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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

During the primaries Hillary Clinton was pilloried (and I think rightly so) for a speech that seemed to suggest that part of the justification for her long candidacy was the possibility of an Obama assassination. But the fires that McCain/Palin are now stoking are a thousand times hotter and more dangerous. It is profoundly irresponsible for a presidential campaign, in the heat of an intense campaign, with frazzled and demoralized supporters bracing for a big loss, to use eliminationist rhetoric that provokes screams of "Kill him!" and "Terrorist!" from its audience. And it is, certainly, particularly disgusting in this instance, as the specter of assassination has haunted the Obama candidacy since its inception. For McCain/Palin to embark down this road, at this time, in this way, is a deep and fundamental betrayal of the democractic compact that keeps this country functional, a deliberate and calculated rhetoric of hate that in the best-case scenario won't even help them win and in the worst could result in the unthinkable.

"Country first" used to mean something. This isn't it.