July 13, 2008
IF OBAMA LOSES, THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM WILL BE that it was because sleazy rightwingers portrayed him as a Muslim terrorist sympathizer.
When that happens, show 'em this New Yorker cover and remind 'em that The New Yorker is not generally regarded as a right-wing publication. (But it's satire! Actual article here.)
Plus, this: "The panelists agreed it would succeed in its goal of getting attention." Gee, do you think?
Meanwhile, some people are actually talking about the story, instead of the cover. "Obama and Rezko’s friendship grew stronger. They dined together regularly and even, on at least one occasion, retreated to Rezko’s vacation home, in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin." Plus, Obama's response to 9/11.
UPDATE: Ann Althouse:
The artist is Barry Blitt, and I have to say that I think the cover is a hilarious spoof of the fears and lies about Obama. Michelle and Barack are in the Oval Office, doing a celebratory fist bump. There's an Osama Bin Laden portrait on the wall and a burning flag in the fireplace. He's a Muslim and she's a revolutionary. Of course, Obama has to push it aside and can scarcely laugh about it.
Or, maybe, I don't know... maybe it would work to laugh. He's been awfully uptight about things lately. And laughing conveys the instant recognition that it's absurd. Why be surly about it? McCain's supposed to be the cranky guy...
ANOTHER UPDATE: Jake Tapper: "The sophisticates at The New Yorker have come up with a cover that is sure to get the magazine a lot of attention. Negative attention. From their friends." As a famous editor once said: Good buzz, bad buzz, it's all buzz.
MORE: Reader Brian Sament writes:
Obama is delighted with the New York magazine cover, because it plays right into his narrative and game plan for victory. Remember his declaration:
"We know what kind of campaign they're to run. They're going to try to make you afraid. He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. Did I mention he's black?"
The strategy is to delegitimize all criticism of Obama, by blending the categories of legitimate and illegitimate criticism. Thus, mention of the fact that Obama has done little and knows little is somehow of a piece with a racist motive for not voting for Obama.
Obama / New Yorker are trying to implant in our collective consciousness the idea that any criticism of Obama necessarily comes from a dark and malignant place, a place of irrational fear and paranoia and racism.
I don't think this will help.
MORE: Some reactions from around the Web.
And here's more on, you know, the actual story about Obama. I suspect they'd rather talk about the cover. "Ryan Lizza continues on to tell the whole story of his rise in politics, and those he ran over to get there:"
STILL MORE: "The Reisistible Rise of Barack Obama." "Lizza's article coincidentally demonstrates that Obama's grandiosity is a quality that can be traced through his years in Chicago. The entire article is worth reading. . . . In this very long article, Obama's assessment of Bob Dole is one conspicuous item. In Obama's view, Dole had already risen to become one of the most powerful men in the country as Senate Majority Leader when he chose to run for president against Bill Clinton. By Obama's reckoning, Dole's age and eminence told against him. For Obama, on the other hand, seeking the presidency of the United States is a career move that logically fulfills the destiny foretold by his election to the presidency of the Harvard Law Review."
Hey, at least they're talking about this instead of James Johnson, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.
Andrew Malcolm: "It's got everything incendiary except a vest bomb. Which is what should telegraph to most people that it's way over-the-top and, therefore, satire. But politicians don't like satire because it's subject to differing interpretations. . . . Little doubt the incendiary magazine cover accomplished its intent of attracting attention on an otherwise slow-news summer Sunday. It'll probably sell more magazines too. And more Mylanta for the Obama offices."
The press release from The New Yorker says, "in 'The Politics of Fear,' artist Barry Blitt satirizes the use of scare tactics and misinformation in the Presidential election to derail Barack Obama's campaign."
But whose scare tactics? While John McCain has denounced even the use of Barack Obama's middle name (lest it be considered a "scare tactic"), the fright, it seems to me, has been from the Democratic party — or at least Hillary Clinton. If memory serves, the first time a depiction or picture of Barack Obama circulated that had him looking like a Muslim came from an old picture the Clinton campaign circulated during the primary, when Obama was dressed in native garb in Africa. And it was the Clinton campaign that aired an ad in PA that featured an image of Osama bin Laden reminding us of how dangerous the world is, saying Hillary had what it took—as opposed to Obama — to confront him.
As noted above, though, in the revisionist history this will all have been the work of evil racist Republicans.