An author and former campaigner for John McCain says in the Baltimore Sun what actually does need to be said, out loud, in public:
John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as “not one of us,” I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence… you are playing with fire, and you know it. You are unleashing the monster of American hatred and prejudice, to the peril of all of us. You are doing this in wartime. You are doing this as our economy collapses. You are doing this in a country with a history of assassinations.
I wonder if McCain is actually thinking about the consequences of what he’s doing at his campaign stops right now, and the unease it give the people who do think about consequences, both on the right and the left. I don’t want John McCain to win the election, but I also don’t want him to actually lose his soul, either. These progressively scarier campaign stops look and sound increasingly like someone who’s abandoned his better judgment for a last-shred grab at the crown by any means necessary. I like a lot of folks used to like McCain. I don’t think it’s a matter of us having always been deceived; I think it’s a matter of what we thought we admired in the man simply being tossed out in the course of extraordinarily bad political calculus.
I wish I could be more snarky about this. But the fact of the matter what John McCain is saying — and what he’s not saying, to the nutjobs in his crowds (whose words, even if can’t hear them at the podium, he’s certainly been told of by now) — worries me. He’s not just making the Secret Service’s job harder for the next four weeks, you know. Given the state of the polling, he’s very likely making it harder for the next four years, for a guy whose Secret Service detail was already going to be working overtime. I’m not sure why McCain doesn’t see this, or why he doesn’t care if he does.
Update, 8:07pm: Apparently McCain is beginning to reel things back in. It’s a good start. Let’s hope he keeps it up.