many of them are, and the ugliness, vicious attacks on Obama, some of it undeniably racist, has become a defining feature both of the McCain-Palin campaign and of its grassroots support.