Timeline of violence against Obama supporters and the press
In light of the McCain campaign's rhetoric, and their apparent and complete lack of interest in curbing their supporters' violent emotions and behavior (let alone taking any responsibility whatsoever), I thought it would be a good idea to compile a timeline of violence against Senator Obama, his supporters and volunteers, and the press.
I am doing this because I feel it is necessary to assemble a record of the campaign in kamikaze mode, determined to destroy Senator Obama's credibility, reputation, and/or mandate even at the cost of Senator McCain's honor and good standing with the American people. This will show a pattern of gross negligence that may override the political speech exemption for defamation law, and can be a crucial part of a case for incitement of violence, which is also held as unprotected speech.
Finally, the starting point. One can argue that it began with McCain's sarcastic "platitude" remark after the March madness-like string of victories in the Democratic primary or even Andy Martin's whisper email campaign against Senator Obama, and the current discontent of the McCain supporters can be linked to a successful indoctrination in distrust of the media, and the McCain campaign's use of Big Lie tactics to acclimate their followers into believing anything that the McCain campaign disseminates. But the current firestorm, I believe, is started with the campaign's decision to commit to a character assassination strategy, confirming Governor Palin's remarks about Senator Obama's debunked ties with William Ayers. This is the cruel genius of Steve Schmidt and Rick Davis: incite their followers to violence without telling them explicitly to attack Obama and his supporters, and disclaim any and all responsibility. I have also included the voter suppression efforts of the GOP, because they are directly linked to their attacks on ACORN and the "electoral fraud" accusation that they may play after the election should Obama beat the fraud attempts through caging, purging, ballot theft, and voting machine tampering.
So, without further ado, the indictment. Contributions after the fact are very much welcome. I apologize for the editorializing and blatantly partisan commentary, but I am not a journalist, and because of the blatant nature of the attack campaign, such neutrality is now beyond me.
October 4, 2008 - Governor Palin makes good on her promise to "take the gloves off". At a rally in Englewood, CO, she makes the first of many accusations that Senator Obama thinks that America is "imperfect", and that he "pals around with domestic terrorists".
October 6, 2008 - Facing poll numbers in free-fall due to Senator McCain's inability to favorably exploit the economic downturn-- not to mention his "strong economy" gaffe-- a McCain campaign spokesperson tells the New York Daily News that "If we keep talking about the economic crisis, we’re going to lose."turning a page on this financial crisis and getting back to discussing Mr. Obama’s aggressively liberal record and how he will be too risky for Americans.
Another spokesperson tells the Washington Post that the campaign seeks to be "very aggressive" in the final month of the electoral campaign, and that they are "looking forward to "
That same day, the first attack ad employing guilt by association is released, cryptically asking "Who is Barack Obama?", and reports begin to surface concerning shouts of "Terrorist!" "Kill him!" among supporters in GOP rallies, as well as the first reported threats against the news media by supporters. While startled by the quick, angry reaction of some people in the crowd, neither McCain nor Palin do anything to indicate that the behavior is wrong.
October 7, 2008 - A man wearing an Obama T-shirt in London is shot 3 times. The motivation is disputed, but the racial undertone is clear: the victim is black.
October 10, 2008 - At a town hall gathering, Senator McCain elicits boos and indignation from the crowd when he tells a family man that Senator Obama is "a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States." In response to a woman's confused description of Obama as "an Arab", McCain quickly denies this, telling her that Obama is a "decent family man"-- the woman would, in a later interview, insist that Obama is an Arab. Although this is a rare defense of Obama, McCain nevertheless pressed his attack points against Obama.
(Notice that, while he gave true statements about Obama, Senator McCain did not mention that Obama is Christian and never a Muslim, nor did he mention specifically that anger was unacceptable. A conspiracy theorist would conclude that he wanted his supporters to be angry at Obama, but not fearful-- a chilling prospect indeed, if true.)
October 13, 2008 - The McCain campaign includes its false accusation of ACORN, a topic that has been brewing in far-right media and blogs for months. Signs insinuating a link between Obama and terrorist leader Osama bin Laden are displayed at some rallies. Representative John Lewis, a distinguished civil rights activist, rebukes McCain over his campaign tactics in an open letter, likening the rhetoric and incitement of the campaign to that of George Wallace. McCain and his campaign calls the assertion "baseless" and would continue to call upon Obama to "repudiate" the statement in its entirety. Obama's campaign, however, rejects only the comparison to Wallace, agreeing with Lewis' argument that the rhetoric has not been constructive.
October 15, 2008 - The New York Times reports on possible illegal voter registration purging activities by some states-- including 6 swing states-- within the 90-day pre-election moratorium on such activity mandated by federal law. An image linking Senator Obama to the al Qaeda leader and the practice of waterboarding is removed from a California Republican website; similar hateful images would surface during the course of the attack campaign. During the final debate, McCain insists that he "repudiates" any outrageous statement by Republicans. Doubtless he was referring to Republicans in office, not the people at his rallies, whom he vigorously defended.
October 16, 2008 - Despite bringing up the alleged link to Ayers and the alleged fraud of ACORN (both false), polls immediately following the final Presidential debate show Obama maintaining his lead. Rush Limbaugh, in one of his most controversial statements yet, claims the existence of a vast African-American conspiracy involving Senator Obama, ACORN, Rev. Wright, and William Ayers. No evidence whatsoever is presented supporting this claim other than the radio host's supposed intellect and intuition. Al Jazeera releases a report on the thoughts of McCain supporters at a Palin rally in rural Ohio. At a Greensboro, NC, rally for Governor Palin, the first recorded incident of assault and battery against a member of the press is noted. The victim, Greensboro journalist Joe Killian, is unable to identify the assailant. McCain's campaign and the RNC, after an aggressive but unstable showing at the debate, launches a robocall campaign unprecedented in its scale and its defiance of some states' laws.
October 17, 2008 - The U.S. Supreme Court overturns a federal appeals court order to Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to develop a voter verification system, defeating a GOP lawsuit aimed at invalidating thousands of Ohio votes. Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), appearing on the MSNBC program Hardball with Chris Matthews, not only reiterates the GOP assertion of a link between Obama and Ayers, but calls for a media "investigation" of "anti-American" activities of Congressional members, bringing to mind the Red Scare and Senator Joe McCarthy's aggressive hunt for Communists and "leftists" in many corners of American society. In response to the McCain campaign's continuing attacks on ACORN and Obama's alleged but nonexistent link to the organization, Obama campaign counsel Robert Bauer sends a letter to U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Special Prosecutor Nora Dannehy to transfer the Justice Department's investigation of ACORN to the Special Prosecutor's investigation of the Justice Department, pointing to an alleged pattern of voter suppression through the White House.
October 20, 2008 - Reports in Wisconsin surface of a canvasser for Obama being physically struck in the face by a "man ranting about ACORN". A Chantilly, VA, woman driving a car with an Obama sticker-- with her children riding with her-- is shot at with a pellet gun. Police reports state that the shots were clearly aimed at the driver. The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that a dead bear cub, draped in Obama signs, is found dumped on the Western Carolina University campus. Following an Obama rally in North Carolina, several supporters returned to their vehicles to find the tires slashed.
It's escalating, folks. As long as Senator McCain does not take swift action against his angry supporters, the anger will only lead to more and greater violence. He may somehow think that he can harness the anger and get more states than Obama, but the nature of the strategy is self-destructive. The question is, will McCain succeed in destroying Obama before he destroys himself?