VIDEO Abuse of Power, Anger and Abortion Politics: Extremism Exposed

A McCain supporter at a Friday rally said he was "scared of an Obama presidency," linking Obama "hanging around with Ayers" to "who he will choose for the Supreme Court." Two lies, about Ayers and about the Supreme Court, fueled by a Culture of Lies now fomenting rage.

McCain replied to the man saying Obama is "a good and decent person and you do not have to be scared of him being President of the United States." 

On Saturday Gov. Sarah Palin was proving that the huge crowds are mostly interested in extreme right-wing abortion politics by tossing the crowds some red meat, and more lies about abortion. Palin said a vote for Obama is "a vote for activist courts that will continue to smother the open and democratic debate that we deserve and that we need on this issue of life." She also misstated Obama’s statements and positions on a range of abortion issues, and appealed to people to "help us to bring this country together in the rational discussion of compassion and life.”

Rational discussions don’t usually begin with the shame, stigma, judgment, violence and lies that are the hallmark of extremists in the anti-choice movement. These are the lies that, because they connect to a core belief for so many, allow all the other lies to to take root and drive the anger and rage we now see on display.


McCain once welcomed the enthusiastic crowds to his lackluster campaign, a result of his selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as running mate. Palin swept the far-right,
anti-choice, extremists off their feet, creating a political phenomenon — the Palinistas. She even seduced a few independents for a week or two, with her coy and carefully crafted banter.

What a difference a month makes. Rabid crowds now demand blood, and a bi-partisan report from Alaska confirms Palin is guilty of an "abuse of power." We should all pray for calm given that angry mobs amped up on lies, in the midst of global economic crisis, led by people comfortable abusing power, make for a volatile mix.

After only a few interviews with journalists Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric, America has learned how woefully uninformed and unqualified Palin is, sending her poll numbers in a decline as steep as Wall Street, and explaining why Palin is a shero to the crowds of rabidly uninformed people "scared" about the Supreme Court. They are scared about the Supreme Court because of lies they have been told by the anti-choice extremists about sexual and reproductive health for a generation. They are scared because of lies about abstinence-only actually working, lies about what comprehensive sex ed is, lies about gay people, lies about condoms and contraception, lies about why women choose abortion, lies about abortion causing breast cancer, lies about "post-abortion syndrome," lies about late-term abortions, and lies about infanticide. All of these and more far-right myths are based on lies that motivate the same extremism and rage we see on display by the Palinistas now.

If you get people to believe lies about the most fundamental aspects of human nature, it is easier to get them to believe lies about political associations.

They have created a Culture of Lies designed to take over the Supreme Court and impose their narrow and extreme ideologies on every American, and their rage is growing as they for the first time realize that most Americans do not agree with their narrow values, that the Supreme Court is slipping from their grasp.

They believed the lies, and like an economy built on lies, political ideology built on lies is now tumbling before our eyes.

These lies show up in email forwards, videos, TV ads, and on talk radio and Faux News long before people start parroting them back to candidates at rallies. Seeing the lies come full circle, forcing McCain to address them, is rare indeed.

We now know that this Culture of Lies leads to "abuses of power" by Palin just as it did with ethically challenged, abstinence-only lobbyists and profiteers who now use money they made from the taxpayers to tell more lies about abortion. It’s nothing new, this fundamental lack of
respect and civility is what too many women face every day, what too many
gay people have been beaten and died for, what too many people of
color have bled and starved for.  This Culture of Lies turned neighbor against neighbor,
caused parents to turn their backs on gay children, delayed smart
public health strategies based on medical science in the fight against HIV/AIDS — and continues to do so 27 years into the pandemic — all these lies in the name of "traditional family values." All these lies in the name of Jesus Christ.

Forgive them.

Conservative, Catholic, Republican, pro-life, legal scholars are distancing themselves from these extremists, calling for a change in the dialog around sexual and reproductive health, a hopeful sign. Other conservative writers are distancing themselves from Palin herself, while some are trying to say its not her, its the economy, that has caused the reversal in the polls, that she would still be a star if it weren’t for the economy. More lies. Dangerous lies. Economic crisis is no time to foment anger and resentment based on ideology. Palin should accept personal responsibility for her abuse of power and McCain should accept personal responsibility for his lapse in judgment selecting her — those bad decisions should not be compounded with myths and lies that their decline in the polls is only about the economy.

It will take a while for people to work their way back from the lies, and important for us all to distinguish between those who are genuinely pro-life, as an article of personal faith, and others who are anti-choice as a means to pursue partisan power and control over the decisions and lives of others. 

McCain is being publicly humiliated by these "agents of intolerance," again. The first time was when he was the target of their lies and rage in 2000.

Humiliation is what these people do, it is who they are. They attempt to humiliate women at
clinics. They "abuse power" at the Department
of Health and Human Services using ideological lies and pseudo-science
to justify making contraception inaccessible, if not illegal. These same extremists who have been directly responsible for bombings at
clinics and murdering physicians, bashing gays and stoking racism, and are now so out of control that their own presidential candidate has to try to contain their rage; to prevent rallies from becoming riots.

I once wrote that the way McCain could exact his revenge on these "agents of intolerance" was to select a pro-choice running mate, as he wanted to do, with either Sen. Joe Lieberman or Gov. Tom Ridge, appealing to centrists that overwhelmingly support a pro-education, pro-prevention, pro-choice agenda.

Boy was I wrong. 

The way McCain appears to be destroying the far-right, extremist, anti-choice movement, is by selecting one of their own, making her famous. We know her name. We see the crowds she hangs out with, and how she governs. Palin is an anti-choice shero, the personification of all their aspirations of power, their political manipulations, their Culture of Lies.

Maybe McCain has found his last ounce of maverick, and perhaps because of his long distinguished service to this country, his last act of patriotism for the country he loves is exposing extremist elements and making Americans more aware of how this Culture of Lies has taken root.

We’ll see if that John McCain shows up consistently in the final weeks of the campaign.

The "scared" Supreme Court question begins at 5:05.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

For more information or to schedule an interview with contact

  • invalid-0

    Have you heard of Pandeism? Pandeism is a religious position that combines the keys of Pantheism (God is everything) and Deism (God created the Cosmos and ceased to interact with it). The conclusion of Pandeism is that God created the Cosmos by becoming it, and does not interact with it because God has become it and is existing as everything.

    If God is everything, as Pandeists believe, then every abortion is an abortion of God. This does not in itself make abortion a bad thing as every slaying of an animal for food is equally a slaying of God, even when one animal (a wolf perhaps) kills another. The moral element in Pandeism is the amount of suffering caused or prevented by the act. The abortion of a seriously deformed child would likely prevent more suffering than it causes and refusing to do so would be immoral as an overall infliction of suffering against our creator. The abortion of a fetus that can not feel pain (or only feels a pinch and then life is at an end) may be no more significant than stubbing ones toe or spanking a misbehaved child or getting a B instead of an A on a test. But having an abortion for wholly selfish reasons in a way that inflicts unnecessary pain on the child – in the pandeistic world, therein lies the wrong.

  • invalid-0

    anti-choice extremism, “abuse of power”, Culture of Lies, rabid anti-choicers,

    These words do nothing but mislead and inflame. The author appears to be prmoting hate.

    After reading that hate filled article why side would i chose.

  • truth

    McCain didn’t allow people in the crowd to get away with hating Obama – even though they do and probably have every right to be scared. We should all be scared of the World Government that Obama will lead us in to. I will be prepared when the U.N. Soldiers arrive at my door because of my belief that murdering innocent children is wrong.

  • invalid-0

    three whackjob responses and not a one that actually is acknowledging the hate and fear that the McCain campaign is spewing forth and encouraging. In fact one even blames YOU for bringing up the truth that’s staring people in the face.

    When you have lifelong republicans endorsing Barack Obama then you know that something is deeply wrong with the republican party no matter how many talking heads try and spin it otherwise.

  • invalid-0

    I am extremely concerned with the turn that the McCain Campaign has taken from “promising a respectful and honorable campaign” to one of violent escalation of rhetoric, such as Obama “launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist.” When supporters at the rallies scream “kill him,” “treason” and “terrorist,” we should be concerned and take these threats seriously. Hate rhetoric does foment violence. We have seen proof of this in the Right to Life movement with the bombing of abortion clinics and the murders of doctors who perform abortions. These supporters may be fringe elements, but these threats should not be taken lightly. Governor Palin’s continuing mantra of “Obama pals around with terrorists” is extremely provocative, and McCain has done nothing to stop these diatribes. His campaign continues to air the “Ayers” commercials despite the fact that members of his own party have decried these attacks. Recently, the entire premise of the McCain campaign has been one of division rather than based on the issues. We have had eight years of bitter divisiveness; we cannot afford four more.