It’s all over the Internet, so I won’t belabor it. People are
talking about the McCain video that allegedly implies that Obama might
be the Antichrist. It’s said to be a “dog-whistle,” meaning
that only the intended audience gets the message. Others
might see it, but miss the hidden meaning.
From Crooked Timber:
of the World
by Henry on August 5, 2008
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)…
…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.
This is why we should have mandatory voting. Presidential
elections are so close, that the only real key to winning is to get
people so emotionally worked up, that they will put down their happy
meals and actually go out and vote.
The consequence: more negative campaigning, more incitement of hate,
and greater alienation of the centrist voters. Everyone
complains about negative campaigning. Even the candidates
complain about it. But they do it, because it works.
I can’t think of a way to prove it, a priori, but I
think that mandatory voting would make this kind of thing much less
And about the Antichrist thing: doesn’t the Bible say something about
the Antichrist emerging from the sea?
I guess that settles it. No one has a picture of McCain
emerging from the sea.