With  anger coursing through rallies for McCain/Palin with increasing intensity, cries of “terrorist” and “kill him” were heard last week from crowds responding to the negative campaigning of the GOP ticket. Veteran of the Civil Rights movement, Congressman John Lewis from Georgia charged McCain with “sowing the seeds of hatred and division,” invoking an earlier era of invective which turned to violence. Was Lewis on target or overstating?

In this context of economic crisis and anxiety, while McCain calls Obama dangerous and Palin suggests an anti-American Obama cavorts with terrorists, is the frustration and anger at the base something for us to really fear? What are the potential consequences of what Newsweek commentator Jonathan Meachem derided as the “mindless populism” of Sarah Palin. While McCain might have tried to tame the rhetoric in the last few days, can you unring a bell which sounds the alarm to racist elements within the conservative base?

STEVE COBBLE, Former Political Director of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition and blogger and teacher BRIAN JONES discuss the tenuous populism upon which the McCain campaign rests. 

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Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders, author, and host of RadioNation on Air America Radio, has built a reputation for courageous investigative journalism coupled with compassion and a sense of humor. In writing her last book, Blue Grit, she traveled the country reporting on grassroots success stories and broadcast live to over 150 radio stations from community centers in places including Helena, Salt Lake City, New Orleans, Miami, Las Vegas, and Milwaukee. In her television appearances (Lou Dobbs, Larry King Live,) on radio and in her many books (including Bushwomen: Tales of a Cynical Species) and articles (The Nation and others,) Flanders calls for a new politics of fairness, equality and citizen action. Articulating the human dimension of American communities in trouble, her programs have become destinations for those seeking the skills and the will to make a difference. Flanders is a regular contributor to the Nation Magazine and CNN. Before joining Air America, where she was part of the original lineup, and hosted “The Laura Flanders Show” for three years, Flanders was the founding host of the award-winning “Your Call” weekday mornings on public radio, KALW in the Bay Area and CounterSpin, the radio show of the mediawatch group, FAIR.