A look at the clip above should tell you where McCain’s at.

Gayle Quinnell, 75, of Shakopee, approached McCain near the end of his hour long give and take with the crowd and told him she didn’t trust his opponent Barack Obama because “he’s an Arab.”

McCain shook his head and, taking the microphone from her, said “no, ma’am. He’s a decent family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.”

After the town hall meeting, Quinnell elaborated on her position in talking to reporters.

“I don’t trust Barack Obama because he’s an Arab,” she said. “He’s a Muslim. I’m afraid if he ever got to be president what would happen to this country.”

Think about that folks — so Arabs aren’t good, decent, family-oriented people? Note that McCain didn’t correct her by clarifying that Obama was born in the U.S., is an American citizen and is Christian. Now that, “My Friends”, is what racism looks like. The depth of ignorant hatred is high here – Obama’s Kenyan father was not even Arab! Meanwhile, the woman asking the question was palpably confused. “No?” She asks McCain.Here she was, buying the line that Obama is a terrorist and now she’s getting mixed messages.  It’s hard to calm down a lynch mob once you’ve whipped up wild-eyed irrational fury. Gayle walked away from her close encounter with McCain still convinced that Obama is a A-rab terrorist bent on destroying her America.

John Lewis was right to draw parallels between George Wallace and John McCain in terms of a willingness to arouse fear and hatred for political gain. Here’s what Rep. Lewis said:

“What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse,” Lewis said in a statement.

George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights.

McCain can push back all he likes, yet he went out on a limb to stump for George Wallace Jr in Alabama (a state far from Arizona) at pricey $250-1000 a head events. McCain did this even AFTER Wallace was pilloried for his many speeches to the Council of Conservative Citizens, a group that has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The CCC wants to use military force against immigration and is opposed to “race-mixing.” You can imagine how afraid the CCC are of Barack Obama. Wallace later lost in the primaries to Luther Strange, a more moderate Republican who sits on the board of Talladega College, one of Alabama’s oldest historically black colleges.

Around the same time, McCain went out of his way to recommend Trent Lott’s return to GOP party leadership. Trent Lott was pushed aside after saying this:

“I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.”

John McCain has a very bad record on race which I’ve written about before. He seems to be more willing to apologize for taking the wrong opinion than to take the right position on race in the first place. Now he’s even trying to play the POW card to defend himself against charges of racist hate-mongering. I’ve heard a lot about McCain’s refusal to use the Rev. Wright (Obama’s former pastor) controversy against Obama for fear of appearing racist. It’s promoted like John McCain is a great guy. I don’t buy it. McCain is timid to use this because his pastors and bigoted evangelical supporters like Rev. John Hagee have said some even crazier things and he doesn’t want to go there. Smart move. We’ll be ready if McCain changes his mind out of desperation.

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