Just as surely as night follows day, violence is being directed at ACORN offices and officials in the wake of the flood of right-wing demagoguery about its vote-gathering efforts:
An ACORN community organizer received a death threat and the liberal activist group's Boston and Seattle offices were vandalized Thursday, reflecting mounting tensions over its role in registering 1.3 million mostly poor and minority Americans to vote next month.
Attorneys for the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now were notifying the FBI and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division of the incidents, said Brian Kettenring, a Florida-based spokesman for the group.
Republicans, including presidential candidate John McCain, have verbally attacked the group repeatedly in recent days, alleging a widespread vote-fraud scheme, although they've provided little proof. It was disclosed Thursday that the FBI is examining whether thousands of fraudulent voter-registration applications submitted by some ACORN workers were part of a systematic effort or isolated incidents.
Kettenring said that a senior ACORN staffer in Cleveland, after appearing on television this week, got an e-mail that said she "is going to have her life ended."
A female staffer in Providence, R.I., got a threatening call from someone who said words to the effect of "We know you get off work at 9," then uttered racial epithets, he said.
John McCain has played a leading role in whipping up this frenzy of hatred. In Wednesday's debate, he charged:
We need to know the full extent of Sen. Obama's relationship with ACORN, who is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.
This is consistent with the hateful language being spewed from the right by the likes of Lou Dobbs, who has taken to routinely characterizing ACORN as a "radical left-wing activist group" as well as "a Democratic Party adjunct".
In fact, the hysteria's being generated across a broad spectrum of the Right, from Outer Malkinite Wingnuttia to Inside Beltway Villagers, from McCain and Palin to the frothiest freepers.
And we can see what's coming, too: We're being set up for a running yammer from the right after Obama wins questioning his legitimacy because of a supposedly "tainted" vote. Conspiracy theories and talking points from the right will circulate, driving up the temperature and feeding the right-wing populist frenzy.
And they're not even waiting until Election Day to begin.