UPDATED: Jonathan Chait barks at the dog whistle.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the Obama campaign and the media, to the extent that they aren't congruent sets, have come to the conclusion that Barack Obama can't beat John McCain on the issues. Obama's entire history on the war in Iraq has been proven to be wrong in every particular. His solutionto our part of the worldwide increase in energy prices is essentially to set our thermostats to 68 and wear argyle pattern cardigans. His Amazing Mystery Tour, given in front of a monument memorializing three Prussian wars of aggression (though it was the largest audience for a politician in Berlin since 1938), was capped off by a shopping spree that provided a better photo op than visiting young men and women who were gravely wounded in the service of the country that his wife is finally proud of and apparently did him no good.
In the face of this fecklessness the tactic has devolved to the tried and true Democrat strategy of race baiting and now gay baiting.
Most of us haven't picked up on it because our ears aren't tuned to the particular dog whistle needed to let one hear the slurs. But those who can hear that dog whistle tell us it is there: and the dog whistle says Barack Obama is gay.
Let's start with the racism charge. The evidence so far is this: John McCain is a Republican. This, of course, ipso facto makes him a racist and we needn't dwell any more on that issue. But as Hillary Clinton discovered merely opposing Obama means you are racist.. McCain is running against Obama. Ipso facto, etc.
To the credit of McCain campaign they had the guts to call Obama out on this. And thanks to the clumsiness of the Obama camp, it appears that Obama's use of race baiting as a sword and shield has become so egregious that even Hardball, home of He of the Tingly Leg, has taken notice..
Now we get a claim from one of the usual suspects that McCain is making light of Barack Obama's gayness.
Now if you are surprised as I am to discover Barack Obama is a gay man, which would make him the first gay black muslim candidate for president, just hang in there and follow the white rabbit to wonderland.
The evidence is 1)McCain has surrounded himself with senior gay male advisors and 2) he's a Republican and 3) running against Obama, the gay presidential candidate. From that...
Okay, I really can't do justice to what follows so I'll simply quote at length:
I've been working on gay civil rights issue since the early 1990s, when I helped Senator Kennedy's office prepare for the gays in the military hearings, and legislation, in 1993. Since then, I helped Kennedy on the ENDA hearings in the mid 90s, and then moved into my own civil rights advocacy work regardings Matthew Shepard, Timothy McVeigh (the gay one), Dr. Laura, Mary Cheney, Ford, Microsoft and beyond. It's fair to say that I have a pretty good nose for anti-gay bigotry. And McCain is trying to gay-bait Obama.
Of course, McCain isn't stupid. As he's surrounded himself with senior gay male advisors since at least the 1990s, McCain is usually careful about overt gay-bashing (though he did promise the religious right a few weeks ago that he'd be more publicly anti-gay, and just last week said he didn't think gay people should be able to adopt children (he then backtracked, kind of)). Instead, McCain and his people are attempting to define Obama as "gay" by describing him as the stereotypical gay man. Yesterday, a McCain spokesman described Obama as fussy and prone to hysterics. A few days earlier, we were told that Obama was "flitting" around Europe. And before that, a GOP operative called Obama "a fancy lad." Also, who is Obama compared to in the latest McCain ad? (An ad that independent fact-checkers say is totally false.) Two women, and kind of ditzy women at that - Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Let's review. A fussy, fancy lad who flits around Europe, is prone to hysteria, and reminds you of ditzy blonde chicks. Sorry, but that's a stereotypical gay guy. And as I said, McCain knows his gay guys. He's surrounded by them.
I've got to admit that this string of non sequiturs leaves me scratching my head. Quite honestly, I think that the post says a lot more about the sterotypes the writer harbors than any campaign to portray Barack Obama as a gay man-- not that there would be anything wrong with Barack Obama being a gay man, I mean he could be gay Barack the gay senator from Gayville and that would be perfectly fine by me.
Why, for instance, would being a gay man be any more of a liability than being a black man? why does surrounding yourself with "senior gay male advisors" have anything to do with this? Are they acting "catty"? Isn't this poster engaging in a bit of "gay baiting" himself by insinuating that McCain's battalions of "senior gay male advisors" are behind this? Isn't this accusing them of "self loathing"?
Even to a casual observer, Barack Obama is not the epitome of macho. Rather he is quite obviously a run-of-the-mill metrosexual of the Al Gore-John Kerry-John Edwards variety that tends to be what passes for maleness in the Democrat party. Whether or not that means Barack Obama is gay depends on your definition of the word.
All of this nonsense leaves me confused. Just yesterday another dog whistle alerted me to racism in the Paris Hilton/Britney Spears ad because he was a black man consorting young nubile white women..
Being a Southerner I could sort of see where this three-cushion bank shot was coming from but I've got to tell you I've never heard the notion of black men-- or white men, for that matter --hanging out with "ditzy" white women associated with stereotypical gayness. I don't consider myself to be particularly gay but reflecting on my youth some of my most memorable and life changing experiences involved young "ditzy" women. This is, however, a brave new world and what in the hell do I know? Now I'm thinking I'm a lesbian..
And for chrissakes, quit blowing that freakin dog whistle.