The shape of things to come

By Amanda Marcotte
Friday, June 20, 2008 12:16 EDT
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No time for the Friday Random Ten today, but I wanted to draw everyone’s attention to this article about the whisper campaigns against Barack Obama that exploit Americans’ xenophobia and other forms of ignorance. More than any other factor, these whisper campaigns are going to be damaging to Obama’s chances. Mark my words—the vast majority of redonkulous smears that are floated by the wingnut and mainstream media against him will be, in one form or another, feeding the idea that Obama is somehow fundamentally different from “real” Americans and not to be trusted.

It looks like most of the smears are going to be variations on a theme: Looking over what Barack and Michelle Obama wear or do to find “secret” evidence that they’re imposters with a tin ear for how “real” Americans do things. There’s obvious examples of this, like the fuss over Obama and the flag pin. But even stuff that initially doesn’t make a lick of sense to thinking people, like all the fussing over Michelle Obama’s taste for cap sleeves and sleeveless dresses, is a way of communicating the idea that the Obamas just don’t know how we do things in America.

What’s weird is that the response to all this smearing that people are giving is standardized and rehearsed—”I worry about his allegiance to the country.” Outside of calling him a terrorist, you hear this the most. There’s something fishy about how everyone knows exactly what to say and in what words.

The campaign has put up a website you can reference when debunking rumors.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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