HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Monday, August 04, 2008

 
FNB Politics

by digby

Perlstein dug up his prophetic essay from March 2007 about the character of the coming Republican presidential campaign:


Faggot. Nigger. Bitch. Please excuse the blunt language. From here forward, to avoid the ugly words, I’ll refer to it as “FNB politics.” With little to show the electorate in 2008—after six years of uninterrupted control—besides sub-standard care from a privatized workforce at Walter Reed Hospital, thrice-married “family values” presidential candidates, and a boom in home foreclosures, the conservative base’s 2008 strategy has begun to emerge: Weaken the major Democratic opponents by making their image unpalatable to the public.

He goes on to describe the many ways we've already seen Democrats derided exactly that way through this campaign. His predictions about Obama are especially interesting:

FNB politics cam be tricky to write about, and to pin down, because it relies on surfacing deep-seated anxieties and archetypes that, when revealed to the light of day, appear ridiculous. It’s even trickier to fashion indictments—in a bottom-up media ecology where Karl Rove need never say “show Edwards carrying a purse” (like the Johnson aide caught on tape in July 1964 suggesting that his campaign cast Barry Goldwater as radioactive by using images of “kids being born with two heads”) to start the evolution in motion.

Take the saga of Trinity United Church of Christ and its “black value system”—a crucial building block in the absurd smear that Barack Obama is a Manchurian black nationalist. The first mention I could find of it via the blog search engine Technorati came in July, on a site called PollywogCreekPorch. The next was December 8, on the site Faith and Action, which reports that an “exclusive commitment to a cultural and national identity played a major role in Obama’s decision to identify himself with Christianity.” You find the claim proliferating around the time the madrassa smear refused to stick; a key driver was a column titled “Barack Hussein Obama: Who Is He?” by none other than Ted Sampley, the pioneering swift boater who invented the charge that John McCain was brainwashed by communists. By February, Tucker Carlson was quoting the Trinity document, noting it “calls for congregants to be ’soldiers for Black freedom.’”

Handily, he dropped the second part of the clause, “… and the dignity of all humankind.” That message—looking after your own ethnic group is complimentary, not incompatible, with aspirations to universal justice—is less controversial; it’s the lesson every Diaspora Jew is taught from the cradle. But is Barack Obama only out to help blacks? The doubt has been planted in the public mind.

Doesn’t this contradict another Limbaugh slur—that Obama is “Halfrican” (the implication being that he was only pretending to be black, sneaking in the affirmative action back door)? It’s another tricky facet of writing about FNB politics: In a discourse that plays on half-conscious archetypes, opposites can cohabit comfortably—as in dreams. John Dower, for example, in his brilliant War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War, shows the simultaneous stereotypes of Japanese as pathetically weak midgets and indomitable giant monsters. Surrogates need only throw various archetypes “out there,” as they say; the dungeon that is the human subconscious can be counted on to do the rest.

It gets downright gothic in the case of Obama. One of Limbaugh’s ongoing jabs is that white female reporters find him sexually irresistible. “Snerdley is convinced Maureen [Dowd] wants Barack Obama,” he sighs. “I don’t even want to go there.” He depicted Time’s Ana Marie Cox as helpless before Obama’s overpowering sexuality, putting the following thoughts into her head: “Well, there’s no question the power is crackling through his jeans!”

It reminds me of a Nixon masterpiece. The visuals for the Republican presidential candidate’s most pathbreaking commercials in 1968 featured only mood-setting stills. The one that began with Nixon intoning, “It is time for an honest look at the problem of order in the United States,” flashed pictures of burned out buildings—no black rioters, just the consequences of what rampaging blacks did. Then, finally, on a rubble-strewn street, a close-up of a mannequin that, if you weren’t paying attention, could scan subconsciously as a naked white woman lying helpless in the middle of the street: Birth of a Nation time.



And here's the key:

The genius of FNB politics is that it can make those who diagnose it sound like barking moonbats. Sometimes you have a case. Sometimes, you’re just being paranoid (Matt Druge says “Dems rumble in Hollywood jungle; Clinton-Obama throwdown”—Aha! Jungle!—and “Obama team takes a ’Lincoln Bedroom’ shot”). And it’s often only in retrospect that the game seems truly deliberate. In 1952, Nixon used the word “traitor” to describe Dean Acheson, Adlai Stevenson, and Harry Truman. Outrageous!, Democrats responded. Whatever do you mean?, Nixon said in wounded tones, claiming he’d been misunderstood; he only meant they were “traitors to the high principles in which many of the nation’s Democrats believe.” Today, it’s obvious that he meant to suggest, you know, the crime of treason.

The bonus: His charge also revealed liberals as shrieking and hypersensitive. That’s the problem with FNB politics, and Reagan showed it better than anyone. He used to make jokes: About Africans, “When they have a man for lunch, they really have him for lunch.” So, when gubernatorial candidate Pat Brown distributed a pamphlet (“Ronald Reagan, Extremist Collaborator—An Exposé”) of such quotations in 1966, it backfired. Reagan was making a joke! Why are these liberals so humorless?





Read the whole thing, here.


.