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Does urging political restraint apply to McCain and Obama or just the Republicans?

As The Ticket, among many online sites, has noted in recent days, much has been made about the anger and fears expressed by a vocal few and aimed at the Democratic ticket by some attending rallies for Sen. John McCain.

At one recent event in Minnesota, an angry woman called Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama, the awful A-word -- "Arab."

McCain quickly retrieved the microphone and said, "No, ma'am, he is a decent family man, a citizen I just happen to have serious differences with on some fundamental questions."

On Sunday, Sen. Joe Biden, the Democratic party's vice presidential nominee, again sought to stoke the angry McCain supporter story line by criticizing the GOP nominee for "ugly inferences" about the top of the Democratic ticket.

So as a growing number of political bloggers, including Wake Up America, have asked in recent hours, how long do you think before the mainstream media starts reporting on scenes like a Philadelphia event on Saturday where people wore T-shirts that bore an explicitly crude reference to Sarah Palin? With 22 campaign days left, might perhaps the Democratic ticket also feel the need to warn its supporters to tone it down?

If these T-shirts showed up at a McCain event on people proudly posing like this to proclaim that Obama was the N-word, do you think we might have heard about it by now?

--Andrew Malcolm

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Why do you call "arab" an "awful a-word"?

The media needs to stop espousing the arab=bad rhetoric.

No one spoke "white" with disdain when Timothy McVeigh bombed the building in Oklahoma City. No one spoke "white" with contempt when the IRA conducted their attacks..

This is ludicrous. The 9/11 Terrorists were people who happen to be Arab. It's what they do that makes them terrorists, not their ethnicity.

"No ma'am, he's a decent family man, a citizen..."


Apology NOT accepted.

The epithets and hateful rhetoric from both sides are deplorable. Hate feeds on hate. Stoking the fires of anger and resentment is demagoguery of the worst kind. Calling Palin a vulgar name for a private body part is not useful to our democratic objectives. Nor is intentional distortion of the truth or pandering to our baser instincts. The question is, do we want to build a better country or do we want to win at any cost?

Those t-shirts make a valid point. A+

The picture of the youths wearing such T-shirt is to me a one-off incident, a very small minority of the whole Democrat supporters. I think only immature and dumb people will call others by such crude names/terms. However compare these to the Republican side, where the sentiment that Obama is a dangerous terrorist who hates his country and thus he is not patriotic is far more common and extensive among the Republican supporters. Why? Well McCain himself is directly to be blamed. He endorses ads that potray Obama as dangerous and now he is retreating it back. Obama never insinuated that Palin is aynthing in crude terms. The furthest he would go is to discredit her professionalism. But the Republican side is guilty for the anger and rage that they have fanned with ads that were not clearly thought of in terms of their negative backlash.

You're joking, right Mr. Malcom?

The Obama campaign has done nothing to encourage four morons to wear t-shirts calling Gov. Palin a word which Senator McCain famously used to his own wife's face, in public (that's the context which is apparently lost among the far-right).

In contrast, McCain's ads and public appearances openly stoke fear and contempt. His campaign might -- just might -- "feel the need to warn its supporters to tone it down" because the campaign itself has willfully encouraged them to believe toxic lies about Senator Obama.

Why is it hard for a journalist to come right out and say that?

What hypocrites... this election, and the lack of impartial coverage of it by the MSM is a joke.

Let's just say this... if John McCain had attended a racist church for 20 years, been married by a racist pastor, or had his kids baptized by a racist pastor... he would never had made it past the primaries. Not to mention ANY relationship he may have had with an admitted domestic terrorist.

I can't stand this... say hello to socialism.

This is a false comparison.

The incidents at the McCain rallies have suggested Barack Obama should be murdered, and they have coincided with McCain campaign insinuations that Obama is linked with terrorists, that he is risky and different. The violent rhetoric can be attributed to the McCain campaign's stoking of hatred against Obama.

This incident, with the Palin t-shirts, while crude and pathetic, derogatory and inappropriate, cannot be linked with any extreme rhetoric on the part of the Obama campaing. The Obama campaign have no attacked Palin over her sex, and they have not made any extreme personal attacks (a la "palling around with terrorists") against her.

To suggest that there is equality between violent and racist rhetoric at McCain rallies in response to their rhetoric, and an isolated t-shirt incident at a Palin rally, is to draw comparisons where they simply do not exist. Obama has absolutely no responsibility for this behaviour, although if they wore this to his rallies and shouted these obscenities he should certainly correct them, but no one could suggest he has incited them, as Palin and McCain have incited terrorist and pseudo-racist "risky, dangerous" tags to Obama.

Really guys, you are journalists, false equivalence is something they should have taught you in freshman year.

This article/ opinion is stretch.
They look like prolife supporters or some smart ass kids. They were protesting and this was NOT at an Obama rally. and MC Cain has no problem using the C word to describe is own wife. So it's a non-issue.

So let's get back to the economy please!

While I condone neither, Palin brought this on through her hate speech. Those who throw stones should expect them in return.

Agreed on one point: That's pretty repugnant. If I was at an Obama rally I'd slap those people hard.

Is it the same (in terms of the public interest) as the open, racially charged hostility at the McCain rallies? Especially when Palin seems to be engaged in rhetoric that fans those flames...I'd say the press is probably, once again, just going with the stories that interest people...It's not all that sinister. It's just about selling papers or generating clicks.

Here's the big difference: Obama and Biden have not used false inferences to inflame their supporters against Palin or McCain. McCainand Palin have themselves implied that Obama is a "terrorist." They have to own the results of that. Obama does not have to own the fact that, like any candidate, he is also supported by some idiots.

I think that Mr. Malcolm's argument is a bit of a stretch. If people were showing up at McCain rallies wearing "Obama is a D*ckhead" shirts, there would be no uproar. Although it is classless, that is not hatred, and certainly not potentially violence inciting. The problem is that until recently, the McCain has allowed expressions of xenophobia and hatred toward the opposing candidate to go unchallenged at their ralllies, and his VP candidate has encouraged these expressions with her constant association of a man named "Barack Obama" with the word "terrorist." Its kind of like Obama's constant association of Bush's name with McCain's. Both are illegitimate, but with repetition, they have the same effect - voters will eventually be eventually be able to understand the subtext and connect the dots for the message that the campaign is really trying to convey. McCain is better than this, and he needs to get rid of his staff, before he alienates any more potential voters.

About the t-shirts: I Googled a little and found that Cafe Press has a line of items with that despicable slogan. As a woman and an Obama supporter, I am appalled.

A really, really poor attempt at establishing equivalency between the "c-word" and the "n-word". The "c-word" is crude and nasty, but it has never been the rallying cry for lynching, and there have never been entire hate-filled groups built around their pure hatred of "c-words".

One words suggest crude disdain, the other implies (among a historically significant group) that one is subhuman, a threat to our great society, and worthy of death at the hands of an enraged mob.

Not even remotely equivalent. A more comparable crude insult would have been referring to Obama as another part of the lower anatomy -- one that begins with "a" and ends with "hole". But, comparing "n-word" to "c-word" is a huge stretch in an attempt to claim equal evil for wildly different levels of potential harm.

The bias of the media during this campaign has been outrageous-talk about stealing elections.

It certainly applies to both candidates. The only pictures I've seen requiring admonition on the Obama side are of some people NOT at any of his campain events. Either his campaign has a better handle on security than McCain, or the people who are showing up are simply better behaved. I saw the picture of the people wearing the rude t-shirts at the Palin event. I noticed it was not an Obama event. The only way idiots like that can get into an event is if they pass through security. If, as reported, they were at a Palin event, then she allowed it. Yes, both sides should demonstrate restraint, but either Obama is doing it better or it's needed less at his events. After all, what's to restrain from peaceful citizens wearing pajamas?

I think the strong reaction to the videos from the angry McCain rallies comes from the "overall' tone of INTENSE anger coming from MOST of the crowd. Every movement has its' nuts, including the Obama campaign, but is there video (etc) somewhere out there that has the whole crowd fired up, yelling "kill em" etc?

I am unaware of it, and I am sure the McCain campaign is searching exhaustively, so if it is out there, we will see it. So far, it appears to be a more concentrated dose of hate than we are used to seeing at these events.

Mr. Malcolm once again misses the point by a mile.

The question you need to ask yourself, Malcolm, is has Obama said anything to encourage this behavior? Has the "liberal media" been fanning the flames of hate? In both cases, you know the answer is "No".

Sure, despite the ignorant, mouth-breathing trailer-dweller demographic forming the solid and undentable core of the Republican base, a few morons consider themselves "swing voters" and have hooked up with Obama. These idiots sometimes show up at Obama rallies and those latte sipping elitists that form the rest of the pro-Obama crowd are too polite to tell the cretin to "Get out!".

This may be too fine a point for someone such as yourself, Malcolm, who is a solid member of the Republican base, but the issue is NOT (yet) what the idiots in the crowds do or say, but what the candidates and their proxies are doing and saying. Which candidates are saying "He's a witch/commie/terrorist!" and which candidates are saying "Let's talk about the economy"? Which candidates are appealing to idiot emotion and which are speaking to the crowds' higher faculties?

Final point: Republicans have to be more careful in their approach because of the demographics they target with their rhetoric. Take a look at this current red state/blue state map while you consider the following question:

Now consider: If you wanted to gather up a bunch of righteous white folks into a lynch mob to string up some random minority, would you have more more luck in a red state or in a blue state? You know it, red states are where you have to go if you want some lynch mob action.


We all need as much accurate info. as possible. I suggest any seeking info. GOOGLE palin steve stoll. Whatcha got to lose?

I have been watching each candidate's campaign rallies. As for picture at Obama supporters and what they are doing - this particular group should have been asked to not do - put on their jackets. There are probably others. But these incidents cause no bodily harm. To compare assassination enticement to this incident is just shocking. I have watched Palin - McCain and how they entice the crowd rage hearing "kill him", "off with his head", "terrorist", "traitor",etc and they just smiled not stopping the threats. McCain-Palin's purposeful word format usage is designed to psychologically encourage these dangerous reactions. I have taken/am familiar with college level advanced psychology and the word applications used to generate the desired reaction. Political Speech writers know the specific crowd cultural tendencies and suggestive psychological specific word usage is applied to induce these thoughts. Republicans know very well what they are doing. Enticement encouraging a reaction of bodily harm/assassination of another political candidate is criminal. FBI was even brought in!! McCain - Palin have crossed the line. I have had it with these two candidate -threats of assassination. I am scared and America could be close to riot stage. Some places it has already started. And John McCain and Sarah Palin all by themselves can be blamed for starting it all!! . People are going to die!!! How can this be stopped!!

To put things in a larger perspective, although something has been said about the Keating Five, nothing has been said of Senator McCains affiliations with Contra groups or David Duke or Reverend Hagee, any of which certainly equals surpasses the level of charges levied against Senator Obama. Now that the media promotional "journalists" have moved a bit from the extreme right, foul play is being called. Where were you when John Kerry was being swift boated?

You guys can dish it out but you sure can't take it. McCain ads are 100% negative because they don't have anything constructive to say. Obama's as are 37% negative because he doesn't want to get "swift boated.'

No question that these shirts are deplorable, using what many people consider to be the most offensive sexual insult available. But these shirts do little to actually slander Palin; they reflect far more poorly on the wearers and their judgement and beliefs.
Calling Obama a terrorist, and spreading ominous hints and lies about his supposed affiliations with unrepentent bombers, is a very different story. Convincing people with outrageous lies that Obama is a threat to America and frightening the naive masses is irrresponsible. The tone at McCain-Palin rallies has changed dramatically in the last few weeks; there is a sense of panic and fear that could indeed blow up into violence, and the hatred-stokers in the McCain camp are indeed to blame.

This is false equivalence.

The difference is that John McCain implicitly endorsed these remarks by not denouncing them immediately or throwing the supporter out of the John McCain event.

Barak Obama is not endorsing the anti-Palin people...they are showing up on their own to a Palin event.

Again, these are differences my eight year old son can pick up on

This is bad, but not as bad as 'Terrorist', as was started by Sarah. Neither does it demand, as did some GOP supporters, 'Kill him!'
Sarah is now reaping what she's sown. Name calling begets name calling.
The shirt has also not been endorsed or encouraged by any of the leaders of the Dem party, unlike the VA leader of the GOP comparing Obama to Osama.
The patriot John McCain has lost his way!

Because of the color of his skin Barack Obama has been transformed into Caesar's wife.Any criticism against him or any question about his background is being quickly branded as racist.The Obama campaign must be complimented for this brilliant strategy.

To answer your question, urging political restraint only applies to McCain.
There is no logic or consistency in this answer, but that is the way it is today.
Most of the media is part of the Obama campaign. That is simply fact. Because of this they would be very reluctant to report on anything negative about Obama. And would definitely not hold Obama's campaign to the same standard as McCain's campaign.


8 years of ChimpyBush, BushMcHitler, ChimpyMcHitler, calls for assassination of President Bush and outright violence by liberal Democrats against Republicans and now the shoe is going on the other foot.

Frankly I think the remaining patience on the Right has completely worn out and now it's time for payback.

Now you on the Left are going to get back precisely what you've dished out, and in spades.

The media should not report on the offensive t-shirts. It is a non-issue. Why give the people wearing them any more publicity? McCain gave the mic to a crazy supporter. He asked for her opinions and then had to defend his opponent as a result. The misconceptions about Obama's past that his ticket has been spreading put them in this pickle. The media is merely reporting on an event that happened on camera.

Obaby and his campaign have taken hypocrisy to a whole new level. It's always do as I say, not as I do with them. Saw Biden's speech from Scranton yesterday. In a span of two minutes he called Scranton and Wilmington his home town. Anyway 2/3 of his speech was spent attacking McCain. The other 1/3 of his time he spent telling voters that Obama would change everything. The only problem is Biden could not say how Obama's lofty promises would be implemented. What a joke. For Biden to spend 2/3 of his speech attacking McCain, then whining about GOP negative attacks is the height of hypocrisy and absurdity.

Ben Smith & Jake Tapper already outed them as registered Libertarians.

Of course it's offensive. However, the stuff coming out of McCain's events are from people inside the event. The issue is not just what they said, but that McCain and Palin say nothing about it. If these people were at an Obama event and he said nothing, that would offend me. First, we have no idea whether these people were really outside the event or not. The person who took the photo conveniently left out there last name. There are so many B.S. emails out there where the person claiming "first hand knowledge" didn't exist. And as disgusting as this is, having a t-shirt that calls someone a c*** is still a little different than "kill him" What's sad Mr. Malcolm is that I believe you know damn well that is the difference, but you, also, are mor interested in stoking the right wing 'don't trust the media' fire. Well, I for one, don't trust you when you try to compare these two issues.

Mr Malcom,
Your right it is bad to say things like the t shirt says - but your angle and attitude is just straight wrong, so get your Obama is a N-word shirt out and show us just how classy the republican supporters are, OK? Let us remember that Sara Palin said Obama was a terrorist first and basically unleashed this pandoras box of fear and loathing among middle american republican white racists,,,,er I mean voters...
It takes leadership to stay cool under these types of attacks and I have to say - "he/ she who smelled it dealt it" politics will not work in this day and age - it is all about "being right" not being a liar.

Someone called Obama an Arab. McCain said, "No, ma'am, he is a decent family man, a citizen". This opposition is pathetic, insulting and untrue.

Well, let us remember that we have some 3 million Arabs in the U.S., citizens or legal residents. Most are decent people. The overwhelming majority are educated, work and contribute hugely to the U.S. economy and political system.

The difference is male-female, not conservative liberal. I have loads of emails sent to me that use the same language for Hillary Clinton. Palin said Clinton was a whiner.

I think some people are intentionally confusing criticisms of policies with personal attacks. Obama has gone after McCain's voting record in the Senate and his erratic handling of his own campaign, both of which are germane to the question of whether or not he would make an effective leader. McCain and Palin, on the other hand, have been launching personal attacks on Obama, questioning his patriotism and trustworthiness, as well as his religious beliefs, and using 'guilt by association' tactics to assassinate his character. When Obama defends himself against these attacks, which he has no choice but to do, it is grossly unfair to hold him responsible for the ugly tone of the campaign. John McCain's behavior during the last month of this campaign has been a disgrace, and his choice of running mate is the best evidence we have of his unfitness to be President.

Heck, the way the Obama campaign, and his supporters, treated Clinton, and her supporters, during the primary, I've always known Obamatons are simply horrible horrible people.

Hate is how to win elections these days, and Obama's got that down great.

I have very low expectations for our future.

Before another Republibot posts the latest propaganda blurb about how "it all started by helping people get loans" the meltdown was caused by hedge fund managers leveraging 35 to 1 against the weak paper. So if a house that costs $100,000 forecloses it costs the hedge fund and its investors $3,500,000. How many of you were invested in these funds? Very few. How many Senators and Politicos? Most all of them. Who did you just bail out.....Oh, and the number one reason for foreclosure: LACK OF JOBS.

Unsurprisingly, Andrew Malcolm is way behind the news here. GOP supporters have already played the race card about Obama:

Funny how Malcolm doesn't get sniffy about any of these incidents.

Why would America REWARD complete Republican failure ?

We wont.

Sarah Palin allows Todd Palin to run shadow government in Alaska and participate in unethical conduct. After living with the current vice presidents abuse of power do we really want Sarah and Todd a heartbeat away from the Presidency of the USA?
“Testimony compiled as part of the Alaska inquiry, and a Los Angeles Times review of email logs from the Palin Administration, shows that Mr Palin was a fixture in the governor's office, spending about half his time there.

He attended cabinet meetings that are supposed to be closed to the public, and was copied on a wide variety of high-level government correspondence on issues such as contract negotiations with the police officers' union, native Alaskan issues and the privatization of a dairy near the Palins' home town of Wasilla.
The recent report concluded that she knowingly "permitted Todd Palin to use the Governor's office and the resources of the Governor's office, including access to state employees, to continue to contact subordinate state employees in an effort to find some way to get Trooper Wooten fired".
Why should Todd Palin’s shadow government scar Americans…? Todd Palin was a member of the Alaskan Independence Party founded by Joe Vogler for seven years (1995 – 2000)… this is the 3rd largest party in Alaska and has run on the platform of secession from the USA.
Joe Vogler" who said this: “My government is my worst enemy. I’m going to fight them with any means at hand.”
And this:
When the [federal] bureaucrats come after me, I suggest they wear red coats. They make better targets. In the federal government are the biggest liars in the United States, and I hate them with a passion. They think they own [Alaska]. There comes a time when people will choose to die with honor rather than live with dishonor. That time may be coming here. Our goal is ultimate independence by peaceful means under a minimal government fully responsive to the people. I hope we don’t have to take human life, but if they go on tramping on our property rights, look out, we’re ready to die.”
If you go by the McCain campaign’s way of thinking Sarah Palin and her husband has been palling around with this USA hating group with an Iranian connection. Vogler disappeared under suspicious circumstances in May 1993, just weeks before he was scheduled to give a speech to the United Nations on Alaskan independence, sponsored by the government of Iran.
I point this out not as much because I think the Obama Campaign should follow the negative tone of McCain, but to point out how hypercritic the McCain/Palin ticket is. How can Palin run on a ticket that continues to say “County First” and yell USA, USA at their rally’s when she and her husband openly support the AIP.
We do not need to elect more hypocrites to run this country and we do not need Todd who would not be an elected official to have the power that Sarah has given him in Alaska on a federal level. Does this man and this woman’s beliefs and style of governing not scares anyone but me? Does this Women’s willingness to lie and not accept facts as truth not remind anyone but me of the current administration? Is it not obvious that she and McCain will say anything even hate speak to win this election even if it tears this country apart?
Wake up America we do not need more Hypocrites in the White house nor do we need a shadow government run by a seven year member of the Alaskan Independence Party or their Iranian pals!

What happens when candidates use doom and disaster, slander and innuendo to frighten people into voting for them? They end up with people too scared to think straight.

When their 'supporters' calm down, however, what kind of stick will the candidate need to use to frighten them into compliance the next time?

That is a good question. It would just be wonderful if you posed that question to the editors at the LA Times.

Dont kid yourself - theres a big difference btwn a few nutty women in pink shirts screaming "End this illegal war!" and a 50 yr old redneck who obviously owns a few guns yelling "Kill him!"

Truth is the issue. Calling someone an Arab because you judge them to be different, unacceptable, and offensive is not truth. If someone was born in or immigrated to Saudi Arabia it would be true. Using a slang word to describe a woman is not truth. The offense comes by implying that a person is less than whole and an unattractive object of shame. Very few of us rigorously observe truth telling and most of us are sometimes willing to use some offensive slang to make a point. So we all live in glass houses.

Editing out the truth is just as provocative. Political candidates often 'forget' about the part of their lives they wish to conceal. Obama seems to be leaving a lot out of his story, while McCain has led such a public life he can't conceal much. Provocation comes from omission as well as commission.

Did all the blessedly naive Obama fans miss the eight years of "Bush is Hitler"? Mentioning Bill Ayers is an incitement to violence, but this is not?

And now you have Obama fans throwing molotov cocktails.

Didn't the left-wing Huffington Post issue a ban on comments calling Bush's death because they were so common? There is plenty of ugly and violence on the left.

Based on the excuses given by many Obama supporters here, I think the answer to your question is obvious.

Democrats get a pass.

As a Democrat I personally condemn such offensive stuff as Ms. Malkin posted on her site. Now I'm waiting for her to condemn the rhetoric she herself helps perpetuate. Waiting...............................................................

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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