The early part of October 2008 in the United States has been marked by the ugliest campaigning in decades. Just ask Cindy McCain. Mrs. McCain claimed that Senator Barack Obama's campaign was the "dirtiest campaign in American history" (The Tennessean via Huffingtonpost.com). [Ed. Note: Apparently Mrs. McCain was so corked on oxycotin in 2000 that she does not remember Bush2's South Carolina primary campaign against her husband, during which Bush2's camp claimed that Mrs. McCain was a drug addict and that their adopted Bangladeshi daughter was McCain's bi-racial illegitimate daughter. Either that or she thinks, you know, attacking a spouse and race-baiting is cool. Waaait a minute....]
Mrs. McCain did not mention how McCain and Palin supporters have recently taken to calling Senator Obama a "terrorist" at their rallies and even suggesting that someone should "kill him [Obama, not himself, alas]." In the days after her comment, videos of queues outside McCain and Palin rallies have captured that American tolerance that makes this country great.
McCain, however, is now feeling the backlash for the hate-mongering, as some in the media are comparing these tactics to "fascism" (Huffingtonpost.com but with sources in article). In response to this backlash, McCain now finds himself trying to defuse the hate in his crowds; on October 10th, McCain told his supporters to be "respectful" of Obama, that Obama is "decent," to a chorus of boos. [Ed. Note: At the Obama rallies I have attended, the crowd has always cheered when Obama praises McCain's military service to the country, but today, October 11th, apparently the crowd on hand in Philadelphia began booing Obama's gracious talk about McCain. Of course, no one in PA is bitter.]
Afraid that McCain was going to effectively throw in the towel now that, according to some polls, Obama has opened up a double-digit lead on McCain despite McCain's economic rescue plan that he worked out on some abacus or bought on eBay or something.
All the above is to get to this point, the crown jewel in unintended double entendre or accidental allusion or whatever: At a McCain townhall in MN, "One woman who said she had a lot of undecided neighbors said she wanted McCain to 'go to the mattresses' on in his third and final debate with Obama on Wednesday" (CNN.com). Now, my friend Brock would need go no further in his parsing than the obvious mis-quote of "go to the mat." If Brock were so inclinced, he might find a potential Freudian moment in that inaccurate quotation (or, perhaps, an unintended reference to a senior-citizen's bed time?).
However, while this Minnesotan (statistically speaking, she's probably a hockey mom but as for her being able to field-dress a moose, well, the numbers are fuzzy) mangled one cliche (coming into common usage around 1900, according the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms), she (most likely) inadvertently quoted the 1972 Academy Award-winning film The Godfather.
Sonny: No, no, no! No more! Not this time, consigliere. No more meetin's, no more discussions, no more Sollozzo tricks. You give 'em one message: I want Sollozzo. If not, it's all-out war; we go to the mattresses.
Apparently, Sonny's reference is to the 16th century practice of Italian nobility heading for safe haven in the country when violence broke out at home. In The Godfather, Sonny implies the same strategy if it's "all out war." In short, in asking McCain to stand firm, she suggested that he head for the hills. So be it. As Tom Hagen tells Sonny, "Some of the other families won't sit still for an all out war."