Sharpening the knives

Yeah, I know what you’re gonna say. The Times is in the tank, Obama has done his share of attacking too, blah, blah blah. You know I’m in the tank so you can imagine who’s side I’m on.

But ask yourself this: has the Obama campaign incited the kind of hatred or descended quite so far into demagoguery as the McCain/Palin camp?

Editorial – Politics of Attack – (referring to last night’s debate):

Ninety minutes of forced cordiality did not erase the dismal ugliness of his (McCain’s) campaign in recent weeks, nor did it leave us with much hope that he would not just return to the same dismal ugliness on Wednesday.

Ms. Palin, in particular, revels in the attack. Her campaign rallies have become spectacles of anger and insult. “This is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America,” Ms. Palin has taken to saying.

That line follows passages in Ms. Palin’s new stump speech in which she twists Mr. Obama’s ill-advised but fleeting and long-past association with William Ayers, founder of the Weather Underground and confessed bomber. By the time she’s done, she implies that Mr. Obama is right now a close friend of Mr. Ayers — and sympathetic to the violent overthrow of the government. The Democrat, she says, “sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.”

Her demagoguery has elicited some frightening, intolerable responses. A recent Washington Post report said at a rally in Florida this week a man yelled “kill him!” as Ms. Palin delivered that line and others shouted epithets at an African-American member of a TV crew.

McCain and Palin increasingly want you to forget about issues (because they’re losing every debate on the issues), and focus on character. Do you suppose McCain or Palin ever heard the one about the glass house?

Give the gift of words.