The video from that Sarah Palin rally in Ohio last week probably said it all -- that not only are racists herding in John McCain's direction, but that previously obscured racism among mainstream conservatives is now bubbling up at an increasing rate.
A New York Observer report from Florida tells a similar kind of story:
“I don’t believe these polls,” said America Blanca, a 44-year-old small business owner from Miami who wore a red dress and was visibly pumped up by the rally. “Not one of them. Because it’s the kids answering the polls on the computers. Their parents are not home and they are answering and they will not be voting. I think if he is losing, it is only by a little spread. Very little.” She held the tip of her pointer finger about two inches from the tip of her thumb.
Asked if her business made more than $250,000 a year, the cap under which Obama has proposed cutting taxes, she said it did. Told about Obama’s proposal, she answered, “I don’t give a shit. I will never vote for a black man.”
I half-expected to hear the same thing from "Joe the Plumber" last week when it was pointed out to him that he would actually get a tax cut under Obama's plan.
It's clear that the campaign to defeat Barack Obama -- which is what the McCain campaign has rapidly devolved into, ever since it became self-evident that McCain himself couldn't give us a single good reason to vote for him, beyond his moose-in-the-headlights running mate -- is in fact creating an environment in which these kinds of sentiments not only are encouraged, but are now considered normal.
Sure enough, the neo-Nazis and white supremacists are reporting that they're making big inroads these days:
Jeff Schoep, head of the National Socialist Movement, says the government classifies his group as a domestic group of interest, not domestic terrorists. The FBI would not comment.
Interest in the group "has really spiked up," says Schoep, who would not say by how much.
"Historically, when times get tough in our nation, that's how movements like ours gain a foothold," he says. "When the economy suffers, people are looking for answers. … We are the answer for white people.
"And now this immigrant thing in the past couple of years has been the biggest boon to us," Schoep says. "The immigration issue is the biggest problem we're facing because it's changing the face of our country. We see stuff in English and Spanish. … They are turning our country into a Third World ghetto."
... "A lot of these small working-class towns are being invaded by different types of people," says Douglas Myers, one of Keystone United's founders. He says the group speaks out for the rights of whites being pushed aside by newcomers.
"It appears they are tapping into and fanning the flames of mainstream America's fear of immigrants," says Ann Van Dyke of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. "They are increasingly using the language of Main Street, things like, 'We want safe communities to raise our children.' "
Myers says the group is organizing family-friendly activities, rejecting the violence that made skinheads notorious. For example, they plan gatherings in public libraries.
"It's not the footage from the '80s with people burning crosses. It's a very healthy environment," Myers, 26, says.
The renewed activity includes a boom on the Internet, says Don Black, creator of the Stormfront website. The site has 144,000 registered members.
"Many people in this country, even if they were upset with the country's immigration policies, never felt that threatened until now," Black, 55, says. "White people were the majority. That's rapidly changing."
Black says the candidacy of Barack Obama has raised his site's profile.
In the past year, members have posted 337 entries on Stormfront related to Obama, ranging from whether an Obama victory will start a revolution among whites to whether the candidate will take away gun rights.
You can't help but suspect that the dead bear found decorated with Obama signs in North Carolina is part of this picture, too.
All this courtesy of our friends, the increasingly desperate Republican Party.