Hate Politics Rise in Final Stretch

What do I mean by hate politics? I do not mean to imply that one hates the realm of politics– although those people do exist; rather, I by “hate politics” I am referring to hate speeches and images of a political nature.

The gloves have come off and many constituents are coming out swinging– often through hate politics. One could argue that hate politics can yield positive results. The heated competition impassions people as well as engenders in them more concern for their country. Towing this line a bit further, we could speculate that as the coffee and smoke talks cater more toward presidential politics and passions rise, we might find more voters at the booths on November 4. However, the detrimental effects to hate politics out weight the positive elements.

In the end, engaging in hate politics is engaging in slandering the image of a future president of the United States. In addition — and more importantly — as people become more fired up over the candidates, their likelihood to vote may coincide with a decreased ability to make intelligent choices. In short: hate politics leads people to make mistakes.

Among the psychological studies on the anger and its relationship to cognitive processes, Kerstin Perbant’s work (University of Frankfurt) is but one of many that finds people’s abilities to recall past events and apply logic are diminished when unexpectedly provoked to anger. None of this is startling new to us. When we are angry, we make mistakes. Perhaps the last subject matter that deserves confusion and difficulty to apply logic is in choosing the next president of the United States of America.

*NOTE- Images below are extremely offensive. Viewer discretion is advised*


The images above are but a few examples of the character attacks ensuing– hate politics at its best, from constituents of both Parties. People engaged in this discourse seek to conflate identities, rob people of their humanity, and spread either likewise sentiments or shocking appall. Whether your are appalled or in agreement with the images, your emotions are elevated– unexpectedly.

Some Republicans and conservatives are turning to inflammatory language and character assassinations (aka swift-boating) on Barack Obama. Attempts have been made to equate Obama with terrorism – even Osama bin Laden, socialism, and anything else that would discredit him. Likewise Democrats and liberals have attacked Sarah Palin with sexist epithets, which hold no substantive values. It should not be long before we find attacks on John McCain for his age (ageism).

The key here is substance. So far, neither campaign is engaging heavily in this– and some of their constituents are doing no better.

Charles Babington of the Associated Press writes, October 6, 2008:

Brookings Institution political scientist Thomas E. Mann said he had felt for months that McCain “would eventually have to try to undermine Obama as an acceptable choice for president and commander in chief.” Key issues, he said, including “an economy in turmoil, an unpopular war and a politically discredited president are working powerfully against McCain and the Republican Party in general.”

Obama, meanwhile, has learned the lessons of Michael Dukakis and John Kerry. Those Democrats lost presidential elections after hesitating to counter hard-hitting and factually dubious attacks on their character and judgment. The shorthand terms for those attacks — “Willie Horton” and “Swiftboating” — have become a call-to-arms for Democratic activists who vow always to return fire with fire.

“We don’t throw the first punch, but we’ll throw the last,” Obama said Monday on Tom Joyner’s syndicated radio show.

Several Democrats said on Sunday talk shows that Obama’s campaign would revisit McCain’s long-ago involvement in the thrift scandal if the personal attacks on him continued. Within hours, the Obama campaign released a memo and Web video doing just that.

Obama and McCain have hit each other at personal levels before. But the vitriol increased dramatically Saturday, when Palin repeatedly raised Obama’s relationship with former 1960s radical Bill Ayers.

Obama, she said, was “palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.”

Ayers helped found the violent Weather Underground group, whose members were blamed for several bombings when Obama was 8. Obama has denounced Ayers’ radical views and activities.

The two men live near each other in Chicago, and once worked on the same charity board. Ayers hosted a small, meet-the-candidate event for Obama in 1995, at the start of his political career, but multiple news accounts have said they are not close. The campaign called Palin’s remarks outrageous and grossly exaggerated.

A 13-minute Web video Obama’s campaign released Monday revisits McCain’s ties to Charles Keating, a former friend, campaign contributor and savings and loan owner who was convicted of securities fraud in 1991.

As a senator, McCain participated in two meetings with banking regulators on Keating’s behalf. He became one of the “Keating Five” senators investigated by the Senate ethics committee. The panel cited McCain for a lesser role than others, but criticized his “poor judgment.”

McCain has since called his involvement with Keating “the worst mistake of my life.”

McCain and Obama say they are dredging up Ayers and Keating because the episodes shed light on each other’s current judgment — and because the other campaign is on the attack, though a McCain aide said the GOP campaign wanted to change the subject from the failing economy.

A few months ago, both candidates promised something better.

A week after introducing the character attacks, the McCain campaign officially abandoned their character attacks of Obama. Part of this was undoubtedly due to the lack of productivity. A Pew Research Study issued on October 15, 2008, showed that public opinion of Obama had not diminished, but had instead, grown slightly since the introduction of the character attacks. Nonetheless, the McCain campaign has continued their character attacks.

Sarah Jacob of NDTV.com writes, October 20, 2008:

John McCain and the Republican party is stepping up their character attacks on Barack Obama through television ads, the mail and now on the phone through what are called ‘Robo Calls’. The calls are part of a $70 million Republican campaign to get undecided supporters to vote for them.

The ‘Robo call’ is an automated message from the McCain campaign ‘Audio up Hello’.

“Hello. I’m calling for John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the US Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge’s home and killed Americans,” the automated message says.

Character assassinations seek to strip candidates of their humanity (whether it be fatherhood, motherhood) in order to impair peoples’ ability to relate to them. Many of these recent attacks are coming from evangelical groups. Whether you are a liberal or a conservative, a Republican, Democrat, or Independent, the effects of engaging in hate crimes will be more harmful than good. Hate politics is painting an image of either a future U.S president who is “in bed with domestic terrorists and Osama bin Laden,” or a U.S president who is “in line with economic scandals,” with a highly insulted and debased vice president. And while we’re shooting off racial or sexist epithets, people’s anger and frustration rise– leading them to a more cloudy and unintelligent state. An excellent state to be in when they are at the voting booths, choosing their presidential selection.

The world is watching– and it remembers.

  • Babs

    This is true. I was just thinking this morning that during the months I have participated at YouDecide2008 I have been called most every name in the book, told I have blood on my hands, been sexually harrassed, and even advised to “kill myself”. All because I support John McCain.

  • It is really deplorable when people resort to name calling instead of discussing the issues. Even more so when our country’s image is on the line…

  • dale

    Great article and a great point. If only the media…

  • Why is it that that shirt is a favorite at Obama rallies. I find that disgusting and very unladylike to say the least. I am ashamed and at the same time embarrassed that I share the same gender with that woman in the picture above. Her mouth and body need to be washed with soap to rid her of this filth. Stay classy!

    When people, celebrities, news media, whoever say and act in such vulgar ways, in my mind there’s only one thing that can explain this, a disconnect from education. Vulgar and explicit Language is used as a weapon b/c this is the only thing left in these people’s arsenal. I have to keep reminding myself when I see such filth that instead of feeling anger I need to feel pity, pity that these poor soles lack the ability to debate not only b/c they’re educationally barren on issues, but also I have to take into account that role models in these people’s lives be it teachers, parents, grandparents or elders has failed them. A social standard on etiquette no longer exists. It use to be that when you were in public you strive to conduct yourself in such a way that was admirable, I do believe that ship has sailed. ‘Sigh’

    This is nothing more than people who are socially inept and we have society to thank for this.

  • Dale

    Hahahaha

    I’m laughing cg, b/c you LOVE usng those types of terms. You are the guiltiest person here!

    How’s your commentary titles:

    “The Barack Obama Hate Machine”
    “The Obamabot Zombies Marching to the Polls”
    “Inmates Running the Asylum With Our Checkbooks!”

    The power of self delusion is strong in this one.

    “Her mouth and body need to be washed with soap to rid her of this filth. Stay classy! “

    Well done for not using the C-word, way to rise above!

  • Dreadsen

    Dale

    especially the obamabot zombies. Illogical blanket statement. Terms like that are one of the most popular stereotypes some of the Mccain supporters use to describe Obama supporters or democrats in general. They basically want people to think that they are absolutely right by all means and any way to see things differently than them means you are just a brainless zombie whose motivation comes from faith or moses syndrome. There are some people who think like this. But the fallacy is there are just as many McCain supporters who are blind supporters of the republican party. But these people seem to not count. And they wonder why this isnt’ a welcoming message which invites people to join the team.

    Inmates running the Asylum is an old statement but in reference to the bail out i heard the same term here before she posted the commentary.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5q60RNzrZg4&feature=related

    So i don’t see the problem there.

  • Babs

    CG, my Dad always said that people who use profanity and vulgar language only do so because they have a limited vocabulary due to a lack of intelligence. I believe that.

  • Tyler

    “Why is it that that shirt is a favorite at Obama rallies. I find that disgusting and very unladylike to say the least. I am ashamed and at the same time embarrassed that I share the same gender with that woman in the picture above. Her mouth and body need to be washed with soap to rid her of this filth. Stay classy!”

    Babs,

    both parties’ supporters have engaged in this type of slander. It is not one sided. Your politcal party is definately not the only victim.

  • Babs

    They have, Tyler. I didn’t draw a partisan distinction in my statement. I think you’re quoting CG’s statement here, not mine. 😉

  • Candy Quilling

    It worries me that so many citizens of this wonderful country don’t take the time or make the effort to understand how government works. The forefathers were very wise and designed our ‘governing body’ to be made up of three ‘arms’. They did this to ensure that no one entity was omnipotent; this “check and balance” system is what sets ours apart from other forms of government. Citizens who blame the President for all the ills of our country (the war, the economy, the healthcare system, Social Security) are missing an important point: the President is NOT omnipotent and the blame can and should be spread around to the other arms of our government. It seems to me that the true test of an individual, whether running for the office of President, Senator, Congressman or Supreme Court judge, is his/her integrity, honesty, experience and intention. The President does have veto power and thus, needs the trust and support of the citizanry.

    In comparing the two candidates I see some marked differences: Barack Obama has demonstrated weakness and dishonesty regarding small issues, by telling us he’d quit smoking in February and then, only after being caught, admitting that he had “fallen off the wagon” in June, to huge issues by making a solemn promise that he would not take matching funds and then doing it. Also, John McCain released hundreds of pages of medical records; Obama released only the more recent records and stated that if people wanted to know about any specific record, his campaign would make it available. Sounds like a slippery “politician’s” answer to me!

    One of the things I admire most about John McCain is the fact that he not only found a way to survive being isolated in a prison camp but that, when he came home, he didn’t look for hand-outs or special treatment. No, quite the opposite; instead he has dedicated the rest of his life in service to his country. Now, I admit, John McCain is no “smooth talker” but he IS something all too rare in the political arena: an honest politician with a sincere desire to make the lives of his fellow citizens better in the future than they are now.

    In closing, don’t get me started on Sarah Palin – we don’t have the time or space, I’ll add that I would put my life in her hands long before any of the other politicians out there!

  • Babs

    Candy, good post. One correction, though. Obama didn’t release ANY of his medical records. His Dr. sent in a letter – you know, like the Dr.’s excuse you take back to school after an absence? No one questioned it, but they are now hounded Sarah Palin for her medical records, as if giving birth five times makes you a health risk to the White House.

    I, too, would place my life in the hands of McCain and Sarah Palin, because I trust them to keep it safe. In all of this talk about the economy, so many are not stopping to realize that without a SAFE America, no one will be worried about the current tax rate.

  • Tyler

    Ha, sorry Babs, my mistake. I was in a rush, and only glanced at the names.

  • Dale,

    Way to point out to everyone that in my criticism I have not used vulgarity, profanity, or ever used such language as pictured above in Michael’s article. My comment was meant to be non-partisan in nature. I would cry foul on anyone who used a similar term against Michelle Obama since it has nothing to do with a policy difference, it is just a vulgar, demeaning, disrespectful way to refer to someone.

    If we’re going down that road, I seem to recall that Dreadsen called Sarah Palin a “trojan horse” for the AIP, as the title of his article on the topic. Does the term “trojan horse” not carry as many negative connotations as “Obamabot zombie”? Please, give me a break, you people are reaching for ways to excuse the classless thing written on that shirt above about Sarah Palin.

    By the way, Dreadsen also titled an article “The Republican hate machine,” to which I responded with the “Barack Obama hate machine,” it only seemed fair, no? Dale, can you condemn Dreadsen as well or is that too much for you? I don’t condemn him, it’s his innocent opinion, I can handle it, Dale.

    The title about inmates running the asylum is a phrase used everywhere, and has often been used to describe congress running around with our checkbooks. Did you even read the article? It was chiding all members of congress for the bailout, even my own Republican state senator and congressman.

    The power of self delusion is strong in this one.

    “Her mouth and body need to be washed with soap to rid her of this filth. Stay classy! “

    I shouldn’t even have to explain this since it is an old expression mothers use when their children use curse words or profanity, it’s usually effective as I at times know from firsthand experience as an outspoken child.

    The thing that’s more alarming to me is that Dale doesn’t condemn the vulgar language in the shirt.

    Dale, you have got to be kidding me. If sarcastic titles equates to using the c-word, you have a pretty thin skin and obviously can’t see past your own partisanship. If you’re OK with women addressing other women in that manner, then you truly are a sexist. That word pictured above is only used with malicious intent against women, I have yet to hear it used as a term of flattery.

    I would just like to conclude by pointing out the simple fact that neither Dale or Dreadsen condemned anything in Michael’s article, they instead chose to pick a personal, petty bone with me as opposed to discuss what was truly disrespectful. The only person here who seemed educated enough to denounce the hatred illustrated in Michael’s article was Babs.

    Some terms of endearment Dale has used to describe others while commenting:

    tard
    (was even censored for his vulgarity in that comment)

    Luckly Babs had copy/pasted Dale’s intelligent comment that was edited and censored, here it is:

    “Until then go back to being the closet homosexual and open racist we all know all you conservatives are. By the way, Bill Hedges old me your father was a hamster and your mother smells of elderberries.

    Also, my cousin wants to meet you, he totally has a thing for closeted, angry bad-boys. Can you send me a picture? He’s not too picky, but he’s not desperate.”

    Dale

    So Dale, care to explain those comments? They’re sooooo above everything I say. Quite the distorted view you have of conservatives, not like you’re making blanket statements or anything.

    Another occasion of Dale’s sensitivity:

    tard

    For the record, I’ve never called anyone a “tard” the way Dale has. Though I don’t find “tard” to be on par with the c-word above, don’t act like you’re holier than thou when I can clearly reference occasions where you demean people with name calling.

    Stay classy, Dale.

    Michael, I must give you credit where credit is due, this was well-written piece examining the issue. Thank you for bringing it to light.

  • Thank you, CG. But I must say, it is not even a fifth of the diggs you got in your recent commentary. 😉

  • Michael that’s only b/c people obviously love to hate me, that coin has two sides :).

  • Suggestive

    Conservative Gal,

    That may be more because of your language then your views. Your posts read in a well thought out and fluid manner but your language is adversarial bordering on angry rant and rude.

    Comments such as “I shouldn’t even have to explain this…” or “Did you even read the article?” give your posts an unfriendly condescending tone which would put anybody off unless they couldn’t care about your tone.

  • PeoplePower

    First off I need to correct Candy – “McCain released his medical records” – umm, yes, his hundreds of pages of records were allowed to be viewed by the media for an extremely brief time with no cameras or copying equipment allowed to be with them. I seem to recall they were allowed some 5 minutes…can you read 40 pages a minute with full retention? I wish I could but of course, as with most people, I can’t.

    Babs & CG (everyone, really) – it’s not a lack of intelligence that results in vulgarity, but a lack of education. Vocabulary fails a lot of us, but it does not mean we’re dumb…just weak on vocabulary.

    We really have a problem with putting importance on using proper English – drop the slang and colloquiolisms (sp?)!

    Aside from that, though, the nasty rhetoric of the Bush Administration, Fox News and Karl Rove (in the Lee Atwater tradition) has really, really caused a tremendous amount of ire with Democrats, as we have effectively been called traitorous pansies, effectively, for the last 8 years (longer, really). It disgusts me when a chickenhawk makes such a claim and the Bush adminstration is *filled* with chickenhawks.

    So, w/o excusing the vulgarity and passionate anger, I can completely empathize with how they’re feeling and why they’re so incredibly angry.

    CG – the difference I see in the two “Hate Machine” articles is that Dreadsen’s went after the Republicans and focused more on the message w/o casting all of the blame on McCain or saying that *all* Republicans are doing it. Yours went after Obama and lumped everyone who supports him in the same category as the morons wearing the “Palin is a C*” shirts.

    By doing so, you’re assigning that level of sophistication and civility to me, as well as to all of the level-headed Obama supporters out there. I don’t appreciate that and I’m sure they don’t either.

    Michael – I had planned on writing a very similar piece. Good one!

    Folks – what happens when you slam someone’s character with loose associations and whisper-thin lines of reasoning? You both smear your character and your opponents.

    If you focus on attacking policy differences, you aren’t equating the person with the policy, thus both you and your opponent can remain civil and yet still disagree.

    We will never have someone to truly lead us, so long as the politics of hate, and demeaning your opponent, remain an effective tool to gain votes.

    Millions of people already decline their right to vote because the vitriol drives them crazy and belittles the message of those using it.

    I know that the “decideds” among the group likely won’t change their vote due to negative campaigning, but if you *truly* believe it is wrong; contact your favorite pony’s HQ and give them an earful. More importantly, don’t turn a blind eye to *your* side’s vitriol, especially if you’re going to critize your opponent’s side!

  • Bill Hedges

    PEOPLE POWER- It was not 5 minutes. Obviously 5 minutes is not reasonable. Obvously there is hugh amount just from his vetern Hospital when he returned from being a POW. Many went into that room that day. All records were there. I don’t recall the amount of time they had, At least hour. Maybe more. Don’t know. I did see them go into the room. They showed inside the room. A summary of one page given by Obama. So McCain showed actual records to press. Obama gives one page summary. I would give McCain credit. And take points from Obama..

  • Bill Hedges

    PEOPLE POWER– I looked up—-McCain releases Health records. Found lots of information. You should be able to see what you want. I did not check Obama. If he did not relese, then should not be much there.

  • PeoplePower

    Bill – my understanding is that it was 5 minutes per reporter. I’ll agree Obama didn’t release enough of his information, but McCain only released a little (effectively) too.

    Babs, one thing I missed in my last response was a comment on “a safe America vs. tax rates.”

    That’s very true, but it’s a red herring. Obama *will* keep us safe. Don’t buy into any hype that claims a Democrat will protect the country any less than a Republican. It’s false and is used to scare you (and everyone) into voting for a Republican out of fear.

    I know that’s not the only reason you support McCain, but you should not allow fear to worry you should Obama win. I’ll *try* to do the same if McCain wins and (God forbid) something happens to him.

    The other side of the coin, though, is that you can forget about being safe if our economy tanks. The Founding Fathers tried a free market system prior to establishing the government and it failed miserably. An unrestrained free market is horrible for the economy (ask Alan Greenspan) and we *need* to recognize that. McCain’s economic policies are only marginally different than Bush’s and they include the magic pill of the free market.

    Should our economy tank, our military might will drastically decline and we will be at the whims of China, Russia and other world powers…

    Lastly – there’s a higher likelihood of someone being killed in a mugging than by a terrorist attack. If you want to fear something, fear your common criminal. If you believe otherwise, you should go buy some lottery tickets because clearly you’re *sure* to win… 😉

  • Bill Hedges

    PEOPLE POWER– As I said, I am guessing at least hour. I do not believe 5 minutes though. McCain is a resonable person. You can look up on internet as I did and found out alot. I took time and read some about the cancers he has had. I have not checked Obama, but since he has not released his health records, there should be little or nothing there. He only released a summary

  • Bill Hedges

    PEOPLE POWER–Free Market did not fail us Congress failed us. Forcing sub-prime on Banks. High gas prices because of not drilling. Congress failed us. Market rose like 1,000 point the past two days. Our market is ill, but I would rather have our market than any other country market

  • PeoplePower

    Bill – if you are healthy, what do you expect to be released?

    From the letter from his doctor:

    “A complete review of systems was unremarkable. On physical examination, his blood pressure was 90/60 and pulse 60/minute. His build was lean and muscular with no excess body fat. His physical examination was completely normal.

    Laboratory studies included triglycerides of 44(normal under 150), cholesterol 173 (normal under 200), HDL 68 (normal over 40), and LDL 96 (normal under 130). Chem 24, urinalysis and CBC were normal, PSA was 0.6, very good. An EKG was normal.”

    Is it shocking that someone can be healthy enough to have an unremarkable examination?

  • Bill Hedges

    PEOPLE POWER–Is Obama healthy ? McCain released his recoreds. They would not be on internet if he had not. Health records are very private as you know. John Kennedy was young and thought healthy, but he was not.

  • Bill Hedges

    PEOPLE POWER- The lab results you showed is very close to mine. Thanks to my medcine. Yet I have health problems.

  • PeoplePower

    Bill – do you want to hire and independent doctor to verify what his doctor reported? Why is it so difficult to simply accept what was given?

    Who knows if anyone is healthy? What kind of question is that? “Is Obama healthy?” You’re definitely picking nits Bill…

    This is an excellent example of what’s wrong with the system right now. There is simply no belief in anything the opposition says, regardless of how truthful it may sound.

    It all gets seen as some sort of spin.

    Sometimes the truth is right in front of you, but you’re stuck wearing your “Fox-filter” glasses, so you let it confuse you.

    I *really* like what Michael had to say about the anger causing bad judgment. Anger and fear trigger our lizard brain and our lizard brain is fully in “fight & flight” mode with no room for rational, reasonable thought.

    It’s one of the reasons that inner city schools show a lower performance among their students. Many of them are afraid (of whatever: home, gangs, rhetoric-induced, etc.) and when they’re afraid, they can’t think straight to handle the studying and testing…

    “Fear is the mind killer.”

  • Bill Hedges

    PEOPLE POWER- You show colestrial levels, kidny, heart, etc. I get that every three months. It does not show my high blood pressure and diabetes. Medication controls that. aS FAR AS i KNOW Obama may have a medicine controled disease. Or other health issue. A summarry is nothing. He should allow his Doctor to release all Obama’s health records, as McCain. You expected it for McCan ? Why not Obama !..

  • Bill Hedges

    PEOPLE POWER–I checked the internet. McCain gave reporters 3 hours to look at 1100 pages of his medical history. Should you not expect Obama to release his full medical records in fairness.

  • PeoplePower

    Bill – read the first paragraph, especially the first and last sentences of it again, of the quoted material I included from that “summary”.

    But, sure, I guess you’re right. The doctor didn’t come out and say that Obama does not have SARS, so who knows, maybe he has SARS.

    I don’t get why you’re having such a hard time understanding this, Bill…

  • Bill Hedges

    People power–I know you dig and dig hard. But on this simple issue, you will noy say….Both should release complete medical records….not a summary. I also went to the net and there was questions why just summary.. Point is being equal

  • DJS

    Bill..I agree with you. Whats good for the goose is good for the gander.
    Medical records are not a note written by your doctor. It is just another example of Obama skirting around the issue and doing what he wants to do opposed to doing what he should. He seems to always be just the other end of the spectrum when it comes to things like this. It’s like a kid who keeps pushing to see how far he can push and get away with it.

  • Bill Hedges

    DJS-yEAH..THERE IS MANY THINGS OBAMA WILL NOT RELEASE, IN PARTICULAR HIS COLLEGE RECORDS. With him in public eye so short a time, he needs to release.