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It would hardly be a problematic issue if there were no American citizens out there who feel that it’s acceptable to settle a grievance at the barrel of a gun, or with fisticuffs or perhaps the more subtle rock thrown through a window belonging to an opponent.

The McCain campaign seems to somehow be suffering from a distorted "50 first dates" syndrome… they wake up every day and seem to have forgotten what they did the day before in either words or deeds. Their surrogates deny that they have said anything that might be construed as inflaming the emotions of their "base" with respect to Barack Obama, while these same surrogates have begun to seize on anything that might be leveraged into making a case that they are being "persecuted" by the "liberal" media (how about a new tune, y’all?) and congressmen like Congressman John Lewis who had the temerity to suggest that perhaps the Republican campaign was not behaving in either a civilized or ethical manner.

"During another period, in the not too distant past, there was a governor of the state of Alabama named George Wallace who also became a presidential candidate. George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama," wrote the Democrat.

Sarah Palin and her somewhat limited supply of talking points and incomplete sentences has been asking "Who is Barack Obama?" in speeches before audiences who would vote for her either because they would compete with Rich Lowry to "catch little starbursts" themselves, or admire her ability to be the Mistress of Republican Word Salad:

We have trade missions back and forth, we do. It’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state.

Or for her moderately inflammatory rhetoric,

"This is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America"

See it exactly how, Governor? White and 100% bible-thumping X-Tian? From the composition of her audiences, that might be a good guess. It’s been several decades since Tricky Dick introduced the "southern strategy" against the Democrats, and it’s been refined over successive years by men like Lee Atwater and his disciple Karl Rove, among others, to scalpel-like precision. Interestingly, the McFailin’ campaign is having a hard time even executing the automatic and idiot-proof template left to them by Rove & Co. because the vast majority of Americans who might viscerally respond to "dog-whistles" and negative ads are worried about even being able to retire before age 90 now, or losing their homes or being pushed into bankruptcy under the new, bank-oriented and draconian bankruptcy laws passed and signed by the Republicans ostensibly for "personal responsibility". (Yes, there are plenty of Democrats including Biden who need to own up to that piece of shit legislation and repeal it).

This year’s voters, who are mostly decent, middle class men and women are not worried about Obama’s middle name, and are not worried because he’s an African-American, they get that he’s just an American who seems to understand America’s present difficulties and challenges, and wants to work on a solution for them and every American. They’re worried that all their money might soon be gone, and that they might soon be living, first hand, their grandparents’ stories of life in the Great Depression . I have to wonder if those same voters wonder about the ability of a candidate to govern effectively if they can’t even effectively run a campaign of lies, smears and innuendo in the grandest tradition of Karl Rove and Lee Atwater.

It seems that John McCain and Sarah Palin have rediscovered an anecdote about George Wallace, and see it as their path to success on their road to the election…

A black lawyer recalls, "Judge George Wallace was the most liberal judge that I had ever practiced law in front of. He was the first judge in Alabama to call me ‘Mister’ in a courtroom." Later, when a supporter asked why he started using racist messages, Wallace replied, "You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about n*****s, and they stomped the floor."

Just substitute "terrorist" or "Ayers" for that other word, and you’ve got the Palin speech generation algorithm seeded and ready to rock the house. Or hand them metaphorical rocks, which seems to be more like the case 24 days out.