October 12, 2008
How do I give out a BOW (Buffoon Of the Week) Award this time around? There have been so many acts of idiocy out there this week that I don’t even know where to begin. And I’m so fed up, so angry, so offended, that I can’t find any way to make this post fun — which is something I shoot for when I write these things every week.
Do I give the award to Sarah Palin retroactively for the Troopergate thing? Do I give it to her for being so stupid that she not only violated the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act, but did so in spite of being warned again and again that she was trampling on the law? Do I give it to her for continuing to maintain that she did nothing wrong and that this was just a partisan attack? (To my friends on the right, read the conclusions of the report that came out of Alaska on Friday. The report is quite clear: she abused her power and violated the law. She can’t be sanctioned by the Alaska State Legislature; that falls to the state’s Personnel Board, which is conducting its own investigation. But it’s clear that what she did was wrong. And this was NOT a partisan attack. The report was approved unanimously by a bipartisan board consisting of ten Republicans and four Democrats — and yes, those numbers are right.) Or do I give it to John McCain for choosing this woman who he clearly did not vet properly?
Or do I go in a different direction? Do I give it to the idiots who have been shouting out at McCain-Palin rallies this week, calling Barack Obama a “terrorist”, or shouting out “kill him,” or calling him a “traitor”? Do I give it to the woman at the McCain town hall meeting who said that Obama was “an Arab”? (And let me say here that John McCain’s response to this woman was as admirable as it was long overdue. He corrected her, saying, “No, ma’am, no ma’am. He’s not.” He went on to say that Obama was a decent man who deserved respect. Later he told another questioner that there was no reason to be “scared” of an Obama Presidency. As a friend of mine noted in a comment on my blog, it was as if the old John McCain, who campaigned with such dignity in 2000, made a brief cameo on the 2008 campaign stage.) Do I give it to the man at the Palin rally yesterday who had a monkey doll with an Obama sticker on it — and who got rid of the sticker and gave away the monkey as soon as he saw that there was a video camera on him?
Do we give it to the pastor at McCain’s rally in Iowa yesterday who, in his invocation, said, “There are plenty of people around the world who are praying to their god, be they Hindu, Buddah, or Allah, that (McCain’s) opponent wins. I pray that you step forward and honor your own name”? (It seems that Christians are all praying for a McCain victory. News to me.)
Do we give it to every right-wing nut who has said that the Obama Campaign has injected race into this election? Yes, there are many people saying just that. Apparently they’ve managed to ignore the Curious George Obama doll. They’ve managed to forget the words of Republican Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, who called Obama “Uppity.” They’ve managed to turn a blind eye every time someone has accused Obama of being a Muslim, and everytime someone has referred pointedly to Obama’s middle name. They’ve managed for all this time to ignore the code words thrown around again and again by Republican operatives — the snarky attacks against “community organizers”, the thousand ways they found to call Obama uppity before Westmoreland actually used the word, the myriad attacks designed to emphasize the fact that Obama is different and therefore to be feared.
Or do we give it once again to the McCain-Palin campaign for doing everything they can in these last couple of weeks to stir up these fears and hostilities? Yes, John McCain corrected a few people at a couple of recent campaign events. But he and Sarah Palin have been like kids poking a hornets’ nest with a stick and then reacting with shock and outrage when they get stung. Attacks and smears are all they have left, and they’ve been resorting to them with gusto. Palin says that Obama is “palling around with terrorists” and then the campaign acts surprised when someone calls him a terrorist. She calls him un-American and then McCain appears surprised when a woman calls Obama a “traitor.” McCain’s campaign manager says at the beginning of the week that the campaign wants to turn away from the economy and focus on “character issues.” And then the campaign acts surprised when critics in the media accuse them of running an empty campaign. Well, for once the media got it right.
So this week I’m giving the BOW Award to every person out there who refuses to wage this campaign on the issues, who resorts to personal attacks and innuendo, guilt-by-association attacks and subliminal racism, fear-mongering and outright lies. Take a BOW there, all of you. You’ve certainly earned it.