Olbermann: Divisive politics is anti-American
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann took time in his Monday "Special Comment" segment to point out an "orgy of condescending elitism" in recent tactics, "divisive, ugly, paranoid bleatings" of "Us vs. Them" by McCain surrogates, that he says do more to undermine America than anything they can accuse Senator Obama of doing.
Olbermann recalled writer Dick Young, "whose work, with ever-increasing frequency, became peppered with references to 'my America,' -- 'I can't believe this is happening in my America,' 'We do not tolerate these people in my America,' 'This man does not belong in my America.'"
"His America gradually revealed itself," he said: "Insular, isolationist, backwards-looking, mindlessly flag-waving, racist, no second chances, a million rules... but only for the other guy.
"Dick Young died in 1987 but he has been reborn in the presidential campaign as is has unfolded since last Thursday night. In that time, Governor Sarah Palin, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, McCain spokeswoman Nancy Pfotenhauer and Rush Limbaugh have revealed that there [are] measurable portions of this country that [are] not interested in that which the vast majority view as democracy or equality or opportunity--they want only control, and they want the rest of us, symbolically--perhaps physically--out."
Olbermann indicted Alaska Gov. and McCain running mate Palin for her stated appreciation of a "real America," while fostering a climate of mob rule by tacitly accepting yelled incitements against her opponents at her rallies. Minnesota Senator Michele Bachmann received harsh criticism for her statement that members of Congress should be separated into 'pro-America and anti-America' categories after calling Obama the "most liberal senator" and lining him up once more with pastor Jeremiah Wright and Weather Underground founder Bill Ayers.
Bachmann's statements resulted in a boost in donations for her Democratic opponent Elwyn Tinklenberg, topping $1 million between 20,000 donors in a 96-hour period. This is an indication, Olbermann said, that the America Bachmann sees, "with its goblins and ghosts and vast unseen hordes of traitors and fellow travelers...exists only in your head, and in the heads of others who must rationalize the failures in their own lives, and of their own policies, as somebody else's fault--as a conspiracy to deny them an America of exclusionism and religious orthodoxy and prejudice."
Pfotenhauer was called out for her recent statement that insinuated that northern Virginia wasn't the "real Virginia," compounding a joke from Senator McCain's brother Joe that the DC suburbs were "communist country". It's boiled down to the "us and them; the pro and the anti," Olbermann said. "Never mind, madam, that the bisecting of this country that you happily inspire means taking a tiny crack in a dam and not repairing it, but burrowing into it.
"It is not enough that Senator McCain and Senator Obama might differ--one must be real, and the other false. One must be pro-America and the other anti. Go back, and as your boss Rick Davis said today, 'rethink' Mr. McCain's insistence not to drag the sorry bones of Jeremiah Wright into this campaign. And, whatever you do, Ms. Pfotenhauer, allow no one enough time to think about the widening crack in the dam."
Radio talk host Rush Limbaugh recently insinuated on his radio show that General Colin Powell's endorsement of Senator Obama was based on race. "I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed," Limbaugh said. "I'll let you know what I come up with."
"It is not conceivable that Powell might reject McCain for the politics of hate and character assassination or just for policy," Olbermann said. "In the closed, sweaty world of the blind allegiances of Limbaugh, one of us who endorses one of them must be doing so for some other blind allegiance, like the color of skin."
Senator McCain hasn't caused these people to speak as they have, he continued, but at the same time hasn't done much to counter it. "I disagree with you on virtually every point of policy and practice," he charged, "and yet I do not think you anti-America. I would not hesitate to join you in a time of crisis in defense of this country."
But it is the responsibility of a man who uses the phrases "Country First" and "reach across the aisle," Olbermann closed, to rein in supporters who are labeling people like Colin Powell as part of the "unreal America" when Powell may indeed have put "country first" by "reaching across the aisle" to openly back his choice for president.
This video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast October 20, 2008.
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