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 Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Sarah Palin's Attacks on Barack Obama Bordering on Hate Speech and Incitement

  Sarah Palin's attacks on Barack Obama enter into absurd

by Connie Schultz/Plain Dealer Columnist

Read here

Any person who runs for president risks his or her life to lead this country.

There is a reason for the armored cars and the police dogs, the security sweeps and the armed sentries. Such caution is forged from some of the darkest moments in America.

No candidate is more aware of the dangers than Barack Obama, who was assigned Secret Service protection earlier than any presidential candidate in history. Racist threats of violence prompted his early security.

To suggest that any major candidate for president is un-American is absurd.

Why risk your life for a country you don't believe in?

But saying it about Obama, and accusing him of consorting with terrorists, as Sarah Palin is now doing, comes perilously close to crossing the line between campaign rhetoric and hate speech.

Two days after trying to charm the American public in the vice presidential debate, Palin told a cheering crowd that Obama has been "palling around with terrorists who would target their own country."

Palin was actually referring to one person, William Ayers, who is a former member of the radical Weather Underground, which carried out several domestic bombings when Obama was a child.

Ayers was never convicted of any wrongdoing, and he is now a college professor and education activist in Chicago.

Obama served with Ayers on a community board, and Ayers once hosted a coffee for the candidate early in his career. As numerous news sources already have reported, the men are not close, and Obama has denounced Ayers' involvement with the radical group.

Palin, though, is now insisting that Americans should be very, very afraid of Barack Obama:

"And I am just so fearful that this is not a man who sees America the way that you and I see America, as the greatest source for good in this world. I'm afraid this is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to work with a former domestic terrorist who had targeted his own country."

In keeping with the theme, Mike Scott, an introductory speaker at one of Palin's rallies, wore his sheriff's uniform and referred to the Democratic nominee as "Barack Hussein Obama."

Neither he nor Palin mentioned that Obama is a born-in-America Christian.

It's impossible to deny where this campaign is headed.

It's also impossible to reconcile this bile with the conservatives' attempt to cast Palin as just one folksy and patriotic gal who speaks for regular Americans.

There's nothing folksy in stoking unfounded fear with the potential to incite. And there is nothing patriotic in falsely characterizing the first black nominee for president as a terrorist sympathizer.

Obama is not above scrutiny. Some have questioned why he would associate, even loosely, with Ayers and how he could not have known about Ayers' radical past. Fair questions.

It's also fair to ask why Palin ever associated with the Alaskan Independence Party, which her husband joined for a period of time in the 1990s.

Both Palins attended two conventions for the radical party, which has called for a re-vote on Alaska's statehood and a draft constitution for an independent Republic of Alaska.

Does this sound like a party that loves America? No. Does her husband's membership in this party suggest that Sarah Palin doesn't love America? Just as emphatically: No.

See how fairness works?

Recently, National Review Editor Rich Lowry swooned like an overheated teenager over Palin's debate performance:

"I'm sure I'm not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, 'Hey, I think she just winked at me,"

And her smile was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America."

The winks, the betchas, all that bragging about hockey moms. It would all be so cute if her tactics weren't so ugly.

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