Here's what struck the most over the last few days - the absolute rabid and insane attitude which surrounds and typifies recent McCain/Palin rallies.
I know that getting crowd wound up, loud, and excited are all purposely intended results of these rallies. That's why they're called 'rallies.' What worries me is the fact that recent McCain/Palin rallies are going too far. Not in terms of what is being said by McCain (I'll deal with Palin in a minute), but rather in terms of the audience. The constant booing and people shouting "Off with his head!" in reference to Sen. Obama is just scary.
And I suspect, without anything in the way of proof beyond my own observations, that part of the reason Palin was picked as McCain's running mate was because she has a knack for getting people wound up and excited. It's a definite bonus that she can whip a crowd into a frenzy and then almost shrug it off with a quick smile and wink, almost as if she's saying "Just kidding, folks!" But the crowd reacts by getting even more wild and seems to take that wink as permission to do so. This allows the GOP officials to generate a wildly negative response to Sen. Obama that they want without doing it themselves. It plays up on the whole idea that it's what the 'public' thinks and, therefore, these officials can claim they are simply "listening to public opinion."
This is not to say that the McCain campaign is giving carte blanche at rallies. They have officially denounced the use of Sen. Obama's middle name, Hussein, saying that it is inappropriate. I have noticed, however, that this has not stopped high level McCain supporters and rally speakers from doing it anyway. The cynical side of me (that's pretty much every part of me except maybe my left elbow, by the way) wonders if there is a little bit of "Okay, don't do this anymore" *wink wink nudge nudge* going on, but again I can't prove anything.