Monday, March 02, 2009

Not Quite

I really admire John Amato's work but this time he's just off target. Citing uber right wing propagandist Alex Castellanos saying this:

"Alex: Listening to Barack Obama is like having sex, the worst it ever was, was excellent."

He interprets it to be a dog whistle for this:

"....he's trying to dehumanize President Obama with childish sex jokes and in an way feminize him sexually which in the sick recesses of the Castellanos class, will make him a less effective leader."

But that's not right. Its a totally different dog whistle--not the "feminizing" one and certainly not the "dehumanizing one" which though similar aren't at all the same. This has to do with the struggle on the right wing over two different ways of accounting for, and discrediting, Obama as a speaker and as a leader. On the one hand there were and are right wing propagandists and voters who insist that "Barry...uh..." is practically suffering from a speech impediment and is almost too stupid to do other than read a teleprompter very, very, badly. This group spent a lot of time complaining about the "hypocrisy" of the left for attacking Bush as stupid when it was "obvious" that Obama was as much or more of an empty suit as Bush himself. Lets call them the "who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes" school of Freepers and propagandists. Then there were the more subtle serpents, of the Karl Rove and Alex Castellanos variety. They realized very quickly that Obama could be, and as it turns out will be, the next "Great Communicator" and they choose a different mode of undercutting him and his legitimacy. They overemphasize his charm and political and oratorical skills. Thus, every speech is going to be the greatest--and if it isn't they will discover him to be in decline. Every political act must be perfect, or if it isn't then his presidency is over. Lets call it the "kill him with kindness" routine. Its a variant of concern trolling where Rove, or Castellanos, shakes his head in generous awe at what a great speechifiyer Obama turns out to be, leaving the audience to remember "slick willy" and to imagine that underneath all that awesome word power is a liar and a cheat (the sex crack). But, of course, slick willy itself was a made up nickname which was no more than a clever inversion and perversion of the power in Reagan's own nickname "the teflon president." What is virtue in a Republican will always return as a flaw in a Democrat, at least as long as we are listening to Republicans tell the tale.