Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Not a "basketball mom."
October 29, 2008 9:11 AM   Subscribe

Sarah Palin's "folksy" approach has been examined and dissected by the "main stream media." But Anil Dash cuts to the core of what Sarah Palin is saying.
posted by jdfan (184 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is this about her white background?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:18 AM on October 29, 2008 [23 favorites]


For crying out loud in the rain within sight of Russia while driving my kids to hockey practice WHILE hunting wolves from a helicopter; we need more Palin threads like Palin needs to incorporate more folksy expressions into her speeches, dontcha know?
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 9:18 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


The faveicon for his site is his head.
posted by smackfu at 9:19 AM on October 29, 2008 [9 favorites]


She's not that smart, Anil.







(Wow, Palin really is Chauncey Gardener)
posted by Zambrano at 9:22 AM on October 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


But ["palling around" is] not imprecise to [the] intended audience. They are, in fact, clearer than using legalistic terms like "consorting". They amplify the urgency of the statements, and increase the sense for Palin's audience that they're on the same page with her, speaking a language too "plain", too full of "straight talk", for the press to understand.

This was a good article, but I think he misses a nuance. The connection to terrorists being otherness, yes. "Palling around" as a "straight talk" intensifier, yes. But also has an insinuation of playing with fire or fiddling while Rome burns. "There's Obama, knocking back drinks with the people who want to KILL YOUR CHILDREN"
posted by DU at 9:25 AM on October 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Anil's analysis is very thought-provoking. Thank you for this. Another master of "code-switching" is Karl Rove. I had a revelation watching a video of his speech at the GOP convention in Minnesota last June, when he claimed that he's just "a simple guy from Texas" visiting a place where they have "complicated universities." Right -- not simple-minded universities like Yale. Rove's delivery was very simlilar to Bush's, who dismisses concerns of the most dire nature by calling them "serious matters" and then proceeding with his distastrous plans or non-plans. It's part of the sweeping appeal to anti-intellectualism that the GOP has been making for years, embodied in the package of Sarah Palin.
posted by digaman at 9:26 AM on October 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Digaman, contrary to Rove's assertion, Texas is full of complicated universities :)
posted by jdfan at 9:28 AM on October 29, 2008


Indeed.
posted by digaman at 9:29 AM on October 29, 2008


This video from the comments of the last link is worth watching.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:31 AM on October 29, 2008


Crap. This video.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:32 AM on October 29, 2008 [14 favorites]


This is a very interesting piece - but doesn't it seem to imply that most journalists don't understand how code-switching works, or didn't grow up in an AAVE or North Central environment?

After all, using his article, Oprah would probably notice any accusations of terrorism in Standard American English and AAVE. There will be other reporters where the same is true for other dialects.

Or is he really positing that journalists are so hoity-toity that they'll ignore a dialect of English that they grew up with?
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:34 AM on October 29, 2008


Holy crap that video indeed.
posted by rokusan at 9:35 AM on October 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


Anil's article is great. Like Zambrano, I'm not convinced she's smart enough to be doing this deliberately, but I don't think it matters -- the end result is the same whether or not she's thinking about it beforehand.

Isn't "code switching" instinctive? I've noticed that I choose different words talking to different audiences, but it's not something I set out to do, just something I notice during or after the fact.
posted by Badmichelle at 9:36 AM on October 29, 2008


...is he really positing that journalists are so hoity-toity that they'll ignore a dialect of English...

It isn't whether they recognize or acknowledge the code-switching. It's that they have to write their story in Standard American. Obviously you can translate from Straight Talk to English (Anil just did it) but you have to insert actual words that never came from Palin's lips. Which is deniable--the exact point he's making.
posted by DU at 9:36 AM on October 29, 2008 [7 favorites]


The Obama campaign is finally going after her a little bit.
posted by ND¢ at 9:36 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sarah Palin's conduct has gone far past the bounds of decency, and far past even the most dangerous efforts of any previous candidate for such high office. This is an inexcusable, unforgivable, and unacceptable transgression and my belief is that she should be removed from consideration for the office of Vice President for her dangerous, unethical and unamerican display of irresponsibility.
Don't worry - she will be, in a little less than a week.
posted by Flunkie at 9:37 AM on October 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


In all fairness, it wasn't that long ago when the far right was accusing McCain of being a manchurian candidate and blowing up the USS Forrestal*. So if by code switching you mean paranoid delusionals, yes, I think they are code switching.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:37 AM on October 29, 2008


Typically Anil Dash. Brilliant.

In light of the attempted assassination a couple of days ago, the prophesying assassination hysteria going on for months, the possibility Obama may well become the next President, I think Anil Dash's points are insightful and significant.

Not only in relation to Obama, but the Rovian, pro-war agenda that has been in place since 9/11, "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.", a really dangerous, inflammatory, scapegoating, silencing to any differences mindset, that could be summed up as, If you disagree with me, you are The Enemy, eligible to be perceived as a traitor, treated as a social threat and shot/tortured/incarcerated/have your civil rights taken away.

This is a time when examining language and subtexts is more important than ever and I'm glad to have read this post. Thanks.
posted by nickyskye at 9:40 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


(That video is great, but I had to turn it off when Bachman came on. Her zombie eyes and homunculus smile make my head explode.)
posted by DU at 9:40 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


From the article: Through these arguments, it becomes clear that Sarah Palin's assertions are designed not to prove that Obama is unqualified for the office of the Presidency of the United States. Rather, she appears to be attempting to convince a substantial portion of her supporters that Obama supports terrorism against the United States and thus should be, at the very least, incarcerated as an enemy combatant (which we are doing to American citizens already) or at worst, assassinated for supporting terror.

I'm a big fan of propaganda, but this is just pathetic. He's honestly claiming that Palin is subliminally telling her supporters to incarcerate or kill Obama. At what point did support for Obama require us to disable the critical thought center of our brains?
posted by jsonic at 9:44 AM on October 29, 2008 [5 favorites]


Very well stated. Thanks.
posted by docpops at 9:44 AM on October 29, 2008


Rather, she appears to be attempting to convince a substantial portion of her supporters that Obama supports terrorism against the United States and thus should be, at the very least, incarcerated as an enemy combatant (which we are doing to American citizens already) or at worst, assassinated for supporting terror.

Oh, come on. Anil Dash appears to be attempting to talk a bunch of garbage. Absolutely no one would kill Obama because Sarah Palin told them he's a terrorist. Someone would kill Obama because he is black, and they are racist.
posted by soma lkzx at 9:49 AM on October 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


Frankly, I am completely puzzled that both journalists and the Dems don't get it when it comes to this "code switching". George Lakoff's "Don't Think of an Elephant" goes into great detail about "framing the debate" and, in the aftermath of the 2004 campaign, I continue to wonder why the media ("main stream" or not) is completely befuddled by Palin's "straight talk."

Palin, the RNC, etc, are all children of Reagan's technique of speaking past the media. Announcing his candidacy in Philadelphia, MS, and speaking of "state's rights" baffled the media at the time. The media interpreted as returning power to the states and reducing the role of federal government. To southern whites, however, it had a different meaning. It's a "dog whistle", if you will.
posted by jdfan at 9:52 AM on October 29, 2008 [7 favorites]


He's honestly claiming that Palin is subliminally telling her supporters to incarcerate or kill Obama.

It's difficult to argue this convincingly because the language is so indirect. There is really only the circumstantial evidence of Palin's speeches and statements that have effected the wealth of racial and religious bigotry that we've seen in YouTube video clips of Palin/McCain supporters outside rallies.

And admittedly we've only seen that footage which the Palin/McCain event security detail has allowed to slip through, so it's just the tip of the iceberg, like the Nazi paraphernalia hidden under the blanket at a gun show table.

It's difficult to argue that Palin is instructing her supporters to kill Obama. It's much easier to argue that she is inciting her followers and fellow Christian fundamentalists to acts of violence, to be "prayer warriors" acting out the will of God. If Obama is hurt along the way, that's just God's justice.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:54 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Absolutely no one would kill Obama because Sarah Palin told them he's a terrorist.

No, he's saying that just the dumb people will think she's telling them to kill Obama.
Because they say things like "pallin' around" and "sixpack."
posted by chococat at 9:54 AM on October 29, 2008


Yawn. What a bunch of paranoid nonsense. Not that Palin doesn't suck, but the idea that Sarah is consciously 'code switching' to in order to send dog whistles is a bit ridiculous. The idea that what she somehow says is like 'cloaked' from reporters is even more absurd. People switch into vernacular all the time, and it's hardly some underhanded trick. And it isn't like the "MSM" would be incapable of catching it.
posted by delmoi at 9:55 AM on October 29, 2008 [7 favorites]


In light of the attempted assassination a couple of days ago

No, it wasn't. An attempted assassination is when someone points a gun at someone (and they may or may not pull the trigger in the process).

Two skinhead yokels who were talking about doing it and referring to 88 + 14 and had gotten as far as the liquor store, that's an assassination PLOT. And a flimsy one at best. But still, nowhere near an ATTEMPTED assassination.

McCain and Palin have been stirring the pot and encouraging this sort of crap, but it hasn't gotten as far as an attempt yet. If it does, you'd know it. Trust me.

Also, Obama has been code-switching throughout this campaign, but unlike Palin, he'll do it two or three times in the same speech. The "preacher cadence" at the end of the acceptance speech, for example.
posted by dw at 9:56 AM on October 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


Absolutely no one would kill Obama because Sarah Palin told them he's a terrorist. Someone would kill Obama because he is black, and they are racist.

Someone would kill Obama because he is black and they are racist and Sarah Palin, an authority figure, knowingly gave them a justification.
posted by DU at 9:58 AM on October 29, 2008 [18 favorites]


I might believe you, delmoi, if the GOP hadn't been using vernacular in precisely this way so successfully for eight years. Yes, "people" switch into vernacular all the time, but you're drawing a false comparison, because "people" are not intentionally manipulating language to create effects. (Obama does this too, of course -- as does every other politician.) So, thoughtful anaylses like this are only paranoid if you ignore a mountain of evidence.
posted by digaman at 9:59 AM on October 29, 2008


No one told James Kopp to kill Barnett Slepian in so many words.
posted by jdfan at 9:59 AM on October 29, 2008


I continue to wonder why the media ("main stream" or not) is completely befuddled by Palin's "straight talk."

There not befuddled or confused by it, they just don't care about it because reporting on it won't make their bosses. I'm surprised by how many liberals still think that the media cares about reporting on the truth.
posted by afu at 9:59 AM on October 29, 2008


Obama has been code-switching throughout this campaign, but unlike Palin, he'll do it two or three times in the same speech. The "preacher cadence" at the end of the acceptance speech, for example.

Exactly. It's just part of the skill-set of any competent politician. It's how it's employed that's worth looking at.
posted by digaman at 10:01 AM on October 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


jsonic If one genuinely believes that Obama supports terrorists, spends his off time enjoying their company (ie: "palling around"), etc then what response other than assassination or incarceration makes sense?

If telling people that Obama is a terrorist, or at least supports them, does not include an assumed "and someone really should do something about that", it doesn't make much sense. I mean, are people supposed to think "yup, that Obama sure is an evil terrorist, I'll just sit around and twiddle my thumbs while he and his terrorist buddies plot how best to murder babies and sap our precious bodily fluids"? No. The belief implies an action.
posted by sotonohito at 10:01 AM on October 29, 2008 [15 favorites]


Concealed beneath the beehive hairdo: horns.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:01 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Seems like a lot of overthinking and the attribution of malice to what is better seen as incompetence.
posted by plastic_animals at 10:02 AM on October 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised by how many liberals still think that the media cares about reporting on the truth.

Nice sweeping statement there, afu. Read blogs much?
posted by digaman at 10:02 AM on October 29, 2008


GYOB. Seriously, these weak-ass FPPs better end next week.
posted by Heminator at 10:03 AM on October 29, 2008 [5 favorites]


Anil Dash is right - he should stick to culture and avoid politics, because his writing style is far too convoluted to work as punditry. He should read more Hemmingway.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:06 AM on October 29, 2008


I'm surprised by how many liberals still think that the media cares about reporting on the truth.

Nice sweeping statement there, afu. Read blogs much?


I think his statement still stands. Unless, of course, you believe everything you read on the Internet.... Somehow I think you're not stupid.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:06 AM on October 29, 2008


She's not that smart, Anil.

She is, though. She doesn't know much about any of the major issues of the day, or how the federal government works, but she knows how to work a situation to her advantage, and she knows how to adopt a public persona that serves her purpose. Bush is very good at that and so is she. People continue to underestimate both of them when they really shouldn't. And that's another reason to code switch to a folksy way of speaking-- people who dislike you will immediately devalue everything you say and severely underestimate your capabilities.

Isn't "code switching" instinctive? I've noticed that I choose different words talking to different audiences, but it's not something I set out to do, just something I notice during or after the fact.

I think at some level it is but also in many ways it isn't. I grew up with a very southern accent and dialect but had to learn to switch into standard English. Now I can barely switch back at all but I sometimes switch back a little, on purpose or on accident. Palin stands out as very fake-folksy to me, but having grown up in some pretty stubbornly conservative parts of the southeast, I can pick out the things she says that mean one thing to me and another to people I grew up with. There are some subtle racial digs in there. She doesn't so much call Obama names as say a few things that leave the listener to fill in the blanks.
posted by Tehanu at 10:07 AM on October 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


jsonic : He's honestly claiming that Palin is subliminally telling her supporters to incarcerate or kill Obama.

It does seem like a bit of a stretch, but I can see where he is coming from; our current strategy with regard to actual terrorists that we have found is to imprison them or more often, kill them in combat. So by directly and repeatedly suggesting that Obama associates with terrorists (and although Dash doesn't directly address this, I suspect that this is to help reinforce the fact that he isn't a white guy with a name like Joe Smith and therefore kind of scary) Palin is attempting to connect Obama with the people who attacked us on 9-11.

She obviously can't say that, because it is absurd. But she can say that he "palls around" with one, make it plural, and then she can leave off the "domestic" part, and for a lot of Americans who don't spend all their time watching or reading the news, you have a pretty white lady telling us that the black guy named Barack Hussein Obama is friendly with terrorists, and since she isn't being called out on it, they might start to wonder if it's true.

And if it is true, why aren't we treating him the way we treat all the other terrorists we deal with?

This is, of course, pure speculation on my part. But I've been watching people say stuff at rallies about how he's a Muslim who hates America, and I've been trying to figure out how they got to that point. This seems like a fairly plausible explanation.
posted by quin at 10:09 AM on October 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


This is horseshit, and using fancy lingo like 'code switching' doesn't change that fact. This entire analysis is predicated on the claim that Palin is responsible for every possible interpretation of her words, including interpretations by crazy psychopaths. That is an absurdly ideological hermeneutic strategy, and it deserves no place in this election.

The McCain campaign, like Hillary Clinton before them, explicitly tried to create a link between sixties radicals and Obama because they want this election to be about the sixties' culture war and they want people to be afraid of the black guy with the funny name. They're comparing him to Malcolm X, not Mohamed Atta. That's bad enough without getting into paranoid conspiracy theories. Moreover, they do this because they think that their candidate is better than Obama and they don't think they can win without fear of the religious and racial other, not because they want to subtly demand his assassination. Again, what they actually mean to convey to their audiences is bad enough, and putting absurd words in their mouths just undermines the claim that we live in a reality-based community from which to call them on their actual words.

It's just horseshit. You're making the Democratic party look like a bunch of loonies and I'll thank you to shut the fuck up until after the election. Please.

As Stewart said on Crossfire:

You're. Hurting. Us.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:14 AM on October 29, 2008 [9 favorites]


Yawn. What a bunch of paranoid nonsense. Not that Palin doesn't suck, but the idea that Sarah is consciously 'code switching' to in order to send dog whistles is a bit ridiculous. The idea that what she somehow says is like 'cloaked' from reporters is even more absurd. People switch into vernacular all the time, and it's hardly some underhanded trick. And it isn't like the "MSM" would be incapable of catching it.

Um, Sarah has speechwriters that are much more sophisticated that she is. She just delivers their poison.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:14 AM on October 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


The idea that what she somehow says is like 'cloaked' from reporters is even more absurd. People switch into vernacular all the time, and it's hardly some underhanded trick. And it isn't like the "MSM" would be incapable of catching it.

I disagree, delmoi. The issue is, what is the gap between the literal meaning of her words as defended by her well-educated spinners and speechwriters, and the meaning as understood by larger audiences.

The media's fact-checks tend to let politicians off the hook if their remarks contain some element of plausible deniability. But, as we saw with Saddam Hussein and 9/11, while the president and many members of the administration carefully refrained from making such a link, many many people heard its arguments and believed that there was a link (pdf). (Obviously, Rumsfeld's claim that there was "bulletproof" intelligence linking Saddam and al Qaeda is an exception to the more careful formulations from Bush's speechwriters and spinmeisters).

The meaning that many people take away from Palin's speeches is that Sen. Obama shares the goals of al Qaeda and other terrorists. She established plausible deniability to those who excel at word-parsing, but conveys another meaning to broad audiences. It's a fine article by Dash.
posted by ibmcginty at 10:15 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


The analysis may be a bit highfalutin', but clearly she is trying to make people afraid that he is some kind of terrorist or radical and can't be trusted. Is there some other logical explanation? How often has someone said McCain or Palin's middle name at a speech? I don't even know what their middle names are. Or Joe Biden's for that matter.

FYI, when people refer to ACORN registering "inner city" people, inner city=black.

To pretend that there isn't racist, anti-muslim fearmongering going on is ridiculous. To pretend that it isn't being supported to some degree by all levels of the McCain campaign is just that, pretending.
posted by snofoam at 10:15 AM on October 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


Am I the only one who finds the dark humour in the fact that the Republican campaign has gone to the efforts to claim that an American-born Christian is a muslim, and is "pals" with a terrorist -- who happens to be a white guy. The same party that spent 8 years telling the world that it's the evil Islamo-fascist-brown-people who are the problem, are now telling us that the real problem is a FUCKING WHITE GUY!?

Then again, I guess it parses. Most of the terrorism in the US has been perpetrated by fucking Americans... Unless McVeigh and Michael Jackson have a doctor in common....
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:17 AM on October 29, 2008


[Reagan] speaking of "state's rights" baffled the media at the time... It's a "dog whistle"...

I seem to recall George Bush dropping the words "Dred Scott" into one of his 2004 debates, in a completely bizarre place. Everyone I was watching with immediately understood, while the media punditry afterward were "puzzled" by the reference. I never did see it addressed directly.
posted by rokusan at 10:17 AM on October 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


Dark Messiah, being a member of the media myself, I work very hard to get as close as I can to the truth when I'm writing an article (granted, I'm more careless here). For the fairly short feature I'm working on now, which is not about politics, I've read about a dozen books and over 100 peer-reviewed articles, and traveled to another country to interview experts in the field, and every word I write will be scrutinized by fact-checkers and editors. The statement that "I'm surprised by how many liberals still think that the media cares about reporting on the truth" seems about as insightful to me as saying "all Republicans are dumb."
posted by digaman at 10:18 AM on October 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


Most of the terrorism in the US has been perpetrated by fucking white Americans.

Bah, fixed.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:18 AM on October 29, 2008


Anyone who has ever attended church for a long enough time will recognize these kinds of communications patterns. Evangelicals seem particularly good at, and subject to, it.

The best pastors are adept at addressing and reinforcing people's irrational fears and beliefs, making it appear they are saying something important when they aren't really saying anything at all. It's fundamental (no pun intended) to the practice of delivering sermons on a subjective belief system to a congregation whose beliefs and interpretations are not as homogeneous as they themselves may believe, but the belief of common interpretation, of agreement, is paramount.

The problem with this, as Anil points out, is that some people dismiss the code switching as just verbal style, while others take the meta-messages to heart. Everybody hears what they want to hear, and the speaker maintains plausible deniability in case they get called out on their statements.

Listening to Bush speak makes me sick, not because he is such a poor speaker, but because he slips these coded phrases in that are intended to speak to a segment of the population. I went to church for years, I recognize it, and it repels me.

On a side note, once when travelling through east Texas, my Dad and I stopped in a small town cafe for lunch. My Dad is the gregarious type, but while chatting up the matronly middle aged waitress, he started dropping terms like "blessed" and referring to "the Lord", as a bit of a gag, I guess. During lunch she began to pay particular attention to our table, and eventually she got all misty eyed and thanked us for being "her kind of people", "God bless you" and on and on. He kind of sheepishly left her a big tip as we skulked out of there.
posted by Xoebe at 10:19 AM on October 29, 2008 [7 favorites]


Nice sweeping statement there, afu. Read blogs much?

I didn't say all liberals, and I don't even know what reading blogs has to do with anything.

My point was that Dash is claiming that reporters are tricked when people like Bush or Palin use their nefarious "code switching". Dash says, "This clever use of language only hides Palin's meaning from members of the press." for example.

This is ridiculous. What the Republicans are saying is plain enough for anyone to understand, and the people in the press are probably among the most able to decipher political speech. Yet they do not. The McCain campaign has been blatantly calling Obama a socialist for the past week and have barely gotten called out by the press.

Unless you want to believe that the press are such out of touch cosmopolitan elitists that they are getting taken in by her "aw shucks, I'm just a hockey mom" routine, the only answer for why they don't report on her inflammatory statements is that they do not think it is worth their time. The question is, why not?
posted by afu at 10:20 AM on October 29, 2008


digaman: while I commend you for your efforts, and I'm not about to soapboax against the media, but given the context of the statement original made, I think it's apt. The mainstream media -- at the very least, but not exclusively -- has been leaning towards more sizzle than steak for a long, long time.

There's rarely news in the truth; even rare is truth in the news. I respect your stance; obviously gross generalizations are fruitless. As I said, I took it in the context of referring to the general media. There are always sources of reliable information; therein lies the problem -- finding them.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:23 AM on October 29, 2008


That's well and good, digaman, but unfortunately, Mark Halpern, John King, Massimo Calabresi, Andrea Mitchell, Cokie Roberts, et al don't have your standards.

You're right that it's very overbroad to characterize "the media" as bad; but it's not too much of a reach if you limit the statement to the media that covers politics on dailies and weeklys and on TV.
posted by ibmcginty at 10:27 AM on October 29, 2008


McCain and Palin are saying he's a muslim, terrorist, uppity n-word who will steal money from white people and give it to lazy black people. They are doing so as clearly as possibly can without doing it so clearly that a legitimate reporter would be able to print it in those words. This is biggest reason why they are scumbags and can't be allowed to win.
posted by snofoam at 10:29 AM on October 29, 2008 [8 favorites]


The statement that "I'm surprised by how many liberals still think that the media cares about reporting on the truth" seems about as insightful to me as saying "all Republicans are dumb."

I'll give you that I should have specified that I am talking about the American mainstream political press. But I don't know how you could have lived through the past 8 years and still think that that section of the media still cares about the truth.
posted by afu at 10:30 AM on October 29, 2008


delmoi: "Yawn. What a bunch of paranoid nonsense. Not that Palin doesn't suck, but the idea that Sarah is consciously 'code switching' to in order to send dog whistles is a bit ridiculous. The idea that what she somehow says is like 'cloaked' from reporters is even more absurd. People switch into vernacular all the time, and it's hardly some underhanded trick. And it isn't like the "MSM" would be incapable of catching it."

These 'dogwhistles' happen all the time. Code-switching is not conscious behavior, but rather a tool we use when we have access to the language of two cultures and a natural, pragmatic understanding of the social norms and power dynamics of these environments.

I have been spending this entire semester working on two linguistics graduate essays about this very topic...how dogwhistles are constructed, their necessary requirements, and how that relates to things like audience design, veiled speech, code-switching, etc., as well as a focus on how politicians have recently used this device to establish coherence and construct identity in their political narrative, which is often directed at multiple audiences, including media channels.

Thanks for posting this thread. Metafilter has been a big help so far, as some of you who I've contacted personally already know. If anybody has any thoughts to contribute on this, I would love to chat with you.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:33 AM on October 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon ... "prayer warriors" acting out the will of God. If Obama is hurt along the way, that's just God's justice.

From my experience, "prayer warriors" are not literal soldiers of God, doing His work. They are people who are devout in faith, praying for good to come in the world. Of course, "good" is pretty subjective. At least, this is my experience with "prayer warriors" - maybe you've seen differently.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:34 AM on October 29, 2008


Spiritual warfare
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:37 AM on October 29, 2008


Well, yes, DM. It takes work on both sides. Welcome to the world in which only bullshit is spoon-fed.

Meanwhile, I'm sure it's just a coincidence that two of the quotes that Sarah Palin has used in her speeches came from a recording of Ronald Reagan's in which he warned that Medicare was socialism, and from a statement by the obscure right-wing Hearst columnist Westbrook Pegler, who publicly called for the assassination of Robert Kennedy.* Perhaps her speechwriters just stumbled over those remarks while she was busy poring over the Economist.

*The Pegler quotes:

“We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity.” -- Palin quoting Pegler in her acceptance speech

"Some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow flies." -- Pegler

Palin and Reagan's quotes side by side
posted by digaman at 10:40 AM on October 29, 2008 [8 favorites]


She's driving that campaign now. He has to follow, because if he goes after her, then it looks bad.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:43 AM on October 29, 2008


Metafilter: palin' around with terrorists.

I agree with Dash's point - Palin leveled a serious charge, but the media has not taken it seriously. Like the 'Obama is a Muslim' charge, the primary response has been to refute the facts ('no, he's a Christian'), and only later to see the larger issue ('they're saying that being Muslim is un-American, and that's not right').

My impression is that the press has argued over the factual statements, eventually denying that: a) Obama "palled around" with Ayers, and b) Ayers isn't a terrorist, but missed the main point, that Palin leveled a grave accusation, and that we should consider whether her doing so is acceptable.
posted by zippy at 10:44 AM on October 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


er, refute the accusations.
posted by zippy at 10:44 AM on October 29, 2008


Yeah, I'd have to agree with the "prayer warriors" point. It's a phrase used to present praying as an X-TREEM activity. The most vigilante-esque activity you'd get out of someone who calls themselves a "prayer warrior" would be a prayer vigil outside a campaign office.
posted by specialfriend at 10:48 AM on October 29, 2008


This entire analysis is predicated on the claim that Palin is responsible for every possible interpretation of her words, including interpretations by crazy psychopaths.

Strawman. Anil is holding her responsible for what he sees as a specific, predictable, intended interpretation of specific words delivered in a specific manner. I would back off that some; I think she's guilty of using incendiary language in order to energize the crazybase, with complete disregard for the consequences. It's the difference between murder 1 and manslaughter, if I know my Law and Order, and I do not.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:50 AM on October 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


I agree that this is Palin's speechwriters writing in a Palin 'voice' that they have created - these aren't her ideas or even, often, her natural language (compare the speechifying to her unscripted moments). That doesn't make it less shitty, but it's not that she's sitting at home nights figuring out the architecture of her language. She's reading.

doesn't it seem to imply that most journalists don't understand how code-switching works, or didn't grow up in an AAVE or North Central environment?


I don't think Anil has journalists right here. There are a lot of problems with contemporary journalism, but an inability to understand what Palin is saying is not really one of them. Everyone can read her clear as day. The problem is twofold: a) what can they defensibly report according to journalistic standards for factual accuracy, and b) what managerial control are they operating under? The first is an issue of Palin's (and McCain's) use of language, but the second is much bigger than Palin or McCain, and that is a result of the gradual failure of advertising-driven news models and the dearth of independently owned media with high journalistic standards and resources.

With problem A, the difficulty is that as far as actual allegations, her speeches are plausibly deniable. A newswriter can say she "connected Obama to terrorism" in her speech, but not that she "called Obama a terrorist." She does take pains not to call him a terrorist. Yes, her language is belittling and hints at irresponsibility - everyone can see that. But if they were to 'go after her' for calling him a terrorist, they'd be torn to shreds for the accusation that she actually said he was a terrorist. She can deny that she did.

This was in evidence during what I'll call Socialism Week, this past week, during which McCain and Palin were falling all over themselves to use the word "Socialism" to describe Obama's economic policies. But you'll notice that never once did they say "Obama is a Socialist" or "Obama's policies are Socialist" or "Obama is trying to create a Socialist government." Those are definitive accusations which can be proved or disproved. Instead, they say his policies "sound a lot like socialism" or make vague allusions like "Our opponent’s ideological commitment to spread the wealth around...it's been tried in other societies, friends.” When a reporter asks directly, her campaign can deliver this factually correct response:
Asked whether Palin was suggesting that Obama favors economic policies similar to those of Communist countries, Palin’s traveling press secretary Tracey Schmitt wrote in an email message, “No she said what she said.”
Damned if I can find the link right now, but sometime in the last week someone linked to news video of McCain in which a reporter asks him whether he thinks Obama is a socialist. He said something like "of course not, but..." and then launched into a critique of Obama's policies. The upshot is that neither McCain or Palin is going to knowingly say "Obama is a socialist" or "Obama is a terrorist" on record. And you won't see it reported that they did, because they didn't. What you will see is "Palin hints that Obama is a socialist" or "Palin connects Obama to terrorist in speech" because that is factually accurate.

So on to the second problem. It's up to editorial boards how the factual information gets interpreted to the news outlet's readership, viewership, or listenership. They direct newsgathering and reporting, and they hire columnists, talking heads, and op-ed writers, and they write editorials and authorize the delivery of commentaries. There has to be both the will and the journalistic experience to editorially take on this kind of language-mangling and coy dodging by the candidates, and unfortunately, those have been so badly eroded over the last decade that editorial staffs and the journalists they oversee have sometimes become much more soft-boned than they need to be. There are a lot of reasons for that - I would peg lack of independence in the major media as the single largest cause. You will only stick your neck out so far if your corporate conglomerate employer is likely to chop it off; your first job is to deliver eyes to advertisers with your 'news' reporting, not steer your media outlet in the citizen's direction as the fourth estate. Journalism is not often enough considered a public service at the highest levels any more. The days when the crusading heads of the great independent newspapering families sat at long curmudgeonly tables and agreed to take the heat for a politically unpopular editorial thrust are gone; those swivel chairs are now occupied by middle managers whose paychecks are tied to ad sale revenue.

I applaud Anil's cultural interest in Palin's speech, but I think he's far off in the wrong direction when he discusses why journalists aren't harder on it. There are reasons why journalism hasn't pilloried some of the McCain/Palin campaign strategies; the idea that reporters can't understand the power of her Mayberry rhetoric ain't one of 'em.
posted by Miko at 10:54 AM on October 29, 2008 [40 favorites]


P.S. In case it isn't obvious, legitimate journalists working for reputable institutions have to be as factually accurate as they can to avoid being open to charges of defamation. It hamstrings them sometimes, as right now when they can see through the rhetoric as well as you can, but the alternative is worse.
posted by Miko at 10:58 AM on October 29, 2008


The republican party is shredding because they have cocooned themselves in a envelope of propaganda based reality. Most of the audience doesn't know what socialism is. The red states keep shrinking because nobody wants to live there because their elected officials are robbing them blind. The myth of the fiscal conservative was exploded when Bush began a massive socialization of the banking sector. Its a train wreck. Joe the Plumber wasn't named Joe, wasn't a plumber, and couldn't buy a business on the best day of his life. Their whole platform is a lie, their media is a lie, their policy wonks just lie. Train wreck.

Palin is more of the same. She is doing this stuff on purpose. Listen to her speeches. No attempt at concealment. If the party is going to recover, they'll need another Eisenhower. It isn't unlikely. It would be good for America. We need a two party system, not a one party system versus a theocracy.
posted by ewkpates at 11:06 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nah, the people who are arguing that politicians don't deliberately use folksy, ambiguous rhetoric to communicate hateful messages to potentially violent supporters have it right. That's never happened.

Now, will nobody rid me of this meddlesome priest?
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:07 AM on October 29, 2008 [21 favorites]


McCain Miami Rally, Getting Ugly Down Here

"After the rally, we witnessed a near-street riot involving the exiting McCain crowd and two Cuban-American Obama supporters. Tony Garcia, 63, and Raul Sorando, 31, were suddenly surrounded by an angry mob. There is a moment in a crowd when something goes from mere yelling to a feeling of danger, and that's what we witnessed. As photographers and police raced to the scene, the crowd elevated from stable to fast-moving scrum, and the two men were surrounded on all sides as we raced to the circle.

The event maybe lasted a minute, two at the most, before police competently managed to hustle the two away from the scene and out of the danger zone. Only FiveThirtyEight tracked the two men down for comment, a quarter mile down the street.

"People were screaming 'Terrorist!' 'Communist!' 'Socialist!'" Sorando said when we caught up with him. "I had a guy tell me he was gonna kill me."

Asked what had precipitated the event, "We were just chanting 'Obama!' and holding our signs. That was it. And the crowd suddenly got crazy."

posted by you just lost the game at 11:11 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I would peg lack of independence in the major media as the single largest cause. You will only stick your neck out so far if your corporate conglomerate employer is likely to chop it off; your first job is to deliver eyes to advertisers with your 'news' reporting, not steer your media outlet in the citizen's direction as the fourth estate.

That's fair enough, Miko, but I think we have to look at the culture of the media just as much, or more, than market incentives. It took years and years for somewhat liberal talk show hosts to get their own shows. O'Reilly, Scarborough, Savage, Beck, god only knows how many I'm leaving out all had their own shows. It took forever for Olbermann, now Rachel Maddow, who's doing very well in the ratings, to get their shows.

I submit that these cultural factors-- the fact that it's been politically correct to criticize weak, divided Democrats, and urge them to compromise with the serious, respectable Republicans on everything, especially economic and national security issues-- are a much bigger factor than middle managers' incentives, or defamation, which is very difficult to establish in the US.
posted by ibmcginty at 11:11 AM on October 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Conservatives are largely defined by what they are afraid of.

How else do you appeal to them except by addressing their fears?

This is the language of conservatism, no Manchurian Candidate theories necessary.

</sweeping_empirically_based_generalization>
posted by mandal at 11:11 AM on October 29, 2008


In case we needed any more evidence, Barack Obama is basically a member of the PLO, palin' around with yet another radical professor. (Like, dude, there must be a lot of radical professors.) I would love to find out about this Rashid Khalidi character. I could have sworn he was one of those Al Quaeda lieutenants we killed, but I guess not. Unfortunately, the LA Times is too busy gunning for the kowtowing Pulitzer to release the video.
posted by snofoam at 11:12 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I do not know if this has been mentioned but:

'You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger"—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger".'

Lee Atwater, 1981 (quoted from Southern Politics in the 1990s, Prof. Alexander P. Lamis)

Lee Atwater, for those who don't know, was a GOP stratigest from Strom Thrummond's campaigns through the HW Bush 88 campaign. And a friend of Rove, notably. So I guess the pendulum just swung slightly back to the Neanderthal...a black man who is a pal of terrorists and wants to give your rich (white) dollar in a socialist way to his poor (black) voters. Who vote for him because he's black. And he hates your religion. And your guns. And your way of life. He is everything you despise.

I'm not sure I'd call this an undecipherable enigma.
posted by jaduncan at 11:13 AM on October 29, 2008 [9 favorites]


Wow. I think I'm finally sick of reading about Sarah Palin. I really hope she disappears after this election, at least for awhile.
posted by lunit at 11:13 AM on October 29, 2008


Yawn. What a bunch of paranoid nonsense. Not that Palin doesn't suck, but the idea that Sarah is consciously 'code switching' to in order to send dog whistles is a bit ridiculous.

I really have to disagree with the idea that she is doing it consciously. I don't think she sat down and constructed a plan that would allow her to slip her messages past the critical filters of the media. I think that manipulative people have manipulative personalities that they have honed over the course of their lives, often unconsciously. That she may have stumbled into code switching during this process is not surprising.

I do agree with you though, the idea that she is doing it consciously is ridiculous.
posted by 517 at 11:14 AM on October 29, 2008


From my experience, "prayer warriors" are not literal soldiers of God, doing His work. They are people who are devout in faith, praying for good to come in the world. Of course, "good" is pretty subjective. At least, this is my experience with "prayer warriors" - maybe you've seen differently.

More prayer warriors.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:15 AM on October 29, 2008


Unrelated:

Joe for Secretary of Plumbing!

What is up with that? They're out stumping and they call for backup...and they get Joe the Plumber? Really?
posted by snofoam at 11:18 AM on October 29, 2008


I submit that these cultural factors-- the fact that it's been politically correct to criticize weak, divided Democrats, and urge them to compromise with the serious, respectable Republicans on everything, especially economic and national security issues-- are a much bigger factor than middle managers' incentives,

I see them as totally connected. The reason we have liberal commentators now is that it's now much more remunerative - there are people willing to tune in and watch those shows, and their advertising. When there was no market for this, there were no liberal commentators. There was an enthusiastic market for right-wing ones. It's really hard to say whether the cultural shift comes before the market-driven shift; as the hard-right audience falls off for television, producers go fishing for a new, responsive, and growing market. When they find one, they invest in it, and it grows - and so does the sense the progressivism is on the rise. I think the relationships between the media and the cultural conversation are cyclical and mutually reinforcing.

But even more than their position on the right-or-left spectrum is the depth issue - none of these commentators understand or present news with the depth of a single regular network nightly newscast of before 1980. It hardly matters what side you're shouting from if you're still mostly on a side rather than positioning yourself as a citizen's watchdog and ally. And the sound-bite nature of the dialogue, the 24-hour news cycle, the battling pundits - all of these are enemies of a sophisticated understanding of what's happening.
posted by Miko at 11:19 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think I just learned how to post a popular post in the big blue.....

Ready?

Random link about McCain, Random story about something dumb Palin just said, and Bacon..

Hey mods think it's ready for the front page yet?
posted by Mastercheddaar at 11:21 AM on October 29, 2008


I honestly don't understand why this is so hard to fathom. The analysis might be "high-falutin", but you don't need to be a linguist to know how to utilize the tools Palin uses. She's been using them her entire carreer. She has a reputation of adapting a folksy tone in order to connect with her intended audience. This is why she uses the phrase "pals around with" instead of the SAT word "consorts". And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand the type of emotions that the word "terrorist" invokes. She's a Bushite, after all. And in a recent interview wherein she said she didn't know if OB-GYN clinic bombers were terrorists - even though they destroy property, kill people, and terrorize - it's fairly clear her version of "terrorist" probably has racial connotations as well.

In other words, although Dash's analysis might be too sophisitcated for Palin herself to read and understand, this doesn't mean she isn't doing exactly what Dash has astutely observed her doing - no more so than the accuracy of a study of chimpanzees is dependant on their ability to understand the study itself.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:23 AM on October 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Mastercheddar, your use of the word dumb is redundant.
posted by snofoam at 11:23 AM on October 29, 2008


LETS ALL TALK ABOUT SARAH PALIN MORE! NO SERIOUSLY lets all sit around and play the "How many of my household appliances are smarter and less offensive than Sara Palin" game!Who wants to go first!

This is why I don't do politics.

All this nonsense makes feel sick to my stomach. The very idea that most people (the general public) wait for the media to tell them what is up and what is down and then just regurgitate that crap right back up is just mind blowing. But what is even more mind blowing the people with the smarts to know what is bullshit and what is not still make it a point to constantly discuss the bullshit rather than taking the positive issues to the forefront of daily conversation. Trust me Sarah Palin will still be crazy tomorrow,and the next day and the next day. Can we talk about something else now?

(First and last PMS rant of the day... I promise)
posted by SheMulp AKA Plus 1 at 11:24 AM on October 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


snofoam: I would love to find out about this Rashid Khalidi character.

Details and links here: HuffPost's Seth Walls has uncovered that McCain himself has an extensive relationship with Khalidi, including providing his group with hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 11:24 AM on October 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


When there was no market for this, there were no liberal commentators.

Well, Miko, I think that there was always a market, but it was politically incorrect to put liberals on TV. Culture trumps financial incentives. It applies in Moneyball, and it applies to politics.

(It's no accident that Nate Silver, who burst on the scene this year as a poll analyst, has a background in baseball statistics. There are easily debunked, but deeply held, beliefs on how the political and sports worlds work).
posted by ibmcginty at 11:27 AM on October 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Holy crap that video indeed.

It was scary and all...

But I do like people who confuse the concepts of being hung with being hanged.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:35 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Conservatives are largely defined by what they are afraid of.

How else do you appeal to them except by addressing their fears?

This is the language of conservatism, no Manchurian Candidate theories necessary.


I disagree. This is the language of the social conservative anti-intellectual trogolodytes that Reagan invited into the party and Bush made a mainstay of the party.

Pre-Reagan conservatives from Teddy Roosevelt (who created the National Parks Service) to Eisenhower (who warned us of the Military Industrial Complex) to even (gulp) Nixon (who created the EPA and opened the door to relations with China) were fiscal conservatives who believed in small government and a strong military. These were the true conservatives.

The current Republican party is conservative in name only. It's big, intrusive government that wants to legislate right into your bedroom and appeals to anti-intellectuals with coded messages of hate for anyone other than the right wing christians.

Their speeches are Orwellian in their ability to ignore the facts in favor of the message.

No more taxes? Then how the hell are you going to pay for the 700 million dollar bailout and a trillion dollar war?

Spending Freeze? As long as you're spending 10 billion a week in Iraq it doesn't seem like much of freeze to me.

Victory in Iraq? Will someone please tell me what the hell that means? Who's our enemy there? Who are we trying to defeat? And, by the way, nice job in Afghanistan.

I hope this election ends soon or I might lose every republican friend I ever had.
posted by cjets at 11:37 AM on October 29, 2008 [9 favorites]


Even more prayer warriors.
posted by ryoshu at 11:38 AM on October 29, 2008


She doesn't know much about any of the major issues of the day, or how the federal government works, but she knows how to work a situation to her advantage, and she knows how to adopt a public persona that serves her purpose. Bush is very good at that and so is she.

She's actually not good at that at all, though. Bush appealed very strongly to evangelical Christians, and their support buttressed the support of mainstream conservatives. Palin appeals very strongly to evangelical Christians, and makes mainstream conservatives tell the world they're voting for Barack Obama. She has no persona that appeals outside her niche -- in fact, quite the reverse.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:43 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, her appeal is not as broad as Bush's. She's a far weaker candidate overall, although her stagecraft is much better than his.
posted by Tehanu at 11:45 AM on October 29, 2008


I do like people who confuse the concepts of being hung with being hanged.

Hey, pick your favorite black guy stereotype.

I wonder how much the irrational fear of item (a) causes item (b).
posted by rokusan at 11:47 AM on October 29, 2008


She's not that well informed, but thats different than being unclever. Furthermore, as has been pointed out, much of what candidates say into microphones are prepared from them. By the best of the best.
Ask yourself this. Why is it that in the face of crushing circumstances and campaign results, the McCain campaign machine keeps reaching deeper and deeper into the cesspool for things to throw at their opponent instead of waiting for another day, in 4 years?
BTW, whats the status on the "immunity for all whitehouse administration from prosecution of war crimes" inserted into current non-relevant legislation? It sure seems like someone's fighting way hard for their life, and by that I don't mean McCain/Palin.
posted by Fupped Duck at 11:48 AM on October 29, 2008


I admit. I find her cute and attractive, but deep inside.....I know she sheds her skin at night.
posted by doctorschlock at 11:49 AM on October 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ask yourself this. Why is it that in the face of crushing circumstances and campaign results, the McCain campaign machine keeps reaching deeper and deeper into the cesspool for things to throw at their opponent instead of waiting for another day, in 4 years?

The word I'm thinking of starts with a "D" and ends with an "esperation."
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:50 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, Miko, I think that there was always a market, but it was politically incorrect to put liberals on TV. Culture trumps financial incentives. It applies in Moneyball, and it applies to politics.

But why was it politically incorrect to put liberals on TV? Why was the media shifting rightward despite your own evidence that there is always a market for left, center, and right-leaning reporting stances? I believe it was because of the drastic changes in media ownership that began during the late Reagan era. Companies and business leaders who did not make their way up through traditional media leadership channels suddenly found themselves owning the means of communication. They had access to a channal, and as the management of enormous global corporations, they had a business interest in pro-market, anti-regulation, anti-oversight, anti-tax, and other right-wing policy stances. Without doubt, because i have seen it myself, these biases against liberal business and social policies overflowed into directives to media managers themselves. People lost their jobs, or were allowed to graduate out of the media through attrition, and were replaced with a different sort of media manager who took a more profit-driven stance on the news. Even news departments with strong ethics were drastically cut; enterprise was cut; training and professional development were cut. Because of economic realities handed down to newsrooms by managers looking only and mainly at a bottom line, newsroom personnel got the message that they could stay and play, or find their way to the door.

To underplay the tectonic shift that has occurred in our news reporting over the last 20 years is a shame. Journalism is not normally an independent watchdog enterprise any more. Even now, the only reason liberal commentators are available on major networks is not a sudden Grinchlike change of heart on the part of media moguls. It's the reality that the viewership for the right-wing same-old was falling off - the programs and strategies were getting stale. During Hurricane Katrina, the networks noticed that this guy Olbermann seemed to be making some money by appearing to find a spine. That's become the new grail. I welcome some new perspectives in the major media, but they aren't putting these shows on for reasons of fairness. They're putting them on because people are watching them. The natural result of the long slide into economic disaster is a populace willing to question the last twenty years' received wisdom; those shows are there to pick up the newly questioning, and sell them some beer and OTC medications in the meantime.
posted by Miko at 11:54 AM on October 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


Strawman. Anil is holding her responsible for what he sees as a specific, predictable, intended interpretation of specific words delivered in a specific manner.

The problem here is that 'what he sees' depends on the wrong filter: he honestly thinks that Palin and others are so racist that they want to see Obama shot, that Palin wants her opponent to be assassinated and is throwing out hints that only the assassins can hear. What world do we live in that this counts as reasonable discourse?

It is not reasonable to accuse a candidate for federal office of plotting to have her opponent assassinated, of 'intending' an interpretation of her words in which that will be the result. Nor is it reasonable to accuse her of using language that could 'predictably' lead to such an event. Nor is it reasonable to accuse her of using the 'specific' language that will produce that event. It's not reasonable because it assumes that language isn't about giving reasons (to vote, not to vote, to choose one candidate over another) but rather serves only to signal the mob like a pack of wild Pavlovian dogs who will murder on command. It even assumes that Palin or her speech-writers think they would be better off running against Obama the martyr than against Obama the man, which is highly doubtful: Obama already has a Kennedy complex. But that's just it: because Dash's argument is predicated on an ideological fantasy about what his political opponents are like, he assumes that they'll stop at nothing, even murder, to achieve their goals.

The reasonable way to address these problems is the one adopted by the Obama campaign itself: to accuse the other campaign of running against hippies, radicals, and commies instead of the Harvard-educated law professor with moderate politics and middle-of-the-road economic proposals actually standing for election. If McCain wanted to run against the "None Dare Call it Treason" crowd of hippie radicals, he should have run long ago.
posted by anotherpanacea at 12:06 PM on October 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


I believe it was because of the drastic changes in media ownership that began during the late Reagan era.

I agree that was a big part of it. Plus there was this attitude in the media, predating media concentration, that the Reaganite GOP was hip and with it, and Democrats were a bunch of droning interest groups who didn't really love America enough. That's more or less been Joe Klein's entire career. The two factors, cultural and ideological, fed off of each other.
posted by ibmcginty at 12:12 PM on October 29, 2008


Ask yourself this. Why is it that in the face of crushing circumstances and campaign results, the McCain campaign machine keeps reaching deeper and deeper into the cesspool for things to throw at their opponent instead of waiting for another day, in 4 years?

Because McCain may not live that long? Hell, heaven forbid he win, he may not even see the end of his term. She may be the star, but it's still him who's running for president. It is desperation. He wants that job badly and he's willing to put this country at the mercy of a twit who has no business even running for VP.
posted by moonshine at 12:14 PM on October 29, 2008


The reason we have liberal commentators now is that it's now much more remunerative - there are people willing to tune in and watch those shows, and their advertising. When there was no market for this, there were no liberal commentators.

Sorry, but this really doesn't wash.

It's not like we've gone from 0% "liberals" to 100% all over the course of a year or two.

A majority (or, uh well, plurality, anyway) of voters were in favor in Clinton, twice, through the 1990s and just about 49% of the electorate voted for Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004.

That's basically half the electorate over the course of two decades.

And that is certainly enough people to form an audience for a TV or radio show or two.
posted by flug at 12:26 PM on October 29, 2008


And that is certainly enough people to form an audience for a TV or radio show or two.

Sure, as I said there always has been -- but on cable news (which is not all that old, especially as a news-commentator platform with shows as opposed to ongoing reporting) there was no history of editorial will to put those shows on, and no strong willingness among advertisers to be aligned with a liberal viewpoint.

The thing is, I respect shows with a stated 'liberal' viewpoint about as much as those with a stated 'conservative' viewpoint. Neither are really news shows - they are entertainment shows - and what they are most driven to be is not boring. As long as they can attract an audience - however that's done in the changing climate - they get airtime.

The biggest money-suck in media and biggest audience bore is straight news reporting. What's selling right now is strong ranting and condemnation and poses of independence (which tend to make underinformed critiques and only encourage skepticism of all sources rather than discrimination among sources). Expect more of it until we can find a different news model that is capable of bringing reliable, responsible, citizenship-focused news to a wide audience.
posted by Miko at 12:37 PM on October 29, 2008


Did anyone else read the article and think "Duh"?

It's just horseshit. You're making the Democratic party look like a bunch of loonies and I'll thank you to shut the fuck up until after the election. Please.

As Stewart said on Crossfire:

You're. Hurting. Us.


Who is "us," kemosabe? I ain't no Democrat or Republican. You're as bad as George "With Us or Against" Bush. There are myriad political positions and philosophies not represented by Obama or McCain, you know.

I completely believe that Sarah Palin is inciting supporters to take action against the terrorist Barack Hussein Obama.

I think the author's dead right on that. What he's wrong about is other people missing it. I think it's obvious, and reporters know it. I agree with Miko about that.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:37 PM on October 29, 2008


Who is "us," kemosabe? I ain't no Democrat or Republican. You're as bad as George "With Us or Against" Bush. There are myriad political positions and philosophies not represented by Obama or McCain, you know.

I think rational discourses and charitable hermeneutic strategies are good for all Americans, of every party, but if you ascribe to some political position in which rationality and truth aren't a priority, then I apologize for my presumption.
posted by anotherpanacea at 12:44 PM on October 29, 2008


Ana Marie Cox has has a post called Palin: Maverick or Rogue? What is interesting is how Palin deviates from her script and when what she chooses to throw in to "make it her own."
Though the speech was mostly a recitation of energy-policy proposals that Sen. John McCain has been offering for months — nuclear power, limited offshore drilling, “clean coal” — Palin’s flourishes made the speech hers. The line, “Americans need to produce more of our own oil and gas” could be said by either the top or the bottom of the ticket. But, “God has so richly blessed our land with the supplies that we need”? You would pretty much have to write God into a McCain speech to get him to say it. Palin adds it on her own.
posted by birdherder at 12:53 PM on October 29, 2008


Whew.

As I skim through this (after reading the very insightful links) ... I am reminded of something a gardener told me recently ... "worm eggs can lie dormant in the dirt for 100 years ... all they need is some good manure to come to life."

Sarah Palin didn't appear out of nowhere ... and she won't be the last one to abruptly 'come to life'. We just need to pay more attention to how (and where) the shit flies.
posted by Surfurrus at 12:54 PM on October 29, 2008 [9 favorites]


Who is "us," kemosabe?

That's a quote from Jon Stewart, who in 2004 appeared on Crossfire and told the hosts that they were "hurting America" with their shallow discourse. He wasn't speaking for a single party; he called the hosts both "partisan hacks," saying "we [the American people] need help from the media and they're hurting us." Stewart said "you're doing theater, when you should be doing debate, which would be great...." and when Carlson and Begala protested that their head-to-head pundit-skirmishes were 'debates,' Stewart said:
It's not honest. What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery.... You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably. This is such a great opportunity you have here to actually get politicians off of their marketing and strategy.
I agree with many of you that the media feels less monolithically rightist than it did four years ago, yet I hasten to point out that they haven't actually improved. They've supplied some new stances to host the talking heads, but they're still doing what Stewart objected to - still allowing politicians to determine the reportage with their daily messages and short clips, still unable, for the most part, to present an informed and independent evaluation of those messages with reference to history, policy, and reality. Which is exactly the kind of thing that would be needed to put Palin and McCain's evocations of terrorism and socialism in perspective as the extreme tactics that they are.
posted by Miko at 12:56 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I disagree. This is the language of the social conservative anti-intellectual trogolodytes that Reagan invited into the party and Bush made a mainstay of the party.

Pre-Reagan conservatives from Teddy Roosevelt (who created the National Parks Service) to Eisenhower (who warned us of the Military Industrial Complex) to even (gulp) Nixon (who created the EPA and opened the door to relations with China) were fiscal conservatives who believed in small government and a strong military. These were the true conservatives.
What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried?
— Lincoln.

That Pre-Reagan enough for you? And you're not really disagreeing, just claiming that these people aren't "true conservatives".

***
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
—Mencken.
posted by mandal at 1:00 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Um, anotherpanacea, this is rational discourse?

It's just horseshit. You're making the Democratic party look like a bunch of loonies and I'll thank you to shut the fuck up until after the election. Please.

'Cause that's what you said upthread. Granted, you did end with please. Considering your presumptions were that other opinions are horseshit and therefore others should shut the fuck up, an apology might not be the worst idea in the world.
posted by snofoam at 1:02 PM on October 29, 2008


Bush was really the master at this stuff. He would drop a word or two here or there that would go over 90% of the nation's head, but really target the Republican mavens. McCain and Palin, on the other hand, are running the worst campaign I have ever seen. He seems like a cranky grandpa Simpson and she seems like a born again redneck. However, I do believe Palin is knowingly inciting violence. She knows what she's saying, and she knows its a lie.
posted by xammerboy at 1:03 PM on October 29, 2008


What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried?

Yes, but we've tried many things, some of them have worked (the New Deal, e.g., brought unprecedented prosperity to the widest number of Americans from all backgrounds) and some haven't (the gilded age saw financial abuses, labor exploitation, and the lowest quality of life for the most Americans). If we fail to grasp that Lincoln's words addressed things tried successfully, we will repeat mistakes of the past endlessly, by returning to old sins.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:11 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Possibly people got wise to what Bush was up to?
posted by Artw at 1:12 PM on October 29, 2008


Thanks to everybody for reading a long (and admittedly a bit rambling) post, and for a largely constructive discourse. I don't want to go through and answer all the various questions raised, but I figure there are some specific questions to/about me that I might be able to offer up as background.

No, he's saying that just the dumb people will think she's telling them to kill Obama. Because they say things like "pallin' around" and "sixpack."

I don't feel that people who speak multiple dialects of English are dumb. In fact, I might think they're smart.

It's just horseshit. You're making the Democratic party look like a bunch of loonies and I'll thank you to shut the fuck up until after the election. Please.

I'm not a Democrat, so I don't actually much care how the members of The World's Least Organized Party™ look. That being said, "shut the fuck up until after the election" seems... inconsistent with what most Democrats I know advocate people to do.

There are reasons why journalism hasn't pilloried some of the McCain/Palin campaign strategies; the idea that reporters can't understand the power of her Mayberry rhetoric ain't one of 'em.

That's true and fair. I deliberately elided a lot of my "reporters don't cover this story because..." reasoning since the piece was already too long and because my list of grievances with the conditions and business requirements of contemporary American journalism cannot be contained even by all the internets. Perhaps my shorthand for describing their grievances was especially inaccurate due to its brevity, but it seems the larger point of the piece was made so I'll have to settle for that.

he honestly thinks that Palin and others are so racist that they want to see Obama shot, that Palin wants her opponent to be assassinated and is throwing out hints that only the assassins can hear. What world do we live in that this counts as reasonable discourse?

No, I honestly think Palin and others are so ambitious they have ignored the likely implications of their actions and words, choosing instead to focus on the purest motivations and noblest intentions of their ideas, as we all do. Nobody who invented email thought, "I'm going to make the world's most efficient way of spreading junk messages around the world." That doesn't mean it wasn't a predictable result of their choices.

But that's just it: because Dash's argument is predicated on an ideological fantasy about what his political opponents are like, he assumes that they'll stop at nothing, even murder, to achieve their goals.

They're not my political opponents. Hell, even if I were running for office, there are lots of John McCain's positions that I'd prefer to Barack Obama's (though, obviously, Obama has my vote this year). I think Sarah Palin and those involved in constructing and disseminating her message are willing to overlook the worst results of their work in the interest of political expediency. That's a common trait amongst political campaigns and the people who work on them -- they just don't usually have such egregious potential consequences.
posted by anildash at 1:12 PM on October 29, 2008 [10 favorites]


Oh, I forgot: "The faveicon for his site is his head." That's supposed to be ridiculous. I think people who regularly read my site get the joke, and I'm okay if people who are new to the site don't.
posted by anildash at 1:15 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


All I know is, this is a plausible conversation:

"He's pallin' around with terrorists."

"That's a serious accusation, that he's consorting with terrorists."

"What? I never said that. I just said they were pallin' around."

Without regard to how I feel about the blog post, I will say that I do believe she's very shrewd. I also believe that generally speaking, people assume that serious allegations come in serious packages; if you say something serious but use trivial language, you can claim it's a joke or was misunderstood. That this might be an intentional choice, on her part or the part of the scriptwriters, is not unreasonable.

Witness: "That Tim, he's always borrowing things and never returning 'em" vs "That Tim, he has stolen from me on several occasions."

Would I call this "code-switching"? I don't think I would. I would simply call it being a weasel. In my example, both statements are designed to make you think "Tim cannot be trusted", but one allows you to backpedal if it turns out he can be trusted.
posted by davejay at 1:21 PM on October 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


You did a nice job of explaining exactly why the seemingly innocuous phrase "palling around" is so sinister in this context. And you are spot-on in your analysis of the "terrorists" thing, making it a much broader and more sinister issue than "60s radical and domestic terrorist William Ayers." Most Americans look at counter-culture figures, even ones with ties to violence and extremism, in a different light than we view "terrorists," which instantly conjures images of shadowy (and dark-skinned) foreigners planning atrocities against civilians. Well done, thank you for crystallizing this vague argument.
posted by Mister_A at 1:21 PM on October 29, 2008


"What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried?"

Ha--Lincoln said that? Is he praising conservatism? If so, these words are really rich coming from the guy who effectively ended slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation, established the Department of Agriculture, and publicly-funded the development of the first transcontinental railways and telegraph systems. Ushering in the modern-age: Now that's a kind of adherence to the old I can get behind.

But do we really need four more years of tax and spend Republican conservatism?
posted by saulgoodman at 1:22 PM on October 29, 2008


Word up, saul. I thought that very thing when I heard that. I tried to say it, but my wife told me to shut up (in fairness, I do talk a lot).
posted by Mister_A at 1:24 PM on October 29, 2008


Would I call this "code-switching"? I don't think I would. I would simply call it being a weasel. In my example, both statements are designed to make you think "Tim cannot be trusted", but one allows you to backpedal if it turns out he can be trusted.

Simply using shifty language isn't the same thing as code switching. Slippin' in to the vernacular and gettin' real folksy when you wanna not just get 'em standin' up and cheerin' for ya, but get 'em hearin' somethin' else you're fixin' to say, well gosh darn that sure is.
posted by Tehanu at 1:30 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


If Republicanism, and conservativism, were still the party and politics of Lincoln, I would be a Republican. But modern Republicanism has about as much to do with Lincoln's party as modern democracy has to do with the assembly in Athens.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:31 PM on October 29, 2008


Hi Anil. We've met in real life, though you won't know me in this MeFi mask. :)

I think you're right on what's happening here, whether Palin is inserting the language herself or it's being engineered by the Rovian speechwriters and "handlers". I suspect the latter, but it doesn't make much difference in the end.

But I think Miko is closer to the target when it comes to the media's mishandling of this. I do not think they are "missing" it, at least not every time. I think they have no clue how to handle it or report on it, so as with most reporting, they take the safe and lazy road (politically, legally, intellectually). They report on only the surface meaning, since that will never get them in trouble.

Bush has certainly always done the same thing, inserting dog whistles that are usually biblical or evangelical code, but it does not go reported in any meaningful way.

And until some TV network has a regular program on Deconstructing Subtext, I don't think they ever will address it. But should someone break that water, the rest will certainly jump all over each other reporting on the waves.

So in that regard, you're doing a very good thing here. Thank you.

Now if only it weren't just "some guy in a basement ranting on his blog", maybe we could get somewhere.
posted by rokusan at 1:35 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


All she’s saying is that Obama is near.

That and: ‘I wash born here, an I wash raished here, and dad gum it, I am gonna die here, an no sidewindin' bushwackin', hornswagglin' cracker croaker is gonna rouin me bishen cutter.’

And who can argue with that?

“Stewart said "you're doing theater, when you should be doing debate, which would be great..”

Yeah. There were changes in the law tho. And so they chase a buck however’s cheapest. So they do this (yeah, dishonest) theater garbage. But really, goes back to changes in the law and how the news is presented.
Plus the florida milk case (I believe) with Fox news vs. reporters - ruling basically said the news doesn’t have to be truthful and they can knowingly lie.
Kinda sucks really.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:40 PM on October 29, 2008


Would I call this "code-switching"? I don't think I would. I would simply call it being a weasel.

Hmmm.
posted by rokusan at 1:40 PM on October 29, 2008 [5 favorites]


No, I honestly think Palin and others are so ambitious they have ignored the likely implications of their actions and words, choosing instead to focus on the purest motivations and noblest intentions of their ideas, as we all do. Nobody who invented email thought, "I'm going to make the world's most efficient way of spreading junk messages around the world." That doesn't mean it wasn't a predictable result of their choices.

Nice backpeddle, anildash, but you say explicitly that she intends these results. They are 'designed' 'knowingly':

Through these arguments, it becomes clear that Sarah Palin's assertions are designed not to prove that Obama is unqualified for the office of the Presidency of the United States. Rather, she appears to be attempting to convince a substantial portion of her supporters that Obama supports terrorism against the United States and thus should be, at the very least, incarcerated as an enemy combatant (which we are doing to American citizens already) or at worst, assassinated for supporting terror. She has done this knowing full well that she can retain plausible deniability thanks to the ambiguity of her statements as they'll be interpreted by the media, by her detractors, and by her more reasonable supporters.

This is more than just an accusation of negligence or overweaning ambition. You're asserting an intention. That's what 'code switching' denotes: esoteric messages hidden with intentionality and premeditation. Don't weasel out of it now, we're all in on your 'true meanings' here.
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:43 PM on October 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


The two statements of mine that you've quoted do not contradict. I certainly hope everyone's clear on my true meanings.
posted by anildash at 2:04 PM on October 29, 2008


A right-wing politician uses the dog whistle? This is not news, or even interesting. I'm gagging for the next big US political thread as much as anyone, but this peg is not strong enough to hang on one.

There have been some great pieces on Palin's use of language at Language Log however.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:06 PM on October 29, 2008


When the message hits too close to home, change the message and go into attack mode, if and whenever possible!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:08 PM on October 29, 2008


I admit. I find her cute and attractive, but deep inside.....I know she sheds her skin at night.

As shown in Exhibit V.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:09 PM on October 29, 2008


more efficient text communication online : effective codes to drum up voter support :: scams, viruses, and junk : actions of citizens motivated by codes
posted by Tehanu at 2:09 PM on October 29, 2008


Smedleyman: an I wash raished here

There's an over-the-counter ointment for that you know.

anotherpanacea: Oh, I think that Palin's statements are carefully designed to foster the belief that Obama is a threat to national security, while maintaining some degree of plausible deniability. And yes, I think that at least half of what she says is carefully designed. The other half, which happens when a reporter goes "o rly?" and dares to ask for elaboration or clarification, is usually a disjointed windmill repetition of the same talking points.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:09 PM on October 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


In the first statement, you claim that assassination is a 'likely implication' and 'predictable result' of her words and actions but that she has 'the noblest intentions.' In the second, you say that her speeches are 'designed' 'to convince' people that Obama should be incarcerated or assassinated. Those are your words, parsed as you intended them, which is more charity than you've granted to those you accuse.
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:09 PM on October 29, 2008


Palin Shocker: McCain Won't Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions
posted by homunculus at 2:12 PM on October 29, 2008


Palin: "I Am Joe Mama."
posted by kirkaracha at 2:24 PM on October 29, 2008


I wash born here, an I wash raished here, and dad gum it, I am gonna die here, an no sidewindin' bushwackin', hornswagglin' cracker croaker is gonna rouin me bishen cutter

Smedleyman Johnson is RIGHT!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:26 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


> To pretend that there isn't racist, anti-muslim fearmongering going on is ridiculous. To
> pretend that it isn't being supported to some degree by all levels of the McCain campaign
> is just that, pretending.

Well, y'all will all be happy to know that ole Sarah's done paid for her sins in a fashion that's rather less subtle than "code switching."
posted by jfuller at 2:27 PM on October 29, 2008


You're making the Democratic party look like a bunch of loonies and I'll thank you to shut the fuck up until after the election. Please.




can we have this as the note under the preview box please ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:28 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Anil did a great job with that. The only thing I would disagree with is why the mainstream media avoids it. Some probably don't get it just like Anil says, but I think the ones that do are afraid to speak out for fear of being ridiculed, marginalized as extreme in their views, biased. Assertions like this that would seem outrageous to the average person, even if true, have to build from the blogosphere not from MSM. MSM will cover them once they gain enough traction that they can cautiously cover them by say that this is what some people are saying on blogs. They don't have to say this is true, just that people are saying it.
posted by caddis at 2:32 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Honest question - Why is it so hard for the media to call a politician a liar when they tell obvious lies?
posted by Ragma at 2:33 PM on October 29, 2008


rokusan: i wish i could flag YOU as awesome*. instead, i just have to settle for flagging your comment as OHMYGAWDTHATISSOFUCKINGHILARIOUSIJUSTBURPEDOBAMAKOOLAID!

*really. like, stick a flag that says "awesome" in your butt crack.
posted by CitizenD at 2:34 PM on October 29, 2008


Honest question - Why is it so hard for the media to call a politician a liar when they tell obvious lies?

If the MSM strays too far from Republican talking points, advertisers get nervous and pull ad dollars.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:36 PM on October 29, 2008


Consider the message calendar the McCain camp has been working with: they've spoken of a highly educated black man in terms of inexperience, antiwar radical William Ayres, and socialism. What do these four things have in common? What's the common denominator? They're all associated with the Sixties. The civil rights movement was good, sure, but in his supporters' minds may have been a little presumptuous, a little disruptive, and anyway led to race riots. The radicals and the hippies weren't good at all: they were Anti-American, hated the troops, engaged in violence against property, and demanded radical redistribution. That's the frame that the McCain camp is struggling to fit Obama into, and failing.

In large part, they're failing because his supporters don't get the message: the McCain camp wants people to see Malcolm X, or at least Denzel Washington playing Malcolm X. But because of recent events, people aren't interested in the Sixties any more. So they see terrorism not in terms of the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam but of the Muslim extremism. And that means that the McCain camp has to defend itself from those charges, from its supporter's own ignorance and fear, and especially as most of the moderate Republicans saw the inevitable and began to support Obama, McCain has nobody left to support him but the die hards and the crazies. I don't envy the McCain campaign, but then they were always doomed to lose and I can't think of a better strategy that would actually have stood a chance. A nobler strategy, sure, but not a winning one for a candidate whose own president is so unpopular, in an economy destined to sap your (perceived) strengths on foreign policy.

When you accuse the McCain camp of evil intent, you forgo all the actual analysis required to understand political campaigns for a cheap game of "exquisite corpse." That reduces our political landscape, which is already impoverished by all this 'framing' and 'spinning' and Madison Avenue advertising strategy, to a game of Make-Believe. "Let's pretend that Palin is plotting an assassination against Obama!" isn't a useful contribution. It is provocative though, so in that sense it's just more politics as theater, generating pageviews and ad revenue instead of a functioning democracy.
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:50 PM on October 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


That's supposed to be ridiculous. I think people who regularly read my site get the joke, and I'm okay if people who are new to the site don't.

You're ignoring that it's possible to get the joke and still find it ridiculous.
posted by justgary at 3:16 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


anotherpanacea: In large part, they're failing because his supporters don't get the message: the McCain camp wants people to see Malcolm X, or at least Denzel Washington playing Malcolm X. But because of recent events, people aren't interested in the Sixties any more. So they see terrorism not in terms of the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam but of the Muslim extremism.

The problem with this analysis, is that it requires that the McCain campaign is completely ignorant of the fact that Obama has been linked to Muslim extremists, by groups active within the Republican Party, (and the New Yorker.) The campaign knows that the connection has been made repeatedly, through chain-mail, discussions as to whether Obama is an apostate, images of waffle boxes, questions about his early education, emphasis on Hussein. Shakesville documents more than 103 separate cases of fearmongering in regards to Obama.

On other boards I read, not a day goes by that there is at least one post making the (completely wrong) case that Obama is a closet muslim, that he's a terrorist, that he's an anti-American radical who condones bombs.

9/11 changed everything, and I just don't buy the claim that when Palin drops "terrorist" as a dogwhistle in a stump-speech that she's tapping into slanders about Clinton that lost their relevancy 10 years ago, while the buz and chain-mails and the political cartoons link Obama to Islam, while Powell specifically refutes the claim that Obama is Muslim and that it would be a bad thing if he was.

When you accuse the McCain camp of evil intent, you forgo all the actual analysis required to understand political campaigns for a cheap game of "exquisite corpse."

The fundamental problem here is that we have a 200+ year history of evil intent by people running political campaigns. Palin and McCain have been criticized by multiple members of their own party for repeatedly using the Obma-terrorism rhetoric to fire-up participants at campaign rallies. Continuing to aggravate a problem after it's been repeatedly brought to your attention strikes me as strong evidence of bad intent.

(And for the record, I'm not a Democrat.)
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:30 PM on October 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


But why was it politically incorrect to put liberals on TV?

It's not politicially incorrect. Liberals don't translate well on TV because they see both sides of an issue (that's what liberalism is- it's a fair and balanced opinion of things). This confuses the prols, so they switch over to the channel that's more dumbed-down and black & white, issue-wise.

Which would you rather be? The news director who has to report to the network president with the dumbed-down version or the fair and balanced version of the news?

It had better be the former or can kiss your job goodbye and go work for Pacifica for $45k.
posted by Zambrano at 3:39 PM on October 29, 2008


You know what discussions like these always remind me of...

And that guy? Thought you were on his side.

I'm not saying that this is about sexism. I'm making a parallel between that example and the responsibility that people with influence and power wield when they speak to and for others. Words mean things. They change beliefs. They build solidarity between people and groups. They motivate and inspire action.

When you use words that insinuate or suggest ideas that can have serious negative consequences for others, even though YOU may not feel that way yourself, you may be validating and enabling people who have taken your reasoning one step further, or even one notch more extreme than you would. It's power in numbers, and when you feel that you have the uncalled-out backing of a very influential person who has indirectly suggested that your beliefs are sound, your confidence in taking further steps to complete the social equation skyrockets.

So yes, Palin or McCain don't directly say that Obama is a terrorist. But the interpretation of the subtext of that message is different for every person, with respect to their belief system, frame of reference, cultural background, personal experience and identity. For a person whose voice influences the lives of millions, not being aware of the power of the words you say to effect actions in the world is reckless, and sometimes criminal.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:40 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


If telling people that Obama is a terrorist, or at least supports them, does not include an assumed "and someone really should do something about that",

Yes, it does assume a proposed action: not vote for Obama.

I'm as big a Palin-loather as anyone, but Dash's essay was definitely paranoid and over the top.

You simply do not have to go as far as Dash does. I think this Ayers episode does not call for "language nerd" analyses. It's really quite easy to understand the split between those who lap up what Palin says about Ayers, and those who think it's far-fetched right-wing lunacy.

Latte-drinking, Saab-driving liberals can comfortably accomodate a former sixties bomb-throwing radical in their midst, because they understand sixties radicalism as facet of a historical episode in which many well-meaning people got caught up, almost in spite of themselves, in political violence as a counter to the Vietnam War to which they were passionately opposed. Even if the former sixties radical has not really repudiated his actions, this is forgivable because the radicalism was (a) really a reflection of strongly felt moral conviction, and (b) so long ago that it doesn't really matter.

Palin's fans, the Wal-Mart shopping fundamentalist hockey moms with five kids and a big involvement in weekly prayer/Bible study circles, cannot fathom how you could hang out with a former sixties radical (unless they had been "born again" "in Christ" and repudiated their actions). Such Palin-supporting people have a strongly obedient, authoritarian mindset. The sixties radicalism, for this type of person, is an example of everything that is wrong with this country --- people who are (a) disobedient to authority (which is an anathema to Palinites), (b) who use hifalutin' intellectual principles to justify the disobedience (and Palin's followers really have no experience with being passionately engaged with ideas). For these type of people, Ayers represents something that is deeply offensive to them: a disobedient lawbreaker, a terrorist, who not only got away with what he did but thrived at the top of an intellectual hierarchy by virtue of his intellect, education, and connections. The Wal-Mart crowd simply does not understand that. They believe there should be consequences. They do not move in a world in which one can bomb things and get away with it. They've got brothers in law whose meth labs exploded and are serving years in prison, while Ayers, who tried to bomb the Pentagon and actually speaks of his regret that he didn't bomb more things, is a celebrated distinguished professor. The Palin-loving fundie Wa-Mart crowd simply cannot comprehend that; it's a scary elite world where decadent radicals can bomb things and still thrive and prosper.

The idea that Obama would move comfortably in a world among such former sixties radicals is something liberals are perfectly fine with, but something that fundamentalist churchgoing moms simply cannot wrap their minds around.
posted by jayder at 3:45 PM on October 29, 2008 [11 favorites]


Anotherpanacea has been remarkably sharp here—the leaps in logic from Dash simply don't hold to a standard higher than "hurried blog entry."
posted by klangklangston at 3:47 PM on October 29, 2008


anildash, you expanded my horizons today by linking to the Wikipedia article on AAVE, which I had never heard of but have often heard.

I read through that article finding one example after another of speech patterns that are very familiar to me, but which I hadn't ever taken specific notice of before. He finna go to work... check. Aks... check. test is pronounced [tɛs]... check. feel and fill are homophones... check. For much of my youth (especially elementary school from '92 through '00), if I had thought about that dialect at all, it was "how dumb people spoke" and probably helped ingrain some nasty racial stereotypes that I'm trying to shake.

Seeing AAVE described and analyzed as a dialect, and discussed as a dialect in historical context including legal decisions about its use in schools, gave me one of those moments that expands your frame of reference, grabs what you think you know, and turns it 90°, making you say ohh, now I get it.
posted by lostburner at 3:48 PM on October 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


It's really quite easy to understand the split between those who lap up what Palin says about Ayers...

It's not that they're just lapping it up. It's that the McCain camp sees them lapping it up, and they see/hear what sort of flames they are fanning, especially at those rallies. They cannot not see that.

They also see... and again, they must see... that it's not helping them in the polls.

But then they continue doing it anyway. If it's not moving the polls... why are they doing it?
posted by rokusan at 3:50 PM on October 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


What's the common denominator? They're all associated with the Sixties.

You just described all of recent politics. 2004, for example.

Personally, one of Obama's major drawing points for me is that he is not obsessively reliving and fetishizing battles that happened 40 years ago.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:53 PM on October 29, 2008


For these type of people, Ayers represents something that is deeply offensive to them: a disobedient lawbreaker, a terrorist, who not only got away with what he did but thrived at the top of an intellectual hierarchy by virtue of his intellect, education, and connections. The Wal-Mart crowd simply does not understand that. They believe there should be consequences.

What do you think the average person at McCain rallies thinks those consequences should be? Don't you think the constant association of Obama with "terrorists" implies that McCain/Palin supporters should "do something" other than vote?

One dude implored McCain to "go end around the liberal media and line up all of Obama associates" ... line them up and do what?
posted by mrgrimm at 3:58 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


"People were screaming 'Terrorist!' 'Communist!' 'Socialist!'" Sorando said when we caught up with him. "I had a guy tell me he was gonna kill me." Asked what had precipitated the event, "We were just chanting 'Obama!' and holding our signs. That was it. And the crowd suddenly got crazy."

You know, I put up with the kneejerk anti Clinton nonsense for 8 years because, as much as I think (these largely hypocritical) modern day Puritans are silly to get up in arms about other people's private lives, there really was something detestable about him.

But after bearing witness to the egregious, unapologetic hatred inspired and unchecked by both the Hillary Clinton and McCain campaigns, I have arrived at the conclusion that deep-down, these people are not decent folk, they're haters. They are willfully participating and even reveling in a moment that directly descends from the darkest days of 20th Century America: busing riots, Jim Crow, lynchings, Mississippi Burning, the murders of King and RFK.

As much as Obama gives me hope that we can finally start turning the page on American racism (which Republicans have been telling me was extinct for last 20 years), I take in stories like these and ask myself if there's anything really worth saving here.
posted by psmealey at 4:00 PM on October 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Another thing that bothers me a lot throughout this election are the presuppositions that go along with the things that McCain and Palin have been saying. Such as the average American being a rural white guy (Joe sixpack, Joe the plumber), the danger in numbers (palling around with terrorists), that entire groups of people, faiths, and systems can be all bad (Muslims, socialism, etc.), that associating with bad people in any way makes you a bad person too (guilt by association), and most importantly, that when people do bad things they are forever marked as bad people (Ayers). There is no rehabilitation, no salvation, no amount of good one can do in the world can reverse the bad things you did before.

These are not healthy values. And the fact that these presuppositions go unchecked, unprotested, by people who have power and influence means that they are considered untroubling, or even acceptible. This is the status quo. It makes me fucking sick. I want change.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:02 PM on October 29, 2008 [13 favorites]


I want change.

I read that as 'cabbage', and I have no idea why.

posted by cortex at 4:15 PM on October 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried?

— Lincoln.

That Pre-Reagan enough for you? And you're not really disagreeing, just claiming that these people aren't "true conservatives".


Yes. Exactly. This Reagan/Bush "social conservative" version of conservativism does not represent true conservatism. A true conservative leader would not have led the country into Iraq or run up a trillion dollar deficit.

I'm a liberal but old school conservatism does have its values and before 1980, I would have considered voting republican. This new "social conservative" seems to aspire to some sort of fascist theocracy (And how ironic that the Americans most fearful of the "radical islamists" are the most like them).

And thanks for the Lincoln quote. Though I agree with the poster who said the man who signed the Emancipation Proclamation could never be a conservative, Lincoln certainly makes my point that there used to be worthwhile Republican politicians.
posted by cjets at 4:17 PM on October 29, 2008


Zambrano: ... (that's what liberalism is- it's a fair and balanced opinion of things).
Wait, what?
posted by Doofus Magoo at 4:20 PM on October 29, 2008


But then they continue doing it anyway. If it's not moving the polls... why are they doing it?

They think that the effect is just delayed. It's like the rat in the experiment that's learned to push the button to get a hit of cocaine and now the cocaine is turned off but the rat still keeps mashing the button hoping that it will work.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:31 PM on October 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


MUST... STIMULATE... HATE... CIRCUIT... FOR... COCAINE!!!
posted by Artw at 4:38 PM on October 29, 2008


And that is certainly enough people to form an audience for a [liberal/left-wing] TV or radio show or two.

There might be, but I think there is a reason that right-wing/conservative talk radio and tv are more popular - and you don't have to go farther than comparing CBC radio or NPR with right-wing shows. I wouldn't say either CBC or NPR are very liberal/left-wing*, but they are compared to a lot of commercial radio.

And, frankly, the commercial radio is more exciting. There is always something to DRAMATICALLY RANT about when you are talking about WELFARE BUMS or IMMIGRANTS or KIDS THESE DAYS. It's the audio version of The Daily Mail. It's a lot harder to get up a big loud, simply worded rant about how we should have MODERATE economic policy based on EVIDENCE and how really it's all quite COMPLICATED and there are NO EASY ANSWERS. It's just not rantable.

My mother, a gay-friendly, pro-multiculturalism and anti-poverty activist type, used to listen to the Canadian equivalent of Bill O'Reilly.** I asked her, why can't we just switch to the CBC? And she said that they were boring. And, frankly, CBC was quieter and less emotionally exciting, because they addressed issues in a thoughtful and careful way. Which isn't as good to drive to.


*I'm very aware right now of how liberal and left-wing don't mean the same thing - one is essentially about rights (aka gov't out of my bedroom), and the other about economic policy (that we as a society should promote economic equality).

** Michael Coren, for anyone who remembers Toronto Radio in the 1990s. I think it was CFRB - and mostly she didn't like Coren, but this other couple who were more middle of the road. But they were still really quite ignorant about social welfare and poverty issues, which should have pissed my mother off more.


------------------------

I have been thinking about the whole issue of language - both vocal and visual - in this election. And I think that the Democratic Campaign is much more sensitive to both than they ever have been in the past. Obama is himself quite talented at this - he's come out with powerful, simple slogans which have really caught on. They are much less substantial than previous Democratic slogans; what does "hope" mean in terms of policy? Or "change" or "yes, we can"? But it doesn't matter - their simplicity makes them powerful, and he can use them to get elected, and then get all complicated with the policy later. The man was a law professor; he can do the complicated. But he can also do the simple, and he knows he has to do the simple to get elected.

Like his recent comeback on the socialism thing. He knew that no one would listen to him if he laid out the technical differences between Marxist-Leninism and Democratic Socialism.*** But he could point out the stupidity of arguing "progressive taxes=socialism" by comparing it to saying that "sharing your toys in kindergarden=communism".


*** aka, a party like Canada's NDP. I don't know whether Obama would consider himself a democractic socialist, but I think he would sympathise with some of their positions. But even wishy-washy democratic socialism is still a political non-starter still in the United States.

Personally, I don't consider even very progressive taxes to be wealth redistribution; poor people pay a smaller % in taxes, but it's not like they stop being poor or are given income supplements. It's not even a half-step to true economic equality, it's just trying to make the tax system not egregiously unfair and to mitigate against the tendency of corporate capitalism to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. But then I am a democratic socialist, or at least a fellow traveller.

posted by jb at 4:39 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


about the law professor can do the complicated thing -

That wasn't just a random assertion based on academic stereotypes. I listened to that 2001 interview when he talked about civil rights, courts and economic redistribution, and he clearly had his law professor hat on, not his politician's hat (talk about register/dialect switching). It was a great short discussion on the limits of courts, the constitution and negative rights (I believe that is what they were called); they can guarentee voting and free speech, but can't change the basic economic power structures. And he didn't think courts had a place in trying to change economic inequality, but that this should be done through politics, including both at the community as well as the legislative level.

Yeah, so that interview that was supposed to make me hate him for being a socialist just made me like him for being a thoughtful commentator on a complicated issue. But he knows to leave that professorial way at home a lot of the time, and that talking about pie makes the point in a better and more colourful way.
posted by jb at 4:53 PM on October 29, 2008


Pony request: Each post and comment should have a cocaine dispensing "hate" button, similar to favorites but more hateful and cocainey.
posted by Artw at 4:58 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried?

— Lincoln.

That Pre-Reagan enough for you? And you're not really disagreeing, just claiming that these people aren't "true conservatives".

Yes. Exactly. This Reagan/Bush "social conservative" version of conservativism does not represent true conservatism. A true conservative leader would not have led the country into Iraq or run up a trillion dollar deficit.


How does Lincoln's concept of conservative relate to the paradigm of Tories/Whigs from the previous century, as well as the (liberal) nationalist movements of the 19th century - the liberal/radical movements that had culminated in 1848 versus the conservative and autocratic governments the revolutions hoped to topple?
posted by KokuRyu at 5:27 PM on October 29, 2008


Well, since the US already had a democratic government, and Britain had had a representational government (limited democracy, but definitely not autocratic) since the 13th century, anglo conservatism had a different mode. Parliament in Britain is never questioned in the 19th century - just who will be voting for it is.

That's the wordy answer for "I don't know US history" :) But I am reminded of how much words like liberal, conservative, leftwing and rightwing have moved around in the last two centuries, but have also always differed by place.
posted by jb at 5:41 PM on October 29, 2008


This analysis makes no sense at all. If Palin were speaking to the FBI or CIA or whoever would arrest Obama for "consorting" AKA palling around with terrorists and they got the message and arrested him, wouldn't there be a massive outcry? Of course there would be-- he's way too high profile to whisk off to a secret prison at the height of the campaign. that's nuts. Completely bonkers and conspiracy ridiculous.

OTOH, if she just speaking to average voters who do not have the power to do that, who cares if it's palling or consorting? They can't arrest him. All they can do is not vote for him, which they weren't going to do anyway if they buy this ridiculous nonsense.

If she's trying to provoke assassins-- consciously or unconsciously-- the cute language doesn't make any difference. They're crazy. They're going to get the message from the word terrorist. So, I just don't think code switching or anything else has anything to do with it.

She talks cute. She thinks its cute. it isn't.
posted by Maias at 7:02 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think it will be interesting to see the direction of the Republicans after the election (assuming McCain loses, of course). It looks like Palin will go toward the whole talk-radio/FOX/gelical crowd, but I'm wondering how many Republicans--particularly those who have been cold to the whole Palin thing--will start looking to dump that part of the party.

Of course, if the press is so liberal as the right likes to say, I hope I can look forward to the Palin press blackout, as the papers and sites show Palin that 'no access' can work both ways.
posted by troybob at 7:15 PM on October 29, 2008


My mother, a gay-friendly, pro-multiculturalism and anti-poverty activist type, used to listen to the Canadian equivalent of Bill O'Reilly.** I asked her, why can't we just switch to the CBC? And she said that they were boring.

My dad had a similar thing with Morton Downey Jr. And I have to admit he made for great TV. Limbaugh and O'Reilly are stuffed shirt bores compared to Mort. (Odd side effect: on the rare occasions that I did agree with him, it was really fun. A crazy motherfucker who's right is a blast to watch.

I also don't know that left-wing commentary always has to be numbingly sober and sincere. Guys like Abbie Hoffman knew how to be outrageous and righteous at the same time. Olbermann kind of has it.
posted by jonmc at 7:44 PM on October 29, 2008


But then they continue doing it anyway. If it's not moving the polls... why are they doing it?

I think that McCain has lost most of the control of his campaign, so what we are seeing now is designed to make it as hard as possible for the Democrats to govern effectively. Through ACORN, they are planting doubts in conservatives mines about the legitimacy of this election, and with all the terrorist stuff, they are trying to paint the Obama as fundamentally un American. After the election, the Republicans in congress and the republican base will probably be even more right wing they are now and using these talking points they will try to stop anything the Obama government does.
posted by afu at 7:52 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


The moose population might rest a little easier, but I can't see assassinating a VP candidate—even that VP candidate—as working out well for anybody.
posted by emelenjr at 8:35 PM on October 29, 2008


I also don't know that left-wing commentary always has to be numbingly sober and sincere.

I was so excited by the first couple of years of Air America. But even apart from their financial and leadership issues, I found I actually got just as tired of it as I did of Rush and Hannity et al. It was still angry ranting, still bitter and whiny. Randi Rhodes and Ed Schultz were really the exceptions - mostly because they did great radio, and I guess it's not a coincidence - they had radio careers that existed before and beyond Air America. But they also backed up their ranting with sources and bibliographies on their related blogs, so you could do your own footwork on their allegations. I always learned a few things listening to their shows, and they handled callers really well. They made me proud.

Chuck D's show on that network - with Rachel Maddow, early on - was also good, though Chuck D was hardly ever on after the inital launch.

But the thing is, even talk radio that was right up my alley started to bore me with its axe-grindy, one-note thrust. Most of us live in a nuanced, complicated world. And we understand the complications of our own worlds. Those simple messages are so seductive, and we keep gravitating to them...but they aren't really helping us live well in our complicated worlds.
posted by Miko at 8:54 PM on October 29, 2008


I don't like Air America at all because it is just "hate radio" from the left instead of the right. It's almost as though they purposely took all of the bad parts of the Rush Limbaughs of the world and used them as a prototype for their programming.

You don't counter hate with equal and opposite hate.
posted by leftcoastbob at 9:51 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


In the spirit of the lightening mood, there's this from 538:
John McCain is NOT closing Obama's margin as quickly as he needs to (if indeed he is closing it at all). This appears to be a 6- or 7- point race right now ... that's where we have it, that's where RCP has it, that where Pollster.com has it. In order to beat Barack Obama, John McCain will need to gain at least one point per day between now and the election. Our model does think that McCain has pared about a point off Obama's margin -- but it has taken him a week to do so. Now, McCain needs to gain six more points in six more days. And he needs to do so with no real ground game, no real advertsing budget, and no one particularly strong message. Not easy.
Not easy, no, but McCain sure is trying.
Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin accused the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday of protecting Barack Obama by withholding a videotape of the Democrat attending a 2003 party for a Palestinian-American professor and critic of Israel. The paper said it had written about the event in April and would not release the tape because of a promise to the source who provided it.

McCain and Palin called Rashid Khalidi a former spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization, a characterization Khalidi has denied in the past. Both candidates said guests at the party made critical comments about Israel.

Khalidi is a professor of Middle East Studies at Columbia University and a longtime friend of Obama's. Khalidi has publicly criticized Israel, but he and Obama have both said they hold very different opinions on Israeli issues.

"Among other things, Israel was described there as the perpetrator of terrorism rather than the victim," Palin said at a rally in Ohio. "What we don't know is how Barack Obama responded to these slurs on a country that he professes to support."

"If there was a tape of John McCain in a neo-Nazi outfit, I think the treatment of the issue would be slightly different," McCain said in an interview with Hispanic radio stations.

In a story published in April, the Times said Obama spoke out at the event on the need for common ground on the Israel-Palestinian issue. Obama has said during the campaign that his commitment to Israel's security is "nonnegotiable."
I guess this means we can expect the "terrorist" drum will continue to be hammered upon, that the hate rhetoric will continue. This is really all they have left. They've lost this race on every other issue, and have only incitation to fall back on.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:19 AM on October 30, 2008


College Professor = Terrorist, Obama = College Professor. It is fantastic that islamo-facists are recruiting from Columbia University and the University of Illinois. the christiano-facists wish they could recruit in colleges, but it just doesn't seem to take.

The Republicans should just say that they don't hold with book learnin'. Get it out in the open.
posted by ewkpates at 4:02 AM on October 30, 2008


The Republicans should just say that they don't hold with book learnin'. Get it out in the open.

The part I don't get about this Khalidi non-controversy is that the LA Times reported on this in April. So why is Team McCain bringing it up now?

Khalidi and Obama, as the article points out, have both repeatedly said that they disagree with each other on the Israel question, and Khalidi is himself no terrorist. If this is McCain's flacid attempt at an "October surprise", it should be more accurately called an October strawgrasp.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:40 AM on October 30, 2008


The Khalidi thing is epically lame. Here's the Fight the Smears link about it. Even better: McCain has his own ties to Khalidi, so I'm surprised they're going with that attack.
In 1993, McCain became chairman of the International Republican Institute. He still chairs that respected organization.

That same year, Khalidi helped found the Center for Palestine Research and Studies, self-described as “an independent academic research and policy analysis institution” created to meet “the need for active Palestinian scholarship on issues related to Palestine.”[...]

Khalidi was on the board of trustees through 1999.

According to tax returns, the McCain-chaired IRI funded the organization Khalidi founded and served on to the tune of $448,873 in 1998 [...] as first reported by Seth Couter Walls at HuffPo.

The IRI continued to give money to the CPRS after Khalidi left the group as well.
Source, which includes several good links, including a PDF to the referenced tax returns.
posted by shiu mai baby at 5:59 AM on October 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


Thanks, shiu mai baby. Both links not only smack down the scare tactics McCain-Palin are trying to push on America, but also constantly refer to events and quotations from last spring. The only thing that's changed since then, is McCain is trying to shame the LA Times into releasing the tape. This week. The LA Times is right to stand by the requests of their sources, but I almost wish they would release it, if only to pre-emptively refute what Team McCain's "anonymous sources" might say is also on the tape. "Oh, and after he toasted Khalidi, Obama set an Israeli flag on fire and danced on it. A jig, I think it was, although it might have been the quickstep."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:17 AM on October 30, 2008


I think another thing McCain/Pailin is interested in seeing on that tape is allegedly that sinister terrorist William Ayers was at the party. The McCain/Palin people know that there's nothing damning on the tape that wasn't in the original article in the Times (which wasn't damning). But they want the video released to be able to have it while the scary voiceover person goes on and on about Obama's connection with terrorists.

Although the LA Times did endorse Obama, I do think it if there was something that was newsworthy in the video, they'd try and get the source to OK putting it up on their site. Or they would write an article going more into what is on the video.

This reminds me of ACORN thing where it turns out that McCain "has ties to" that evil organization, too. It seems that every time McCalin/Palin makes one of these accusations, about 12-24 hours later it turns out they are also connected, and in some ways worse.

It is also a way for McCain to say the elite liberal media are in the tank for Obama. Damn this media. He's using news cycles to talk about this rather than actually give substantive reasons why he thinks he's a better candidate than Obama.

I also like the ad that was on after the Obama infomercial last night saying Obama wasn't ready... yet. They are back to the experience tactic again, except now they have Palin's inexperience to ignore (just like the editorials in newspapers that say Obama isn't experienced and don't even talk about Palin).
posted by birdherder at 7:27 AM on October 30, 2008


I tried doing a search for the string "Anonymous" on Anil's post, and my browser exploded. And Anil, you give her far too much credit. While I agree that she's engaging in a form of dog whistle politics, she certainly isn't coming by it naturally or with any novelty. This is Bush's game, by way of Reagan and Nixon. It is despicable, however, and I'm with you in wanting her to remove herself from the ticket. It won't happen, of course, and most likely we have four years of her and Mitt Romney to look forward to, bitching on the sidelines while Obama and Co. do the work of fixing all the "wonder-works" Bush has done.
posted by littlerobothead at 7:59 AM on October 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


""Oh, and after he toasted Khalidi, Obama set an Israeli flag on fire and danced on it. A jig, I think it was, although it might have been the quickstep.""

Obama's a black man. Of course they'll say it was a jig he danced.
posted by klangklangston at 10:01 AM on October 30, 2008


The whole way she whips up hatred in the crowd, and McCain too to a lesser extent, is shameful. These are like Hitler's Nazi tactics. Create a bogey man and inflame hatred against them. Here it is liberals. Now don't just hate them for being the other party, no, they are un-American, they are so other that anything goes (except that last part is said using the code switching). Some of these crazies are going to do something really terrible, mark my words (I hope I get to eat them), like blowing up the Murrow building. She is railing about terrorists blah, blah, blah, but what she is going to do is create terrorists. So there you have it, I have just accused Sarah Palin of fomenting terrorism. She is doing it, I just hope she fails.
posted by caddis at 6:19 PM on October 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sarah Palin speaks on the First Amendment
posted by homunculus at 4:34 PM on October 31, 2008


The comments on Salon are enlightening:

Criticizing God's Anointed (Sarah Palin) is a violation of Freedom of Speech. Being a Muslim, an Atheist or a non-"Messianic" Jew violates Christains' Freedom of Religion. Belonging to a Progressive group or the Democratic Party violates Conservatives' Freedom of Association. Protesting government actions violates all Americans' Freedom to Petition.

It's pretty near-fetched.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:32 PM on October 31, 2008


The frightening thing is that these backward fundies really do see our rights this way, and if put in office would implement policies consistent with their deranged views.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:26 AM on November 1, 2008


Palin's Super-Saver Re-Traumatizing Days
posted by homunculus at 2:36 PM on November 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Two radio hosts in Quebec successfully prank called Sarah Palin (show site with audio). News article.

Thanks, Canada. I needed a good laugh.
posted by Tehanu at 4:51 PM on November 1, 2008


Palin Warns Of Far-Left Take Over Of Federal Government, Outs Herself As A Klingon
posted by homunculus at 12:21 PM on November 3, 2008


DoghwI'!
posted by shiu mai baby at 12:33 PM on November 3, 2008


Palin Warns Of Far-Left Take Over Of Federal Government, Outs Herself As A Klingon

No, no. Palin is a Ferengi. I thought this was obvious.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:45 PM on November 3, 2008


« Older And the B-Boy Shall Bust Moves To The Bluegrass....  |  Using copper alloys for surfac... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments