On Saturday, Mr. Rich, being the self-perceived legend he thinks he is, saw fit to spend his day writing this piece for publishing on Sunday. Likewise, Maureen Dowd spent her Saturday typing out her usual partisan elitist vitriol, designed to persuade her readers that she has a clue. I don't know who they are trying to convince, us or them. But I can say one thing for sure, neither one impresses me.
Both writers are trying to make the case that John McCain and Sarah Palin are guilty of whipping up their crowds, into angry mob-like frenzies.
From the Rich piece we read this:
At McCain-Palin rallies, the raucous and insistent cries of “Treason!” and “Terrorist!” and “Kill him!” and “Off with his head!” as well as the uninhibited slinging of racial epithets, are actually something new in a campaign that has seen almost every conceivable twist. They are alarms. Doing nothing is not an option.
All’s fair in politics. John McCain and Sarah Palin have every right to bring up William Ayers, even if his connection to Obama is minor, even if Ayers’s Weather Underground history dates back to Obama’s childhood, even if establishment Republicans and Democrats alike have collaborated with the present-day Ayers in educational reform. But it’s not just the old Joe McCarthyesque guilt-by-association game, however spurious, that’s going on here. Don’t for an instant believe the many mindlessly “even-handed” journalists who keep saying that the McCain campaign’s use of Ayers is the moral or political equivalent of the Obama campaign’s hammering on Charles Keating.
What makes them different, and what has pumped up the Weimar-like rage at McCain-Palin rallies, is the violent escalation in rhetoric, especially (though not exclusively) by Palin. Obama “launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist.” He is “palling around with terrorists” (note the plural noun). Obama is “not a man who sees America the way you and I see America.” Wielding a wildly out-of-context Obama quote, Palin slurs him as an enemy of American troops.
By the time McCain asks the crowd “Who is the real Barack Obama?” it’s no surprise that someone cries out “Terrorist!” The rhetorical conflation of Obama with terrorism is complete. It is stoked further by the repeated invocation of Obama’s middle name by surrogates introducing McCain and Palin at these rallies. This sleight of hand at once synchronizes with the poisonous Obama-is-a-Muslim e-mail blasts and shifts the brand of terrorism from Ayers’s Vietnam-era variety to the radical Islamic threats of today.
Dowd is more reliant on the skills she learned in her high school creative writing class, than any serious talents cultivated in journalism school. In her own cute way, she mirrors Rich's claim by using Dowd Latin:
Cum Quirites Americani ad rallias Republicanas audiunt nomen Baraci Husseini Obamae, clamant “Mortem!” “Amator terroris!” “Socialiste!” “Bomba Obamam!” “Obama est Arabus!” “Caput excidi!” tempus sit rabble-rouseribus desistere “Smear Talk Express,” ut Stephanus Colbertus dixit. Obama demonatus est tamquam Musulmanus-Manchurianus candidatus — civis “collo-cerviciliaris” ad ralliam Floridianam Palinae exhabet mascum Obamae ut Luciferis.
From these passages, it is apparent that no one would dare be angry or verbalize that anger in a public setting, unless they were incited by McCain and Palin.
But now let's take a look at what happens when a group of McCain/Palin supporters quietly exercised their constitutional rights, by marching through parts of New York City:
I am patiently waiting for Rich and Dowd to explain this one. But not to worry, I won't hold my breath.