To understand how far the Republican Party in Virginia will go to try and defeat Barack Obama in this battleground state, one only has to read this report from Time magazine’s Karen Tumulty:
If John McCain is as serious as he says about running a “respectful” campaign against an opponent he considers “a decent person,” word hasn’t yet trickled down to his newly opened storefront field office in Gainesville, Virginia.
No Democratic presidential candidate has carried Virginia since 1964, and most election years both campaigns pretty much ignore the state. This time, however, McCain is running behind Barack Obama in statewide polls, thanks in large part to the head start he got on the ground there. “We haven’t seen a race like this in Virginia — ever,” said state GOP Chairman Jeffrey M. Frederick. “The last time was 40 years ago, and they didn’t run races like this.”
Indeed, Frederick, a 33-year-old state legislator, hadn’t even been born yet. But earlier this year Frederick unseated a moderate 71-year-old former lieutenant governor (who also happens to be Jenna Bush’s father-in-law) to become head of the Virginia GOP, promising “bold new leadership” for a state party recently on the decline.
The McCain campaign invited me to visit Frederick and the Gainesville operation on Saturday morning, to get a first-hand glimpse of its ground game in Prince William County, Virginia, a fast-growing area about 30 miles from Washington, D.C.
With so much at stake, and time running short, Frederick did not feel he had the luxury of subtlety. He climbed atop a folding chair to give 30 campaign volunteers who were about to go canvassing door to door their talking points — for instance, the connection between Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden: “Both have friends that bombed the Pentagon,” he said. “That is scary.” It is also not exactly true — though that distorted reference to Obama’s controversial association with William Ayers, a former 60s radical, was enough to get the volunteers stoked. “And he won’t salute the flag,” one woman added, repeating another myth about Obama. She was quickly topped by a man who called out, “We don’t even know where Senator Obama was really born.” Actually, we do; it’s Hawaii.
This comes on the heels of a overtly racist column written by Bobby May, McCain’s chairman in nearby Buchanan County (where May was also County Treasurer). In the column, May says Obama’s platform includes:
Hire rapper Ludacris to paint (the White House) black. Taxes to be increased to by enough paint for the job plus spray-paint for graffiti.
Raise taxes to send $845 billion, most to Africa so the Obama family can skim off enough to allow them to free their goats and live the American dream.
May was forced to resign his post after the column appeared in The Voice, a Buchanan County newspaper. A McCain supporter, writing for Politico, called May’s attack just “one isolated piece from a low level party activist in a rural paper.”
Low level activist? According to The Richmond Times Dispatch:
May has been involved with dozens of Republican campaigns throughout Virginia, including former gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr., R-5th.
The McCain campaign may have dumped May but it has not distanced itself from Fredrick’s comments and the state chairman is hardly “a low level activist.”
Writes Virginia blogger Lowell Feld:
Look, we all know that Jeff Frederick is a right-wing extremist nutcase, but he’s also the head of the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV). That means, when Jeff Frederick utters one of his (many) crazy remarks, he’s representing the entire RPV.
What Jeff Frederick said in Time Magazine is stupid, hateful, and completely beyond the pale. It’s no better than the racist and anti-Muslim rantings of Bobby Lee May, who was forced to resign a few days ago as chairman of Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign in Buchanan County. So, when will the “leaders” of Virginia’s Republican Party – Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling, etc. – demand Jeff Frederick’s resignation as chairman of the RPV? When will John McCain and Sarah Palin repudiate Frederick’s remarks, just as John McCain grabbed the microphone away from a bigoted supporter who called Obama an “Arab” (as if there’s anything wrong with that)? If these people do NOT repudiate Frederick and force his resignation, can we conclude that they agree with his remarks? What’s it gonna be, guys?
P.S. Remember, this wasn’t some offhand remark by Frederick; he said it knowing that a reporter from TIME MAGAZINE was in the room taking notes for a story! Imagine what he says when the media isn’t present?!?
All of this are old tricks of the GOP. I saw such tactics used often when I worked for the Republican Party in the 1980s. A Republican friend who still works in the political game told me Bobby May’s racist diatribe is not an original work by him but was written by a staff member of the Republican National Committee in Washington and distributed to McCain campaign offices for whatever use they wanted to make of it. It has been widely circulated in emails sent out by GOP activists.
I’ve been watching the PBS series on American Presidents. Last night the segment on Richard Nixon aired. In 1950 he won a California Senate seat by defeating Democratic Representative Helen Gahagan Douglas. He did it using the dirtiest tactics to smear her as a person, at one point saying she was “pink right down to her underwear.” Douglas, who coined the nickname “Tricky Dick,” was interviewed for the show and described the Republican tactic of smearing an opponent’s character when they can not talk about the issues because if they did they would lose. “It’s that simple,” she said. The narrator of the show pointed out that those tactics can not only win campaigns but ruin entire political careers of the loser and sometimes entire lives.
Here’s a letter to Editor that appeared in The Star Telegram on racism in this election that a friend sent me in an email (scroll down a few letters). I found it interesting. Besides racism I think there is a prejudice against Democrats in general that comes into play, a double standard. http://www.star-telegram.com/245/v-print/story/885560.html
I just do not understand how the public can be so blinded by this man “Obama”? Has anyone read his books?? Here are just a couple of quotes from: From Dreams of My Father
“‘I ceased to advertise my mother’s race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites.’ Also “‘I ceased to advertise my mother’s race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites.’
Then in his book: From Audacity of Hope “‘I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.’
Do YOU really want this man in the highest position of American Government??? He has openly admitted that his christian faith is Muslim. Who do you think has commited all the most morbid hate crimes (9/11) in America??
Please explain to me what the American public is thinking??
I am so glad you made your post Hal. You said what I have been trying to word for days and post. I have been outraged to think that just because I don’t care for Obama that I am racist. I am always being called racist because of my beliefs and my support of the Rebel Flag. I have NOT ONE thing against black people or any other race for that matter. We are ALL human and gifts from God. I don’t care for Obama because I don’t agree with his “so called” tax proposal. It is bogus and doesn’t apply to EVERYONE.
Doug I was very disappointed to see your blogs recently about all this “racism”. Yes we do have people in the county that are in fact racist, but to imply that the majority of us are is just sad.
Doug you seem to thrive off remarks that inflame and stir up the people, just like the Jacksons and Sharptons, stir the people but offer no solution no ideas to help the problem. Yes racism goes both ways but is never talked about. What would the outcry be if there was a “Miss White America” as there is a Miss Black America.? I just say quit the double standard.
I agree what is America thinking about, and I resent the fact that if I oppose Obama I am considered a racist, am I a racist because I oppose other people or ideas. Double standard’s and that divides America as much as anything.
Doug quit trying to anger people and use inciting words, try and be a uniter find the best of both things and get common ground and unite. But, I guess that doesn’t get hits to your blog and give you something to talk about.
Wrong, wrong, wrong Rebecca. If you actually were to read Obama’s book rather than just the radical, right wing, wacko bs in circulation then you would have seen and hopefully understood the following complete and accurate quote:
“Of course, not all my conversations in immigrant communities follow this easy pattern. In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans, for example, have a more urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging. They have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly; they need specific assurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”
You asked, rhetorically, “Do YOU really want this man in the highest position of American Government???” I suggest a better question might be: “Does AMERICA really want folks like Rebecca voting in an election?” To be sure your right to vote is sacrosanct, Rebecca. Invest in that privilege by thinking for yourself. Vote for whomever you want, but please don’t squander your opportunity by blindly following the rubbish – from both sides – that plagues our political landscape these days. Did you, or did you not actually read “The Audacity of Hope”?
Finally in answer to your last question, I suggest that a goodly portion of the American public is NOT thinking if they lazily allow others to “think” for them.
I don’t need to explain it to you Rebecca , WE need to explain it to the American public! They can not see Obama for what he really is… A NEVER done anything, NEVER will do anything Liar & fake
Plain and simple!