McCain and Palin are obviously having trouble drawing a crowd these days, especially an enthusiastic one. (And the polls bear that out.) But it seems that those who are going have a ... special ... quality.
Down in Florida, the NYT's Julie Bosman reports that outside Sarah Palin rallies, McCain/Palin fans are indulging in anti-Arab xenophobia:
NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. – “John McCain! Not Hussein!”
So goes the latest popular chant on the campaign trail with Gov. Sarah Palin, demonstrated at a morning rally in central Florida.
Ms. Palin was midway through her stump speech when a group of supporters began shouting it in unison, drowned out a few seconds later as Ms. Palin talked over them.
But it wasn't just in New Port Richey. As the story notes, it was heard at a Pennsylvania rally too:
A similar chant, “Vote McCain, not Hussein,” was heard at a campaign event for Ms. Palin in Williamsport, Pa., earlier this week.
Senator Barack Obama’s middle name is Hussein, a fact that some of his opponents say proves that he is a Muslim. Mr. Obama is, in fact, a Christian.
And we heard it in Henderson, Nev., as well. (See the video above.) At that rally, some of the people leading the chant openly identified themselves as racists.
Already, Palin is mustering the troops to rally behind her after the GOP's looming Epic Fail on Tuesday: In Florida, her rallies alreadt feature no mention of McCain's name.
It is disturbing to get these glimpses of what the Republican Party is going to look like when it's done reshaping itself. They may end up marginalizing themselves even further -- we can only hope -- but in the meantime they are going to be preying on people's fears, as they've been doing all along.