Abominations of the World

by Henry on August 5, 2008

“Scott”:http://www.artsjournal.com/quickstudy/2008/08/verily.html at his other place blogs about the latest McCain video (which is so staggeringly bad at achieving its purported aims that it doesn’t make sense _except_ as a dogwhistle video).


Scott:

Maud Newton and I have something in common — something we do not share with most of our colleagues and neighbors and friends, nowadays, at least since each of us moved to Yankee-stan.

We both grew up in the South, not just “around fundamentalists” but within the shadow of all those “beasts with seven horns and ten crowns,” and “baskets of locusts with scorpion tails,” and “golden cups filled with the abominations of the world” and whatnot described in the apocalyptic books of Daniel, Ezekiel, and St. John. (Some friends have urged me to write about getting out from under that shadow — but man, how do you even start?)

Thus it is that we can watch this John McCain video and see the same thing …Maud “gets it”:http://maudnewton.com/blog/?p=8777, though I might venture to quibble very slightly:

It is designed to galvanize a very specific group: Evangelical Christians of the End Times, Rapture-Ready variety. It is designed, more to the point, to scare the shit out of these people by insinuating that Barack Obama is the Antichrist. This is a particularly nefarious and crafty argument to make because it is the one context in which all the candidate’s strengths — his smarts, his articulateness, his contagious smile and way with people — can become evidence against him. All these traits are associated in the Bible with the charismatic, popular, well-spoken man who is supposed to become the leader of the world and bring about the Tribulation.

My possible point of dispute is based on a recollection that there is another character in this scenario — a false prophet who works with the Antichrist (preparing the way for him more or less as John the Baptist did for Jesus)

On which, see further the (neither late nor great) Hal Lindsey’s recent article, “How Obama Prepped the World for the Antichrist”:http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/08/hal_lindsey_lives_and_associat.php.

Obama is correct in saying that the world is ready for someone like him – a messiah-like figure, charismatic and glib and seemingly holding all the answers to all the world’s questions.

And the Bible says that such a leader will soon make his appearance on the scene. It won’t be Barack Obama, but Obama’s world tour provided a foretaste of the reception he can expect to receive.

He will probably also stand in some European capital, addressing the people of the world and telling them that he is the one that they have been waiting for. And he can expect as wildly enthusiastic a greeting as Obama got in Berlin.

The Bible calls that leader the Antichrist. And it seems apparent that the world is now ready to make his acquaintance.

Which brings me to Ross Douthat, who in a series of “really”:http://rossdouthat.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/07/barack_hitler_obama.php “terrible”:http://rossdouthat.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/07/britney_and_cryptoracism.php “posts”:http://rossdouthat.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/07/dana_milbank_cryptoracist.php has suggested that there’s _nothing to_ the McCain campaign’s association of Obama with loose blonde celebrity-wimmin, Nuremberg rally style imagery etc and anyone who says different is just a big old liberal paranoid. Now, this isn’t the first time in recent history that Republican smear-merchants have tried to draw the black-male-politician-to-hawt-Paris-Hilton-celebrity-party “connection”:http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2008/08/fancy-celebrities-by-digby-i-happened.html but perhaps that’s just one of them unfortunate coincidences.

But the broader point is that Douthat (and David Brooks, and other ‘nice’ conservatives) are in denial. They’ve tied their fortunes to a party whose electoral success partly depends on getting the xenophobic, racist, homophobe and religious fanatic vote out. The McCain campaign _needs_ to get these people to the polling booths, while simultaneously not alienating moderates too much, if it is to have any chance at all of winning the election. And I don’t think it’s news to anyone that the McCain people _want_ to win the election. Hence, the optimal strategy is dogwhistle messaging of exactly the kind we’ve been seeing. I’m pretty sure that Douthat himself isn’t xenophobic, racist, homophobic or religiously fanatical. But he, and others like him, either need to make their peace with the fact that they are in bed with the crazies (and that this is likely to be the case for the forseeable future), or get out. There isn’t any middle ground, and the denialism is wearing very, very thin.

{ 73 comments }

1

littlehorn 08.05.08 at 3:45 pm

It does make sense. It’s true there’s a whole lot of messianismism and Obama plays on that. The end is very weak though.
“He may be the one but will he be ready to lead” ?
Well, if he’s the one, doesn’t that imply being ready to lead ?

2

Bloix 08.05.08 at 3:48 pm

Whether or not Brooks and Douthat are “in denial,” they are doing precisely what they would be doing if they were operatives deployed in support of a centralized scheme. Their job is to prevent anti-McCain sentiment from developing among political elites while the dogwhistle campaign continues. I don’t know Douthat and it’s of no interest to me to speculate about whether he is “personally xenophobic.” He makes his living by providing cover for racists and fascists, and that’s all I need to know.

3

littlehorn 08.05.08 at 3:52 pm

I hadn’t realized there was more to read.

Well, I didn’t take the video to mean what you said, that is, I didn’t feel like it was telling me Obama is the Antichrist. I thought it was more about mocking Obama’s messianism. The scene with Heston as Moses was funny.

4

rawdawgbuffalo 08.05.08 at 4:00 pm

well the way i see it, crook by another name is John McCain

5

Dave 08.05.08 at 4:19 pm

I was hoping for some Matrix-style kung-fu and spinning camera’s.

6

Chuck 08.05.08 at 4:28 pm

You know, I had similar thoughts when I saw the McCain “One” ad. It’s definitely evoking the end times/Antichrist idea (although, IIRC, by their theology, Obama can’t possibly *be* the Antichrist). That actually makes the Moses reference at the end make even more sense, too.

In other news, Hal Lindsey is still alive!?!?

7

CJColucci 08.05.08 at 4:54 pm

But McCain knew Moses. Moses was a friend of his. Barack Obama is no Moses.

8

Jason 08.05.08 at 4:59 pm

See, in these shows, the bad guy’s never who you think it is. The antichrist is actually the big dude in the cap who can’t keep his hands out of his pockets. We know who’s really pulling the strings.

And just so I understand: is McCain implying that Moses isn’t ready to be President, either?

9

Kieran Healy 08.05.08 at 5:19 pm

Crooked Timber: Objectively Pro-Antichrist.

10

ed 08.05.08 at 5:23 pm

Bloix gets it. Brooks and Douthat (Brooks in waiting) are doing what they do: Soft-pedaling Republican talking points.

11

Joseph 08.05.08 at 5:29 pm

Much like Saturday Night Live, they don’t seem to know how to end the skit (as littlehorn notes). Out of curiosity, does anyone have top-of-mind figures on how many people vote based primarily on keeping the Antichrist at bay?

12

Kevin Donoghue 08.05.08 at 5:38 pm

Why should Douthat worry about being “in bed with the crazies”? Their votes are as good as anyone else’s.

13

noen 08.05.08 at 6:13 pm

Do maybe some fundamentalists feel as though they should vote for Obama? Wouldn’t the reasoning go like: Obama is the anti-Christ, vote for him to bring about Christs return. Sure sure, you are voting for the anti-Christ and hence Satan, but it’s also a vote for Jesus isn’t it? ‘Cause we peeked at the end of the Book and we know who wins.

14

Kevin Donoghue 08.05.08 at 6:31 pm

Joseph,

A huge number of Americans (something like one in eight) have read the Left Behind novels and judging by excerpts that isn’t because they are well written. So my guess is that the Antichrist is an issue in this election.

neon,

I think the relevant text says: “evil things must needs come, but woe to him through whom they come.” So voting for the Antichrist is a high-risk strategy, salvation-wise.

15

Righteous Bubba 08.05.08 at 6:40 pm

A huge number of Americans (something like one in eight) have read the Left Behind novels

I like to be a mopey misanthrope but I find this very hard to believe.

16

Grand Moff Texan 08.05.08 at 7:09 pm

It’s true there’s a whole lot of messianismism and …

There’s a whole lot of desperation, and it’s attached itself to the non-establishment candidate. Obama may not be a progressive (he talks like a legislator: always looking for a compromise), but if the parties’ elites had had their way, the race would be between McCain and Clinton, and the outcome would have been pre-determined.

Both parties have been rent from top to bottom by base rebellions. The GOP was able to avoid an insurgency candidate because of its “winner take all” delegate system in the primaries. But the Democratic party’s base was able to overturn Clinton’s “inevitability” (remember that?), so all of the anguish of the last eight years has attached itself to Obama.

It doesn’t help that he’s run a grass-roots campaign. That only makes it worse. And it does help that his election will be a milestone for people who care about that sort of thing. But those are only amplifiers. You could put a can of spam up on the podium and Americans would go apeshit, just because they’re terrified of continuing the status quo.

I’ll say that again: terrified. “Change” isn’t the appeal, as a positive. “Nothing is ever going to fucking change” is the near-omnipresent nightmare, and folks are running from it.
.

17

Sk 08.05.08 at 7:12 pm

Notice the date, and who it is that is comparing Obama to Paris (hint: its not McCain).

Damn that Republican smear merchant Obama!!!

The Senator’s Humble Beginning
Rising Star Barack Obama Is Resolutely Down to Earth

By Mark Leibovich
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, FEBRUARY 24, 2005; Page C01

There’s nothing exotic or complicated about how phenoms are made in Washington, and, more to the point, how they are broken.

“Andy Warhol said we all get our 15 minutes of fame,” says Barack Obama. “I’ve already had an hour and a half. I mean, I’m so overexposed, I’m making Paris Hilton look like a recluse.”

18

Kevin Donoghue 08.05.08 at 7:14 pm

Righteous Bubba,

Maybe your scepticism is justified, but Newsweek says:

Jenkins takes issue with a previous NEWSWEEK piece that called “Left Behind” a “Red State” phenomenon, but statistics from the publisher, Tyndale, bear this out: 71 percent of the readers are from the South and Midwest, and just 6 percent from the Northeast. (Hence Tyndale’s sponsorship of a NASCAR racer, with the unlucky logo LEFT BEHIND.) The “core buyer” is a 44-year-old born-again Christian woman, married with kids, living in the South. This isn’t the “Sex and the City” crowd–which helps explain why it took so long for the media to notice that one in eight Americans was reading all these strange books about the end of the world.

19

Grand Moff Texan 08.05.08 at 7:26 pm

But the broader point is that Douthat (and David Brooks, and other ‘nice’ conservatives) are in denial.

You couldn’t be more wrong. They’ve handled these people at arm’s length, with the other hand holding their nose, for their entire political lives. Their entire political machine depends for its very existence on the ability to compensate for the tiny demographic footprint of those few who actually benefit from Republican policies with the votes of those they can get to vote against an America that doesn’t look like them anymore.

Mass emails circulate every day saying that Obama IS “the antichrist,” which evangelicals’ half-assed knowledge of the bible has transformed from “those who deny Christ” in John’s epistles, to “the bad guy with the thing in the movie I saw” in Crackerstan. It’s not a suggestion, it’s a bold assertion, base on a dumbed-down, cargo-cult version of what used to be Christianity.

I can’t count, furthermore, the number of times I’ve heard whites say that if Obama is elected, the blacks are going to lord it over us, retaliating for etc., etc., etc.

Adding the Leaning Tower of Pisa into an ad with the Washington Monument and the Siegessäule is a reminder of the terrible spectre of negroid sexual supremacy. The end of the world shit would be ironic, if it weren’t being served to morons (i.e., shouldn’t evangelicals vote FOR Obama, if it will hasten The End Times™?) It’s the only way McCain can consolidate a base that doesn’t like him.
.

20

Righteous Bubba 08.05.08 at 7:32 pm

Maybe your scepticism is justified, but Newsweek says:

It seems to me that the “one in eight” might be a charitable bit of math in which the US population is divided by the sales figures for the series as a whole, which around that time was fifty or sixty million worldwide (and I assume the “worldwide” means not many sales off-continent). That’s still an enormous number and maybe the books get passed around, but there are a lot of books in the series.

On the other hand I read half of one in the lobby of a cancer ward. I am perhaps part of that dreadful statistic.

21

Righteous Bubba 08.05.08 at 7:36 pm

fifty or sixty million worldwide

Er, sixty-two million as outlined by Newsweek.

22

MDHinton 08.05.08 at 8:21 pm

Of course, you all love this guy, Obama, simply because he has the word ‘Democrat’ after his name, but may I just carefully point out that from a British perspective his ‘messianic’, ‘I’m the man to change the world’ style does look pretty ridiculous. Any British party would be thoroughly embarassed to have him and the press would laugh him out of any chance of high office. His performance smacks of hubris – and that is what this, admittedly clumsy, video is pointing out. The anti-christ thing is really clever though. Do people over there REALLY believe that stuff?

23

Grand Moff Texan 08.05.08 at 8:24 pm

Of course, you all love this guy, Obama, simply because he has the word ‘Democrat’ after his name

Flee! All is discovered! O, what a world! I say we are undone!

Meanwhile, they hated Obama in the UK.
.

24

Righteous Bubba 08.05.08 at 8:26 pm

Of course, you all love this guy

Who does?

from a British perspective his ‘messianic’, ‘I’m the man to change the world’ style

Tony Blair had a whole lot to say about change too. Gordon Brown, I believe, has also promised to change things.

25

someguy 08.05.08 at 8:51 pm

The ad was very disappointing.

I like to think I have a very active imagination and enjoy a good miscegenation
fantasy at least as much as the next guy but the ad did absolutely nothing for me.

Bummer.

26

Ginger Yellow 08.05.08 at 9:37 pm

“Any British party would be thoroughly embarassed to have him and the press would laugh him out of any chance of high office.”

Yeah, because there was nothing messianic about Blair at all.

27

hardindr 08.05.08 at 9:46 pm

I think this campaign commercial, along with the earlier one that tried to connect Obama with Hilton and Spears, isn’t particularly deep or have any hidden messages regarding religion or race. I think both of them are trying to make Obama look like he isn’t experienced enough or ready to be president, that he isn’t “in touch” with the American people and that he is presumptuous and too arrogant. Those lines of attacks on Democrats have been constant narratives of Republican presidential campaigns for the past 30 years.

28

Colin Danby 08.05.08 at 9:46 pm

Can’t get enuf of that British Perspective.

29

dave heasman 08.05.08 at 10:31 pm

“The anti-christ thing is really clever though. Do people over there REALLY believe that stuff?”

I’m an elderly Englishman who reads bits of Fred Clark’s exegesis of the first Left Behind book. (www.slacktivist.com). And I sussed the Nicolae Carpathia meme within the first 5 seconds of that video.

The don’t have to “really believe” it; it’s a story, and people live in stories. Most people. Maybe all people.

30

John Quiggin 08.05.08 at 10:33 pm

My acquaintance with this kind of thing is limited to a long-ago viewing of one of the Omen movies, and the message jumped out at me. Is it a dog whistle if someone with only low-frequency hearing can pick up loud and clear?

31

herr doktor bimler 08.05.08 at 10:47 pm

The time is ripe for the phrase “elephant-subsonic politics”.

32

rea 08.06.08 at 12:05 am

The anti-christ thing is really clever though. Do people over there REALLY believe that stuff?

These people aren’t some purely American development, you know–you British have a long tradition of religious crazies, and these people come right out of that tradition. The Puritans, the Covenanters, more recent characters like Charles Gordon (played by Moses in the movie) and William Booth, even contemporaries like Ian Paisley, all fit into the same line of descent.

33

noen 08.06.08 at 12:26 am

His performance smacks of hubris

Running for president of the last remaining super power (for the time being at least) will do that.

34

joseph duemer 08.06.08 at 2:14 am

Anyone who grew up among American fundamentalist Christians will “get” this ad from the first sentence; others, not so much. And that is exactly the point isn’t it?

35

Jon H 08.06.08 at 2:50 am

Anyone want to put money on whether Kirk Cameron (star of the Left Behind movies) will make an appearance in a McCain ad?

36

Jon H 08.06.08 at 2:51 am

Would it be wrong to spread rumors that the Rapture is going to happen on election day and that everyone should stay home making sure their loved ones are right with Jesus?

37

Hume's Ghost 08.06.08 at 4:54 am

I’ve spent my whole life living in the Bible belt. I have an uncle that has read all the Left Behind books, believes they are a plausible account of what is the soon to be return of Christ, and often tries to give me advice on how to live through the End Times given that I am not “saved.”

The instant I saw that video I recognized it as dog whistle for Obama as Antichrist.

http://dailydoubt.blogspot.com/2008/08/mccain-campaign-blows-dog-whistle-for.html

I also noted that about a week before the ad came out, Limbaugh and Hannity and co. were playing the Gerard Baker satire from the London Times which also hit the proper dog whistle notes for Obama as Antchrist.

And echoing the previous commenter, if you’ve read the first Left Behind novel, particularly the section about the Antichrist Carpathia’s first televised appearance in front of a UN reception, you’ll recognize immediately the same themes being played upon in the commercial. (E.g. Charismatic, young politician with somewhat meteoric rise; speaks about unity, peace, etc, gets a roaring ovation of, journalists lose their objectivity to cheer for him, blah blah)

38

Hume's Ghost 08.06.08 at 5:01 am

I would note that Hal Lindsey wrote at WND that Obama is kind of paving the way for the Antichrist, but I would not conclude Lindsey is suggesting Obama is False Prophet, although I would agree there are plenty of dispensationalists who might think he is.

I say this because of this:
“This person (The False Prophet), who is called the second beast, is going to be a Jew. Many believe he will be from the tribe of Dan, which is one of the tribes of the original progenitors of the nation of Israel” – Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth

39

Hume's Ghost 08.06.08 at 5:04 am

‘Anyone who grew up among American fundamentalist Christians will “get” this ad from the first sentence; others, not so much. And that is exactly the point isn’t it?’

Yeah

Figures like Limbaugh and Hannity promote the more plainly extremist ideas of “right-wing” conspiracists in a palatable form (e.g. the Baker piece which does not explicitly say Obama has something to do with the Anti-Christ.) A venue like WorldNetDaily serves as a sort of nexus point – a place where the extreme and the mainstream blur. At WND you can find mainstream figures like Bill O’Reilly along with more fringe figures like David Kupelian. Hal Lindsey’s article there ties together the extreme (his End of Days beliefs) with the mainstream (the Baker satire.) This is demonstrative of the morphing of the secular/mainstream form of this meme with the religious/fringe version: this process is what allows McCain’s ad to function as a kind of amphibian vehicle that works on both levels (as simple mockery of Obama’s popularity and as a warning that he may be the AntiChrist.) But if you aren’t plugged into the noise machine or the Christian nationalist media you’re likely to not get the double message.

40

Ciarán 08.06.08 at 7:43 am

But if he’s the Antichrist shouldn’t the rapture-bound vote him in? Isn’t the trick to get it all to kick off as quickly as possible? I think Obama should actually agree that he’s the Antichrist and promise the end times as part of his universal healthcare package.

Oh, and for the British correspondents, there is one place where we forgot to export the loons. You should see some of the debates we’re having in Northern Ireland over how a new Interpretative Centre ought to, well, interpret the Giant’s Causeway: very old or God’s tiling?

41

Raphael 08.06.08 at 8:02 am

One minor objection: “All these traits are associated in the Bible with the charismatic, popular, well-spoken man who is supposed to become the leader of the world and bring about the Tribulation.”

Is that really in the Bible? I thought it’s just a staqndard part of Fundie (and originally medieval) theology backed up by carefully cherry-picked Bible quotes.

42

bad Jim 08.06.08 at 8:03 am

Will this actually work, though, outside the lunatic fringe that takes Revelations as a blueprint? (Not that the Rapture and the rest of the frosting on the nutcake are all to be found in that book.) Obama can be all things to some people, simultaneously Muslim and black liberationist, both a silly gay and a scary black rapist, the false prophet as well as the Antichrist. (The sort of people who entertain such fears are perfectly capable of switching back and forth between incompatible theories; the only thing they hold consistently is fear itself.)

What worries me more is that people will get bored with Obama – too sensible, too logical – and find foxy grandpa McCain more attractive. “Let’s go crazy!”

I’m with Jonathan Chait: go negative on McCain. Get medieval on his corrupt, opportunistic ass. Since when has being liberal been about being nice? Roosevelt gave American social democrats that label, and he lambasted the malefactors of great wealth. It’s time to pick up that cudgel again and freshen its bloodstains.

43

bad Jim 08.06.08 at 8:27 am

Jonathan Chait, in his own words.

I have in mind the stereotypical liberals of the Knoxville Unitarians, who, facing a guy with a shotgun shooting everyone in sight, promptly tackled him.

44

Down and Out of Sài Gòn 08.06.08 at 9:29 am

I know I’m not in the target demographic, but why does the voiceover sound so boring? Wouldn’t they be looking for someone more Don LaFontaine to get the fear of Satan into people? And what’s with the wanky guitar in the background?

45

Ginger Yellow 08.06.08 at 10:12 am

“This person (The False Prophet), who is called the second beast, is going to be a Jew”

Well he’s already a Christian and a Muslim, so why can’t he be a Jew as well? He contains multitudes.

46

Hume's Ghost 08.06.08 at 12:14 pm

Chait is right. The election should be a referndum on Bush, the conservative movement that empowered him, and especially the morons noise machine pundits who are more concerned with giving Exxon and other oil companies more of our public wealth at the expense of our long term security and sustainability than doing common sense things that will actually improve the lives of the vast majority of Americans.

And Obama needs to do what Andrew Bacevitch said

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2008/07/01/what_bush_hath_wrought/

The challenge facing Obama is clear: he must go beyond merely pointing out the folly of the Iraq war; he must demonstrate that Iraq represents the truest manifestation of an approach to national security that is fundamentally flawed, thereby helping Americans discern the correct lessons of that misbegotten conflict.

By showing that Bush has put the country on a path pointing to permanent war, ever increasing debt and dependency, and further abuses of executive authority, Obama can transform the election into a referendum on the current administration’s entire national security legacy. By articulating a set of principles that will safeguard the country’s vital interests, both today and in the long run, at a price we can afford while preserving rather than distorting the Constitution, Obama can persuade Americans to repudiate the Bush legacy and to choose another course.

47

CK Dexter 08.06.08 at 12:17 pm

“does anyone have top-of-mind figures on how many people vote based primarily on keeping the Antichrist at bay?”

About the same number of people who vote based primarily on keeping gay marriages at bay. Or: the number Kerry lost by.

Oh, and yes, Left Behind is hugely popular, and less wacky/scary than much of this stuff. How do so many liberal Americans not have any clue that large percentages of Americans are dangerously, batshit, crazy? Get out of your cave and walk around some time, you might notice it. Gotta get off campus, though–and not in a car.

48

richard 08.06.08 at 1:14 pm

I’ve had several rides in taxis with batshit crazy drivers who’ve cheerfully told me they’re ready for the apocalypse. It’s not a good thing to hear from the back seat.

I think the negative hit McCain seems willing to take in order to deliver this not-very-dog whistle is astonishing. He concurs that Obama is “the one” (a more useful and general term than “the messiah”) and tacitly admits he himself is not charismatic, popular or well-spoken. So we should elect a mediocre nonentity as a placeholder for 4 years while The One gets ready?

49

Slocum 08.06.08 at 1:18 pm

How do so many liberal Americans not have any clue that large percentages of Americans are dangerously, batshit, crazy?

No I haven’t read the Left Behind novels. But I have relatives who have — and, yes, white, Christian women from the midwest. Pretty frightening. Do they actually expect the End Times to start any minute? No. They take out 30 year mortgages and save for their pre-schoolers’ college expenses just the same. As far as I can tell, the novels are the equivalent of sci-fi/fantasy novels for the Christian set.

Are these women going to vote for Obama? No, of course not. There was never any chance of it — no anti-Christ, dog-whistle ad needed. Just who is it y’all think might have voted for Obama but for an ad that made them wonder if he’s actually the anti-Christ?

Is this hyperventilation week at CT? And I assume you all have seen the Paris Hilton response video?

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/64ad536a6d

50

Henry 08.06.08 at 1:44 pm

Slocum – as I said in the post, it isn’t about switching people’s votes; it’s about mobilizing them. McCain has had a checquered history with fundamentalist Christians of all kinds, giving rise to the fear among a couple of Republican strategists that I’ve talked to (not a representative sample I suspect) that their turnout will be depressed. And Hal Lindsey ain’t a science fiction writer.

51

bigcitylib 08.06.08 at 2:21 pm

As several others have pointed out, I thought the ad was quite funny but for the lame end, and didn’t get the anti-christ thing at all. But if that works too…damn! the Reps. are three different kinds of evil!!

McCains next ad (about how he would change washington) was truly terrible, and frankly the best one so far has been from Paris Hilton (the montage of McCain and Yoda is hilarious).

52

Patrick 08.06.08 at 2:21 pm

Slocum- There’s a difference between literally believing something and religiously believing it. Lots of people religiously believe in the Left Behind style of apocalyptic prophecy. It doesn’t have an effect on their day to day lives, and they plan for the future just like everyone else, but it has meaning for them in their… lets call it their symbolic life. In places where they’re interacting with symbols, that’s their allegiance. And that’s why its kind of scary, because for most people politics are a symbolic matter.

53

stuart 08.06.08 at 2:22 pm

They take out 30 year mortgages

Why would the possibility of the rapture coming stop you taking out a 30 year mortgage – do you go to hell if you have unsettled debts when it happens?

54

rea 08.06.08 at 3:10 pm

“This person (The False Prophet), who is called the second beast, is going to be a Jew. Many believe he will be from the tribe of Dan, which is one of the tribes of the original progenitors of the nation of Israel”

Well, that would explain the otherwise pointless on-going controversy on the American right about whether Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery.

Why would the possibility of the rapture coming stop you taking out a 30 year mortgage – do you go to hell if you have unsettled debts when it happens?

Actually, a while back, a co-employee of mine took me aside and showed me where to find her filled-out leave of absence papers if she was carried off by the rapture. Yes, she was serious.

55

Lisa 08.06.08 at 3:58 pm

It’s disturbing and yet so funny. I mean, what a campaign smear! The other candidate is the anti-Christ.

If Obama loses because too many Americans believe he is the anti-Christ, is there someplace where the rest of us can go…you know, to live forever, never to return? I know Resolution 429 or whatever doesn’t really apply when you are living in a country where people have all gone mad but maybe Holland or Canada will take some of us out of pity. Although I’d prefer Costa Rica.

Or could we turn this thing around perhaps. Like–takes one to know one? Or ‘only the anti-Christ would go around calling the other guy the anti-Christ’?’

56

rd 08.06.08 at 4:36 pm

This is all extremely silly. Rather than being some kind of dark attempt to tweak the Left Behind/Rapture folks, the ad is clearly a fairly weak take off on a London Times column by Gerard Baker published a few weeks, satirizing Obama as “The One” in mock biblical terms, one that got a lot of play in the conservative blogosphere:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/gerard_baker/article4392846.ece

Was Baker part of the dogwhistle conspiracy? All of this stems from a belief that liberals lost elections in the past because of the dark arts communications skills of their Republican opponents, as opposed to their own policies and the rational decisions of voters who opposed them. A starting place for a winning campaign is not thinking of large numbers of your fellow citizens as dogs who mainly can be brought to heel by whistles.

57

stuart 08.06.08 at 4:55 pm

It’s disturbing and yet so funny. I mean, what a campaign smear! The other candidate is the anti-Christ.

Of course it isn’t a particular new or unique smear, seems to be a mainstay of US politics:

Obama Antichrist = 685,000
Bush Antichrist = 177,000
McCain Antichrist = 467,000
Clinton Antichrist = 835,000
Reagan Antichrist = 354,000
Carter Antichrist = 427,000

Etc.

Obviously using a google search isn’t very scientific, but if you look at the first page of each, there are certainly people around accusing all of the above, and at least some of them seem like they are perfectly serious (or deadpan satire).

58

Righteous Bubba 08.06.08 at 5:13 pm

A starting place for a winning campaign is not thinking of large numbers of your fellow citizens as dogs who mainly can be brought to heel by whistles.

Another starting place for a winning campaign is thinking of large numbers of your fellow citizens as dogs who mainly can be brought to heel by whistles.

59

H. 08.06.08 at 5:51 pm

(Some friends have urged me to write about getting out from under that shadow—but man, how do you even start?)

Come on, write some about that?

60

William Berry 08.06.08 at 6:00 pm

So, Obama is the Anti-Christ, eh?

Well, what about “McCain, collaborator”? (88,100 Google hits).

Anti-Christ or traitor. Take your pick!

61

George W 08.06.08 at 6:18 pm

Yikes. I certainly didn’t catch the undertones, which, FWIW, make more sense to me than the race-mixing stuff alleged of McCain’s last ad. One framework for considering such questions has become: did they say it about FDR too? I sort of think someone might have.

Admittedly, there are a couple over-the-top Obama quotes in there, like when he says that a light will shine down — from somewhere — and give voters an epiphany to vote for him. I can’t even imagine what sort of context might have made that an appropriate thing to say.

62

Hume's Ghost 08.06.08 at 8:06 pm

‘satirizing Obama as “The One” in mock biblical terms, one that got a lot of play in the conservative blogosphere’

No way in the world the Left Behind folks would get any other message from that, boy, that’s for sure. It’s not like their Antichrist starts the One World church or anything .

63

Hume's Ghost 08.06.08 at 8:14 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWelptlo4zM#

“I am not sure what you mean …all i was saying is that they apear to make BHO look as if he has the power of Anti Christ 666 ”

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2051698/posts

To: reg45
The more I hear Obama, the more he sounds like the Anti-Christ.
Thank you, that is exactly what has been running through my mind.

16 posted on Saturday, July 26, 2008 11:27:21 AM by Dustbunny (Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged. The Gipper)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

64

Hume's Ghost 08.06.08 at 8:15 pm

Both of those are in response to the Baker piece.

65

herr doktor bimler 08.06.08 at 8:51 pm

thinking of large numbers of your fellow citizens as dogs who mainly can be brought to heel by whistles.
No, no, no. The whistles tell the dog to head around the flock clockwise or anticlockwise, or to gather them into bunches. To bring the dog to heel, you shout out “Geddin behind ya mangy bugger!” or words to that effect.
It is clear that Righteous Bubba has never been on a sheep farm.

66

nick 08.06.08 at 9:20 pm

#44–“what’s with the wanky guitar in the background?”

c’mon, dude, guitar wankery is objectively pro-Satan!

67

Lisa 08.06.08 at 10:33 pm

#44—”what’s with the wanky guitar in the background?”

Oh my God, this could be most brilliant campaign spot. Obama as Jimi Hendrix. Wonky ‘Are You Experienced?’ riff in the beginning, day-glo background…wavy, whirly montage of Obama.

They can answer the question ‘Have you ever been experienced’ about Obama by saying ‘No, Obama is not experienced.’

Tagline: McCain: Tested, Tried, Experienced.

Although I think it is a fair inference that anyone who grew up in Hawaii in the 80s and smoked pot tried shrooms at least once. But I’m not sure if that is quite enough to be experienced.

68

George W 08.07.08 at 2:45 am

Drug use ceased to be a (negative) criterion for the White House in 2000, when both aspirants artfully dodged the question. Now it’s about as relevant as divorce, once a career limiting move too — and maybe still, thought to a completely different and (inshallah) shrinking part of the electorate. I somehow doubt it will ever become a *positive* criterion for office, but bets are open for when the US will have its first gay president. I’d guess maybe 2024. California governorship, sooner (maybe immediately prior).

69

George W 08.07.08 at 2:48 am

thought = though

A better, and somewhat bitter, question is this: now that we know (with reasonable, I hope, certainty) that we’ll have a black president before a female president, will we have a gay president before a female president? I give no odds on that.

70

Lisa 08.07.08 at 4:48 am

“I somehow doubt it will ever become a positive criterion for office.”

But pot smokers are a huge (and untapped) voting bloc. It’s true that some of them–but only some of them–might forget to vote or lose their way on election night. But the dems are missing the boat on this one. Stoners, former stoners and those who, in their middle-aged nostalgia imagine that they used to be stoners could be the soccer moms of the ’08 election.

71

Alex 08.07.08 at 9:53 am

Many believe he will be from the tribe of Dan

Davies. And you notice he’s part of the Anglo-Dutch financial establishment and a self-declared liberal. I see the pattern.

72

Bruce Baugh 08.08.08 at 3:53 am

It may be worth noting that in addition to the true believers, there’s a fairly large penumbra of people who aren’t at all sure they believe in that stuff anymore…but aren’t sure they don’t, either, and who’d hate to find themselves on the wrong side if this is really it.

73

bab 08.08.08 at 3:31 pm

…when he says that a light will shine down—from somewhere—and give voters an epiphany to vote for him. I can’t even imagine what sort of context might have made that an appropriate thing to say

Yeah, and he had this weird facial expression right after he said it–the corners of his mouth suddenly shot up, giving him a kind of crazed/delighted countenance.

Seriously, though, every single one of the quotes in the ad were plucked from a context that expressed the exact opposite sentiment, including “I have become a symbol…”. It is understandable that your (honor-bound, chock-full-of integrity) opponent willfully misrepresents them; it is less forgivable when political reporters who set out to write stories about hubris do so.

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