McCain-Palin's 'Fellow Traveler' Insinuations: What If U.S. Security Forces Agree?
• A pre-election civics lesson needed to avert a constitutional crisis?
GET POLITICAL W/ VIC LIVINGSTON
The latest McCain-Palin TV web commercial, a follow-up to the first TV ad linking Barack Obama to former Weather Underground founder and confessed bomber William Ayers, just posted on the McCain YouTube.com website. (http://www.youtube.com/johnmccaindotcom)
Those who appreciated McCain's almost apologetic back-pedal before that old lady who called Obama an Arab are likely to be disappointed in this screed, which clocks in at a minute-forty -- a duration that doesn't fit the usual format for messages intended for paid broadcast on TV. Provocative long-form ads are capable of generating the desired buzz without having to buy expensive airtime; it's working here, isn't it?
This ad goes even further in painting the picture of Obama as a willing accomplice of a terrorist, making no mention of the fact that Obama was a child when Ayers participated in terrorist bombings. It characterizes as "radical" the Annenberg Challenge educational group in Chicago -- the organization on whose board Obama served alongside of Ayers, who's now a college professor. The ad's description of the charity no doubt would have amused the right-leaning conservative Walter Annenberg, the benefactor for whom it was named.
Yet the ad also states that "Obama's friendship with terrorist Ayers isn't the issue. The issue is Obama's judgment and candor."
The McCain campaign's continued persistent insinuations -- that Obama, a United States senator, is a radical who has been "palling around with terrorists," as Sarah Palin famously put it; that he's "too risky" for America; that he's someone who, in the words of a GOP lawmaker, "couldn't even get a security clearance to be a Secret Service agent," raises a troubling question:
If the GOP standard-bearer is casting Obama as unfit for office due to his professional associations connected to public service, at what point might the U.S. military, intelligence and federal security forces engage in McCarthy Era- style "guilt by association" and consider Obama to be an illegitimate presidential candidate? And, by dint of investigative power or official sanction, could these forces be tempted to disqualify him, either before or after the election?
To put it another way: Should Obama win on Nov. 4th, is it possible that the vehemence of anti-Obama sentiment could result in a refusal by government entities to recognize the election as legitimate -- sparking a constitutional crisis unmatched in American history?
It seems apparent that the anti-Obama fervor extends far beyond the angry crowds who turn out for McCain-Palin rallies. Could it be that some of those charged with protecting the nation and its political leaders share these feelings, and might be emboldened by the rhetoric and the emotionally-charged advertising to do whatever is deemed necessary to prevent Obama from taking office?
Troubled economic times, and vague admonitions about the prospect of civil unrest in the streets, add more fuel to this volatile election scenario. The polls say that the McCain-Palin "fellow traveler" strategy isn't working politically. But take heed of the complete meaning of that old adage: Politics is warfare by other means.
So, in the interest of maintaining peace and calm, not to mention our constitutional democracy, here is a modest proposal:
Someone in a position of power who cares about the continued health and well-being of our representative democracy must have the courage to remind all sworn officers of government of their pledge to defend the Constitution of the United States, even if they personally object to the outcome of the electoral process.
These officers of government and many of those under their charge already have taken a "loyalty oath," their sworn oath of office. Given the heated passions aroused by angry speechifying and unmistakable code, perhaps now is a good time to remind them of the significance of that solemn oath -- and of their duty to their fellow citizens to uphold the law of the land even if the face of self-righteous demagoguery.
One might rightfully respond that in America, sworn officers and public officials needn't be reminded by a lowly columnist of their constitutionally prescribed obligations.
For the sake of all of us, let's hope that's right.
FOR THE THREAT POSED BY 'THE AMERICAN GESTAPO,' SEE: