Sacramento Republicans puts politics of fear on display on their website
Thanks to Rick Nadeau, our Sacramento-based writer, for the heads-up on this article.
By Marcos Bretón / Sacramento Bee / October 15, 2008
Apparently, the local Republican Party thinks it’s OK to promote the idea of torturing Sen. Barack Obama. The Sacramento GOP sees enough of a resemblance between Obama and Osama bin Laden that the only difference between them is: “B.S.” On their Web site, Sactown supporters of Sen. John McCain had a smiling face of Obama with the headline: BE AFRAID. BE VERY AFRAID.
It’s since been taken down.
When reached for comment Tuesday, Craig MacGlashan – head of the Sacramento County Republican Party – owned up to these and other characterizations of Obama.
A few weeks ago, MacGlashan spoke out publicly against anti-Obama vandalism around town. But now, he’s OK with the words “Waterboard Barack Obama” that were displayed prominently on sacramentorepublicans.org? Maybe if someone had painted “Waterboard Barack Obama” on the side of a building, MacGlashan would be outraged. On the Internet? Not so much. Some might label such words as hate speech. Late Monday, for example, someone scrawled racial epithets and profanity on pro-Obama signs near the intersection of Fair Oaks Boulevard and Garfield Avenue.
At McCain campaign rallies across the country – and those of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin – some have shouted the word “terrorist” when Obama’s name was mentioned. These manifestations hint at a level of anger toward Obama that transcends simple politics.
“This Web site is the logical extension of years of dividing us with wedge issues,” said Mark Friedman, a local Obama supporter. “It is filled with hate and fear. It is very dangerous.”
Therein lies the Great Fear of this presidential campaign: That comparisons of Obama and bin Laden will lead to violence against Obama.
OK, but can we lay all that baggage on little ol’ Craig MacGlashan? No way. I would have loved to have discussed his Web site with the guy, but he got all huffy on the phone and passed up a chance to discuss the other side of this coin: That Obama as a presidential candidate is fair game, and even the most rank political commentary is protected by our support of free speech.
MacGlashan was kind of gutless, really. If you’re going to put this stuff up for public consumption, why be afraid to talk about it?
Maybe it’s because he doesn’t represent all local Republicans. “That’s not what I would do,” said Doug Ose, a former GOP member of Congress. “People’s enthusiasm sometimes gets a ahead of a sense of decorum.” In a sense, Sacramento is reflective of other regions where some scream “terrorist” at Obama even as our national economy tanks. Maybe it’s what you do when you’re desperate and out of gas.
Meanwhile, Obama leads in the polls as he treks across America – with armed Secret Service agents shadowing his every step.
[Go here for the original article at the Sacramento Bee.]