My friends and fellow prisoners, time for some straight talk: Politico has a good story today about Republican rage at the notion of an Obama presidency. It cites McCain-Palin supporters raging at Obama as a "terrorist," a "damn liar," and a generally wretched and possibly illegitimate figure.
This is all nasty stuff. But is it really unprecedented? A pitchfork rebellion of alarming proportions? I'm not so sure. Around this time four years ago Democrats raged furiously against an illegitimate, lying "war criminal." Indeed some even called Bush a terrorist.
Yes, there's probably a nativist strain here that makes this uglier than anything we saw in '04. And anything resembling a threat, or a racial slur, belongs in a special category of contempt. But I haven't seen many examples of overt racism beyond the smears we've seen for months. (Indeed as Noam notes below, race has been somewhat surprisingly absent from ths campaign so far.)
Unfortunately, to some degree this seems to be what happens in American politics nowadays when one side is losing. No one wants to accept the possibility that they've been outplayed fair and square.