GOING FOR BROKE…. Sarah Palin has been an embarrassment to herself and her party since joining the Republican ticket in late August, so it stands to reason that she’d want to end the campaign season with her most disgraceful rhetoric to date.

After blasting the notion that some Democrats want to cut the defense budget, Palin told a Missouri audience this morning:

“What do they think? Do they think that the terrorists have all of a sudden become the good guys, and changed their minds? No! The terrorists still seek to destroy America and her allies and all that it is that is that we stand for: Freedom, tolerance, equality.”

First of all, McCain has bragged repeatedly about his intention to cut funding to the Pentagon. (I’m still looking forward to her condemnation of her running mate.) Second of all, to even suggest that Democrats think terrorists are “good guys” is sickening. It seems Palin hit the bottom of the barrel, and then dug a hole so as to sink a little lower. She added:

“John served our nation in uniform for twenty two years. He spent five and a half years as a POW. He has met great adversity in his life and in the service to this country. He knows how tough challenges are overcome, he will not wave the white flag of surrender to the terrorists, he will not — as our opponent did — he will not support cutting off funding for our troops over in the war zone.”

In reality, McCain did support “cutting off funding for our troops over in the war zone.” (Again, we await Palin’s condemnation of McCain.) For that matter, playing the P.O.W. card this blatantly, this shamelessly, reflects a striking desperation.

Greg Sargent concluded, “Palin’s final appeal on the eve of almost certain defeat puts it right out in the open: It’s war hero versus ally of terrorists who want to destroy America and kill your children.”

The entire Republican campaign is built entirely on hate, fear, and ignorance. If there’s ever been a more offensive campaign for national office, it doesn’t come to mind.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.