Politico on GOP rage

This Politico piece by Jonathan Martin, who's been covering the Republicans during the presidential campaign, is an absolute must-read. First off, his description of the anger he's been seeing on the trail is chilling:

With McCain passing up the opportunity to level any tough personal shots in his first two debates and the very real prospect of an Obama presidency setting in, the sort of hard-core partisan activists who turn out for campaign events are venting in unusually personal terms.

"Terrorist!” one man screamed Monday at a New Mexico rally after McCain voiced the campaign’s new rhetorical staple aimed at raising doubts about the Illinois senator: “Who is the real Barack Obama?”

"He's a damn liar!” yelled a woman Wednesday in Pennsylvania. "Get him. He's bad for our country." 

Martin also gets a remarkable quote from former McCain consigliere John Weaver:

John Weaver, McCain’s former top strategist, said top Republicans have a responsibility to temper this behavior.

“People need to understand, for moral reasons and the protection of our civil society, the differences with Sen. Obama are ideological, based on clear differences on policy and a lack of experience compared to Sen. McCain,” Weaver said. “And from a purely practical political vantage point, please find me a swing voter, an undecided independent, or a torn female voter that finds an angry mob mentality attractive.” 

“Sen. Obama is a classic liberal with an outdated economic agenda. We should take that agenda on in a robust manner. As a party we should not and must not stand by as the small amount of haters in our society question whether he is as American as the rest of us. Shame on them and shame on us if we allow this to take hold.”

Slate's John Dickerson weighs in on the subject as well, and makes an interesting point about the relationship between McCain and the angry Republican id:

There was a time when John McCain would give it right back to the hecklers at a John McCain town-hall meeting. It was part of his charm: He would confront these hecklers and argue with them about his supposed Republican apostasies on judicial appointments or immigration.

No longer. Now hecklers help stir the room. The candidate and his audience are in agreement about the grave national danger posed by Barack Obama and the media.

We're in for an ugly few weeks.


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