Sunday, October 12, 2008

So Palin Was Booed

Last night VP candidate Sarah Palin appeared before the crowd at the Philadelphia Flyers' hockey game and was booed, as expected. Every politician who appears in front of a sports crowd in Philadelphia gets booed. Philadelphia has been noted for its Eagles fans booing Santa Claus and pelting him with snowballs one year. The Phillies stopped doing those marriage proposal announcements on the scoreboard because the fans would boo the poor schmuck with the ring kneeling in front of his girlfriend.

A week or so back Palin showed up at a bar in Philadelphia and an instant Obama rally broke out. Not so much boos as "Obama!" chants.

So how come anyone in the McCain campaign would schedule an appearance for Palin at any Philadelphia sporting event? The best explanation I've seen, and we'll probably know soon if it's the case, is that this was going to give cover for some of the more outrageous behavior going on at Republican events this week. True believers at the rallies have been shouting "Traitor!" and "Kill him!" when Obama's name is mentioned. There are adults who can actually operate motor vehicles who think that Obama is a secret Muslim who is planning on doing some dastardly deed once he sneaks into the White House. No matter that the worst that can be said of the Obama-William Ayers connection is that they worked together on the board of a charity that was founded by a rich Republican friend of Ronald Reagan (Walter Annenberg), there are actual voting adults who believe that an eight year-old Obama was helping the former SDS Weatherman build bombs back in the sixties. The most pathetic moment was the woman who told McCain that she was afraid because she heard that Obama was an Arab and then McCain reassured her that he wasn't an Arab but a decent man. And then McCain was booed at his own rally.

Somehow, I don't think that there will be much sympathy for Palin from anyone outside of the group of supporters who were already going to vote for her and McCain.

I think the strategy now is to keep the race close enough so that a few Republican secretaries of state around the country can steal enough electoral votes for the party to win it for McCain. We know that there's been a lot of voter purging, voter caging and all sorts of shenanigans with people registering to vote (and, as is the Rovian strategy, covering it by accusing fraud and wrongdoing for legitimate voter registration drives). But the race doesn't seem to be close enough for subtle thievery to win the day. Outside of the South McCain is losing, and losing badly in the rest of America.

(Cross-posted at South of Heaven.)


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