Via Crooks & Liars, yet another example of the bigots drawn to McCain/Palin. In Johnstown, PA, a man decided it was a great idea to hold up a stuffed monkey doll with an Obama sticker plastered on it.

As the crowd cheered at a Sarah Palin rally this morning in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a man in the audience grinned as he held up a stuffed monkey doll with a Barack Obama bumper sticker wrapped across its forehead.

…After Palin finished her remarks this morning, the man holding the stuffed monkey seemed to notice that a video camera was pointed at him, at which point he removed the Obama sticker from the doll’s head and crumpling it up in his hand. He then handed the doll to a young boy who was watching the rally from his father’s shoulders. The boy’s parents later told CBS News that they weren’t acquainted with the man who gave their son the stuffed monkey.

These are members of the base of the GOP, and it’s clear that their emergence into the public sphere as barely-tethered-to-reality yahoos has angered the McCain campaign and Republican officials, who are looking for someone else to blame for the mess.

Republicans said he had been damaged by several rallies last week in which supporters shouted insults and threats about Mr. Obama, prompting Mr. McCain on Friday night to chide audience members. His aides suggested that they were trying to find a balance between attacking Mr. Obama and painting him as untested and risky without stirring unruly crowd reactions.

Emotions are raw in the campaign, where Mr. McCain’s top advisers have voiced frustration at what they said was an unfair focus by the news media on the rowdy crowds.

“I think there have been quite a few reporters recently,” said Mr. McCain’s closest adviser, Mark Salter, “who have sort of implied, or made more than implications, that somehow we’re responsible for the occasional nut who shows up and yells something about Barack Obama.”

Huh? These crazies of The Base are seeking out media attention for god’s sake. They are unafraid, having been stoked by the selection of Bible Spice and her inflammatory rhetoric. Now the GOP elite are getting queasy that the crazy grannies in the attic are on the loose, and scaring the country club Republicans over to the Obama camp.  In fact, there was a high-profile defection — the late William F. Buckley’s son Christopher, “Sorry, Dad, I’m Voting for Obama.” Read a snippet of what he wrote below the fold.  

John McCain has changed. He said, famously, apropos the Republican debacle post-1994, “We came to Washington to change it, and Washington changed us.” This campaign has changed John McCain. It has made him inauthentic. A once-first class temperament has become irascible and snarly; his positions change, and lack coherence; he makes unrealistic promises, such as balancing the federal budget “by the end of my first term.” Who, really, believes that? Then there was the self-dramatizing and feckless suspension of his campaign over the financial crisis. His ninth-inning attack ads are mean-spirited and pointless. And finally, not to belabor it, there was the Palin nomination. What on earth can he have been thinking?

All this is genuinely saddening, and for the country is perhaps even tragic, for America ought, really, to be governed by men like John McCain-who have spent their entire lives in its service, even willing to give the last full measure of their devotion to it. If he goes out losing ugly, it will be beyond tragic, graffiti on a marble bust.

As for Senator Obama: He has exhibited throughout a “first-class temperament,” pace Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.’s famous comment about FDR. As for his intellect, well, he’s a Harvard man, though that’s sure as heck no guarantee of anything, these days. Vietnam was brought to you by Harvard and (one or two) Yale men. As for our current adventure in Mesopotamia, consider this lustrous alumni roster. Bush 43: Yale. Rumsfeld: Princeton. Paul Bremer: Yale and Harvard. What do they all have in common? Andover! The best and the brightest.

There is a clear class war in the party. I wonder which faction will end up on top; it’s obvious that after the election there is going to be a serious battle to reshape it. Will Daddy D stay on his throne?

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding