Remember February? It will go down as the time in this campaign when John McCain had some modicum of dignity and respect. October will be known as the time in this campaign when the soul of John McCain died. In February he said:

“It’s my understanding that before I came in here a person who was on the program before I spoke made some disparaging remarks about my two colleagues in the Senate, Senator Obama and Senator Clinton,” he said. “I have repeatedly stated my respect for Senator Obama and Senator Clinton, that I will treat them with respect. I will call them ‘Senator.’ We will have a respectful debate, as I have said on hundreds of occasions. I regret any comments that may have been made about these two individuals who are honorable Americans.”

Wingnut talker Bill Cunningham had just repeatedly used Barack’s middle name Hussein as a slur that whipped the rabid GOP crowd into a frenzy. John McCain quickly and forcefully repudiated this action. He did so just after Bill spoke.

Today he stood and watched while someone yelled TERRORIST when he had rhetorically asked who the real Barack Obama was:

In this clip you can see a microcosm of what this campaign has become for John McCain. His original self, the John McCain of 2000 and you could argue even the John McCain of some months ago would be horrified by such a comment being yelled out. That is his initial – and natural – reaction. He was horrified. This quickly gives way to apology and indifference to rightwing conservative bloodlust. They had, afterall, struck a deal. The transformation of John McCain “Maverick” into John McCain “Right Wing Partisan” is thus complete. The soul of the maverick is dead. What could cause such a turn of events? Ambition. Powerfully singular and blind ambition.

The desire for any kind of respectful debate on the issues was jettisoned along the campaign trail like so many of his past airplanes about to crash. This one is going down in flames as well. McCain will once again be a POW. This time, he’ll be a prisoner in his own cell of inadequacy and inability to live up to the expectations of his much vaunted father and grandfather – both admirals in the Navy. It was something John could never obtain given his track record in the military. His ambition to be President was his last grasp at family redemption. His last best hope to live up to the McCain name.

The plane is on fire and it is in a flat tailspin.

Any dignity and respect that John McCain had in this campaign has been all but used up in this October campaign period like oil from an offshore “drill, baby, drill” rig. The disgusting level to which the McCain camp has sunk in a desperate attempt to stem the tide that is rising against their bid for a date with McCain family ambition and continuation of disastrous George W. Bush policies is simply breathtaking.

The entire thing has left me with this sick feeling all day. Right in the pit of the gut. It’s a combination of sadness and anger. Sadness for segments of our society who would shout “terrorist” about another candidate for President of the United States of America and anger for those who would so bastardize their right to free speech that they’d literally shout for the execution of another human being. All of which happens at a Republican campaign event without the slightest hint of repudiation. Not one word. The show, of course, had to go on.

You know that moment right before you get in a fight? THAT feeling. When the pit of your stomach goes numb with nerves and your head goes numb with anger. When you struggle between the desire to not fight and the inevitability of it. When you know what you have to do, but hate doing it just the same. That’s how I’ve been feeling today. It’s a pretty bad feeling, but it was always going to come to this. Put me down on the ready and willing side. If it’s fight we must, then consider me taping wrists.

The Republican Party has been unmasked today for what it truly is. It’s as if the nice young man dressed in conservative coat and tie splits open from the face and out rises an unrecognizable mass of flesh and teeth gnashing at America for daring to run astray from a conservative fueled agenda of fear, intolerance, and hate.

Sarah Palin’s invocation of terrorist as a rhetorical scare tactic was the opening salvo and the beginning of the end of the McCain/Palin candidacy. She pulled back the skin to show the ugly face that is modern day conservatism and Republican Party. In this, she does us a great service. If she were playing poker, she’d have just pushed all her chips in without a pair. It’s up to us to trust our reads and call the all-in bet. Most all-in bets are from a position of weakness anyway at this stage of a tournament. Especially the “short stacks“.

I call.

Her actions signaled to the faithful that the time was now to let the inner ugly come out to play. Did it ever. What Bill Cunningham did in February was done again today by a uniformed Sheriff in Florida:

I’m willing to bet you bourbon to matchsticks John McCain is not going to repudiate such speech in October. The die is already cast on that score. He’s going the Full Monty on this one and he’s going to lose in spectacular fashion.

John McCain doesn’t go down with honor and dignity, he goes down in flames to the thunderous applause of those who would so bastardize his blind ambition to be President that he’ll wish he never had it to begin with.

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