The Obama campaign was provided with reports from the Secret Service showing a sharp and disturbing increase in threats to Obama in September and early October, at the same time that many crowds at Palin rallies became more frenzied. Michelle Obama was shaken by the vituperative crowds and the hot rhetoric from the GOP candidates. "Why would they try to make people hate us?" Michelle asked a top campaign aide.It's the Secret Service's job to deal with Presidential protection, so if they're calling something "sharp and disturbing" (and it's not clear they are, that might be the reporter's voice) then the GOP need to clean out the Augean stables that are their base.
But as for Mrs. Obama's question: because they knew that even if the worst happened, they'd never face any serious penalty for doing so. McCain is a close personal friend of G. Gordon Liddy, so he knows what the rules are: GOP thuggery is never, ever punished.
Did you notice the contrast during their speeches on election night? When Barack Obama was mentioned by John McCain, the crowed howled (and don't think there weren't some ugly things said beyond the range of the mics). When Obama mentioned McCain, the crowed cheered.
Yes, it's easy to be magnanimous in victory, but McCain's late efforts to calm his supporters are too little and too late. Something awful was unleashed in this election, and it's unknown whether or not it can possibly be contained.
In case you hadn't noticed, there are certain things for which I'm not ready to kiss and make up.
Speaking of reconciliation, we know for a mathematical certainty that the GOP will spend the next 4 years complaining about liberal bias in the media. But consider that the worst thing the media did to John McCain this cycle wasn't calling him a liar, wasn't daring to interview his VP with actual questions, and wasn't even those snap polls that prevented GOP spinmeisters from calling the debates in his favour.
No, the worst thing the media did for John McCain was convince him, apparently, that a large number of female voters could be bought by naming a female VP. Chet does the math, and if anything I think it overstates the strength of the so-called PUMAs.
Between chasing the mythical PUMA and the Pennsylvania gambit, I think we can see that the United States avoided serious turmoil for the next 4 years by choosing not to elect John McCain as President. If nothing else, those two example of his leadership style show him to be reckless, uninformed, and unwise. (Especially that last one.)