It's only been three days since Sen. Barack Obama historically won the Democratic nomination for president of the United States. But the Republican venom against the candidate and his wife Michelle is starting to spew. The viciousness is enough to make you sick, and it's a clear indication that the Obama team, if it doesn't respond effectively, could end up on the ropes for the next five months trying to defend itself from the same sort of reprehensible SwiftBoating that John Kerry faced four years ago.
The Republicans are great at framing issues and labelling candidates. And the new buzzword for Obama is radical. Right-wing radio host Sean Hannity has even re-named his show the "Stop Radical Obama express." On his program Thursday he literally said "radical" about every fourth word. Radical, radical, radical. Get ready, Democrats. We're gonna hear that word more in the next five months than we've heard in a lifetime.
Listening to Hannity's program makes you wonder if he and his kool-aid-drunken listeners are not part of some twisted, brainwashed cult. They greet each other with "you're a great American" and depart with "God bless you." The level of ignorance that flows freely on this program is astounding. Hannity's mission is clearly to poison anyone who comes within earshot of him with lies and deception about the Obamas. Here's a few of his shameless rants from Thursday:
"I am telling you, Barack Obama will move this country in a direction that is so radical that it will shock your senses."
"He (Obama) has views that would probably shock the average American."
"He's a Radical left winger, to the left of George McGovern."
And on 1960's terrorist William Ayers, embattled Chicago developer Tony Rezko and the Reverends Jeremiah Wright and Michael Pfleger: Obama is "a phony. A friend of all these people, and who will associate with anyone who can help him politically."
Throughout his program Hannity hammered home the term "radical associations" to describe these controversial relationships. It's abundantly clear that Hannity's goal for the next five months is to scare the hell out of his regular audience, and anyone else who might be listening for that matter.
Make no mistake: the constant regurgitation of the word "radical" is meant to conjure up all sorts of fear, anger and racial prejudice. Think "radical Muslim." Think "angry black man." Think Willie Horton. This sort of pandering to the racist dumbasses of America is beyond despicable, but it's what the GOP does best. It's pure propaganda. And like all good propaganda, if you say it enough it sticks.
The demonizing of Obama was also evident on the Mark Levin radio program Thursday, where the nominee was accused of just about everything short of eating babies. Here's a snippet of Levin's lies and deception: "Barack Obama has been hostile to Jews and to the state of Israel for years." Oh really Mark? Perhaps you'd like to back that up with some actual facts? Ooops, sorry. There's nothing about facts in the Rovian playbook.
The Republican Party has begun piling on as well. The RNC didn't waste any time after the announcement of Rezko's corruption and fraud convictions this week to launch its new "Obama's Money Man" attack ad linking Obama to the real-estate developer. Expect the RNC and its surrogates to bang out more videos these next five months than MTV.
The attacks are not just limited to candidate Obama. Just like the vitriol spewed towards Theresa Heinz Kerry in 2004, Michelle Obama is now reaping the wrath of these vicious thugs. The new rumor circulating is that a videotape exists of Michelle and the Nation of Islam's Minister Louis Farrakhan in which she allegedly says "Fuck Whitey" at one point. This despicable rumor was spread all day and night Thursday by the right-wing talking heads. "If this is true, he's done" they all giddily gushed over and over and over again. It's absolutely disgusting, and worse, it's all too familiar. Welcome to the Republican coffee table, where the Rovian playbook is proudly on display.
And over on Sirius Radio's Patriot channel (I love this, btw. The right-wing station is called "Patriot" while the left wing's is called ... well ... "Left." Talk about framing), conservative host Andrew Wilkow could not believe how angry, stern and scary Michelle Obama looked in a NY Times photo earlier in the week. Mark my words, they are going to crucify this woman between now and November 4th.
To say the campaign is going to get ugly is a gross understatement.