John McCain

Right Plays the Race Card

Right-wing pundits and political leaders committed to the destruction of the Obama presidency have been openly fomenting racial resentment or tolerating those who do. In one breath, they accuse President Obama of being racist and in the next they and their media allies howl with indignation if their own racial rhetoric is challenged.

Senator Polliwog (aka Lindsey Graham) on Barack Obama, Michael Phelps, and North Carolina

Barack Obama claimed the state of North Carolina today, which hasn’t gone to a Democrat since Jimmy Carter. But before we could reflect on this historic triumph, we were reminded of something we read last week, which made us think of this:


Don’t worry. We can explain.

Senator Lindsey Graham, warming up a North Carolina audience for McCain, assured them that McCain would win: "He fits North Carolina like a glove…I’ll beat Michael Phelps in swimming before Barack Obama wins North Carolina." Whoops! Graham continued, "Don't let me down, because I can’t swim."

But rather than eating his words, we hope Graham will take the opportunity to learn to swim. Swimming is an important skill, especially for a man who could himself get washed away by a blue wave.

We’ve done him the favor of inquiring about beginner lessons in South Carolina. The Columbia YMCA has two very promising offerings:


Graham was right about one thing: McCain does fit North Carolina like a glove. We tried it ourselves, and the glove kept getting hung up on Asheville:


Sean Hannity Asks the Tough Questions about So-Called “Winner” of Presidential Election

In the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s historic election, the McCain campaign and RNC led a coordinated campaign to cast the integrity of the vote into doubt. They claimed ACORN was engaging in massive voter fraud. They claimed that Obama was receiving illegal foreign contributions. They claimed that the “liberal media” was skewing the polls in favor of Democrats.

In other words, they were writing themselves an insurance policy in the event of a contested election or narrow loss. But it wasn’t even close.

As a result, the anticipated barrage of conspiracy theories and false charges never materialized. Yet not everyone could just let it go.

Here’s the current poll on Hannity.com:

(h/t: Bob Geiger)

Obama Wins Mandate on the Courts

A post-election memo from PFAW on how yesterday's results "delivered a sweeping mandate for President-elect Obama to appoint federal judges who are committed to core constitutional values."

McCain-Palin Pit Bulls Turn Feral

There's a long history in American politics of exploiting divisions and fanning bigotry to win elections. In recent decades those strategies were honed by Lee Atwater and Karl Rove. Now the torch has passed to Steve Schmidt, and he’s done just about everything possible to fan the flames.

Schmidt’s tactics and the right-wing echo chamber have convinced millions of Americans that the nation is about to elect someone who hates America and “pals around with terrorists.” Just take a look at this video of supporters outside a Palin rally:

In recent weeks, the right wing has grown even more frenzied as McCain and his allies pushed the ACORN voter fraud hoax. Not only is Obama a Manchurian candidate, the thinking goes, but his evildoer comrades at ACORN are trying to steal the election. It’s little wonder that some people are going berserk.

McCain, Palin, Schmidt, Limbaugh, Hannity and the rest of them have created something very powerful, but very ugly, and it’s grown too big for them to control. Here is just some of what happens when you train your pit bulls to fear and hate and attack, and then they get loose:

Obama lawn sign replaced by rebel flag

Obama sign burned on black family's front lawn

Anti-Obama Fury Spills Over Into Down-Ticket Contests: "Bomb Obama"

Death threat, vandalism hit ACORN after McCain comments

ACORN Deluged with Threatening and Racist Voicemails and Emails

Obama Called a Socialist and 'Un-American'

McCain supporters heckle early voters

Dead bear covered with Obama signs found at school

People For the American Way is tracking such incidents around the nation. If something happens in your community that people should know about, please get in touch.

Hate You Can Believe In: ACORN Deluged with Threatening and Racist Voicemails and Emails

It’s bad enough that the employees of ACORN have had to endure days of baseless and outlandish attacks by John McCain and the RNC. But after McCain outrageously claimed before a national audience on Wednesday night that ACORN was “maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy,” the group came under attack, literally. In the following days, ACORN’s Boston and Seattle offices were vandalized and at least one employee received a death threat.

And for nearly two weeks, ACORN offices across the nation have been subjected to an onslaught of racist and threatening voicemails and emails. We have secured copies of some of the most disturbing and offensive messages and have reproduced them below in order to show the very real consequences of the Right Wing’s overheated and misplaced “voter fraud” rhetoric.

Warning: the emails and voicemails below are highly explicit and have only been edited to remove personally identifying information. Please also note that, where relevant, the proper authorities have been notified.

Voicemail #1:  

“Hi, I was just calling to let you all know that Barack Obama needs to get hung. He's a fucking nigger, and he's a piece of shit. You guys are fraudulent, and you need to go to hell. All the niggers on oak trees. They're gonna get all hung honeys, they're gonna get assassinated, they're gonna get killed.”

Email #1: This email was received by the Cleveland office. The subject line was the name of a senior staffer who had recently appeared on TV to defend the group.

According to McClatchy, the email was traced back to a Facebook account featuring a McCain-Palin sign.

Email #2:

Voicemail #2:

"You liberal idiots. Dumb shits. Welfare bums. You guys just fucking come to our country, consume every natural resource there is, and make a lot of babies. That's all you guys do. And then suck up the welfare and expect everyone else to pay for your hospital bills for your kids. I just say let your kids die. That's the best move. Just let your children die. Forget about paying for hospital bills for them. I'm not gonna do it. You guys are lowlifes. And I hope you all die."

ACORN Hit by Threats and Vandalism in Wake of McCain Comments

People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert released the following statement:

"On Wednesday night, John McCain outrageously claimed before a national television audience that ACORN was 'maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.' In the two days since, the community organizing group has suffered vandalism at its Boston and Seattle offices and has faced an onslaught of threats and hostile emails.

Right Wing Smear on ACORN Leads to Outrageous McCain Debate Claim

Media Uncritically Recites Right-Wing Talking Points, Turns A Blind Eye To Real Voter Suppression

People for the American Way (PFAW) will take out a full-page ad (PDF link) in The New York Times charging the right wing with misleading the public in the ACORN voter registration controversy. The ad also challenges the press for failing to examine the fabrications made against the voter registration group and turning a blind-eye toward the right wing's ongoing effort to disenfranchise voters.

Prop 8's Call to Extremism

A report examining Lou Engle, a leader in the right-wing fight to pass Proposition 8 in California, and his extremist brand of "Dominionist" Christianity.

McCain and Domestic Terrorism

Time for McCain to Look in the Mirror

Senator John McCain has been making a lot of baseless accusations lately, but he is the one with the troubling past. McCain and Marylin Shannon — a 2008 McCain delegate and former vice chair of the Oregon Republican Party — both appeared at an August, 1993 fundraiser for the far right Oregon Citizens Alliance. McCain appeared against the advice of Mark Hatfield, a GOP senator from Oregon, who feared that the group's extremist views would taint McCain.

Palin Remarks Distract from McCain Plan for Supreme Court

In response to Sarah Palin's remarks concerning the Supreme Court on Wednesday's episode of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert issued the following statement:

McCain Backers Use Supreme Court as Excuse for Cynical Hatchet Job

PFAW's Kolbert: We need a conversation about the Court and the Constitution, not more sleaze from the smearmongers of the Right

The Judicial Confirmation Network, a group of right-wing activists that mobilized support for the Bush administration's efforts to impose its political agenda on the federal judiciary, has launched a mud-slinging ad campaign that is ostensibly about the Supreme Court but does nothing to address the issues at stake for all Americans in the future of the judiciary.

Ads Focus Spotlight on Fair Pay, Supreme Court

As part of its ongoing efforts to educate Americans about the importance of the Supreme Court , the People For the American Way Action Fund today announced a series of ads focusing attention on the confirmation of Samuel Alito and its impact on fair pay for women. The ads, which are now airing, urge Americans to demand fair minded jurists and oppose judicial nominees who obstruct equal pay for women.

Americans Say: The Debate Is On!

People For the American Way today joined with allied groups to deliver more than 170,000 petitions to the Commission on Presidential Debates demanding that the schedule of Presidential debates remain intact. "I'm thrilled that John McCain has agreed, however reluctantly, to attend tonight's debate," said Kathryn Kolbert, president of People For the American Way. "The American people saw through his flimsy excuses and I’m proud that People For members were a part of that. Debates are not a distraction from the business at hand — they’re central to our democratic system. The stakes are higher than ever, which makes it even more important that the American people understand the choice they face."

Report: McCain-Bush Judges Take a Toll on Ordinary Americans

As part of its Supreme Court campaign, People For the American Way cites a report released today by its affiliated Foundation titled The Human Toll: How Individual Americans Have Fared at the Hands of Bush Judges. The report collects some of the stories of American men, women, and children whose cases have come before judges nominated by George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate. "George Bush's judges have done irreparable harm to real people in our nation," said People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert, who also pointed out that John McCain has supported 100% of Bush's judicial nominees. "President Bush has largely succeeded in reshaping the judiciary in his own image, and he's had the support of John McCain every step of the way."

Right Wing Praises McCain's Obedience

In 2000, John McCain solidified his "maverick" reputation by lambasting the Religious Right. He labeled Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell "agents of intolerance" and decried the Right's role within the Republican Party:

"They are corrupting influences on religion and politics, and those who practice them in the name of religion or in the name of the Republican Party or in the name of America shame our faith, our party and our country."

"John McCain has been working hard to get back in the good graces of the Right," said People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert. "By choosing Sarah Palin, he's given them exactly what they want — a book banning, anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-science extremist who's short on experience but long on ideology. Americans don't want a candidate who believes that victims of rape and incest should be denied a right to choose abortion. But the far right does. They said jump, and McCain just asked how high."

In return, the right-wing's response has been over the top:

James Dobson, Focus on the Family: "A lot of people were praying, and I believe Sarah Palin is God's answer."

Tony Perkins, Family Research Council: "Senator McCain made an outstanding pick."

Connie Mackey, FRCAction: "I am elated with Senator McCain's choice."

Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel: "Absolutely brilliant choice."

Richard Land: "Governor Palin will delight the Republican base."

Rick Scarborough, Vision America, "I'm elated. I think it's a superb choice."

Ralph Reed: "They're beyond ecstatic. This is a home run."

Gary Bauer, American Values: "[A] grand slam home run."

Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum: "She is the best possible choice."

Wendy Wright, Concerned Women for America: "Governor Palin will change the dynamics of the entire presidential race."

Janice Shaw Crouse, CWA's Beverly LaHaye Institute: "She is an outstanding woman who will be an excellent role model for the nation's young people."

David Barton, Wallbuilders: "The talk won't be about, 'look at Sarah Palin' as much as 'look at what McCain's choice of Palin says about McCain's core beliefs."

Jonathan Falwell: "John McCain made it very clear that his administration was going to be a pro-life administration, and he proved that's his belief and his passion today with the choice of Sarah Palin."

Jerry Falwell, Jr.: "I think it's a brilliant choice."

Charmaine Yoest, Americans United for Life: "And then when [Palin] was announced — it was like you couldn't breathe. [We] were grabbing each other and jumping up and down."

Gary Marx, Judicial Confirmation Network: "I can tell you that this pick tells millions in the base of the party that they can trust McCain. More specifically that they can trust him with Supreme Court picks and other key appointments."

David Keene, American Conservative Union: "The selection of Governor Palin is great news for conservatives, for the party and for the country. I predict any conservatives who have been lukewarm thus far in their support of the McCain candidacy will work their hearts out between now and November for the McCain-Palin ticket."

# # #

Sarah Palin: McCain's Birthday Gift to the Right

When Republican Presidential nominee John McCain announced that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin would be his running mate, many pundits scrambled to examine her thin record, but the religious right exulted. Phyllis Schlafly called Palin "the best possible choice," and Matt Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, declared the choice, "absolutely brilliant." Right wing leaders have good cause for optimism. During Palin's short tenure in public office, she's demonstrated her commitment to their ultra-conservative policies.

McCain Brags about His Support of Bush Judges

In response to a question today in Lima, OH, Senator John McCain turned the subject to the Supreme Court and bragged about his support of George W. Bush's nominees to the Supreme Court. In response, People For the American Way president Kathryn Kolbert said, "It's clear that John McCain is trying to polish his anti-choice credentials by highlighting his support for George W. Bush's judges."

McCain Courts the Right, Attacks Families

This weekend, The New York Times reported that Senator McCain said flatly that he opposed allowing gay couples to adopt. "I think that we’ve proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no, I don’t believe in gay adoption."

McCain Uses NAACP Conference to Push Anti-Public Education Voucher Ploy

During his speech today at the NAACP’s annual convention, John McCain reiterated his support of taxpayer funded vouchers to send children to religious and other private schools. People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert said, "John McCain is trying to score points with his right wing base, and he’s doing it at the expense of children. It’s bad enough that these voucher schemes are designed to undermine the separation of church and state."

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