The Republican campaign in the American presidential election may go down in history as the sleaziest one ever fought.
They have to take some, though not all, of the responsibility for the ridiculous idea that seems to be abroad aqbout Obama's true religion, since they made such an effort to conjoin their opponent's name with terrorism in the public imagination.
I saw one woman at a McCain rally the other day say that Obama was really a Muslim. That he was just pretending to be a Christian until he got into the White House. At which point, presumably, he plans for there to be a great Ta-Da! moment when he rips off his suit to reveal a chest strapped heavily with explosives (maybe when he does his first speech from the Oval Office, eh?)
Of course, to a sensible person being Muslim signifies no more of a connection with terrorism than being Christian, or Buddhist. But to the uneducated, prejudiced, angry white swine who vote Republican in America or Conservative in the UK it does.
By tying the name of an opponent with a Muslim heritage to the boogeyman of terrorism (albeit homeland terrorism), they--or whichever multinational business executive directs their policies--were trying to spook voters with the spectre of September the 11th. And with some of their supporters,who are dumber than ten mules in a pea soup fog anyway, it has worked.
It is a dangerous tactic, one guaranteed to unleash even more anti-Muslim feeling in America than there may already be, and poison impressionable minds on both sides for a generation.
Thankfully McCain and Palin have changed their tactic somewhat in recent days, realising that most people were onto them and looked on what they were doing with distaste. Now they are trying to conjoin Obama's name with Socialism, which is equally absurd given how conservative Obama is, but much less damaging. Socialists are used to being maligned and beaten over the head with sticks.
But at least these days most people wouldn't kill them.