August 23, 2010

Why Isn't White House "Feeling More Cross" Over "Islamobama"?

Give me a C, an R, a U!  Give me give me another C, an I, an F. And now, give me a Y!

When are the Democrats going to understand that right-wing framing, as simple-minded and redundant as it is, happens to work? In other words, if 11 % of the population thought you were Muslim last week, then 12% the next day, then 18% the day-before-yesterday….

illustrations: Washington Times

If people didn’t respond to cheap visual metaphors and symbolism, the right wing would have stopped using them a long time ago (and nobody would have ever known of Karl Rove’s existence).  Instead, however, outfits like the Washington Times use these kinds of story illustrations because they stick in people’s heads, just like the awkward Barry Blitt New Yorker cover did and the completely non-religious Somali garb photo did.  (It’s also explains why Obama permanently donning that flag pin one day, as stupid as it seemed at the time, really did help blunt the “Islamobama” attack.)

Two years ago, I had problems with the election flier for mixing church and state.  (Somehow, though, that taboo seems to have flown out the window, as you can see from this January photo op from the campaign of the Godless John McCain.)

photo credit: still looking

Beyond photo-ops from the pulpit, however, the White House (which was actually on top of all this for a while, then took their eye off the ball) would be smart to get Obama signed up for a DC church as soon as possible, then pose him in front of a little more Christian iconography (like the incessantly promoted, obsessively born-again, but actually not so religious Dubya did) as well as throw in a few more photo-ops with some not-insane Christian personalities until it’s blindly obvious to at least a greater sliver of the nearly blind and mostly deaf that Osama is the other guy.

I’m not talking about changing a lot of minds here, by the way.  What I’m talking about is some visual inoculation — and a point or two in these fanatical polls — so the media will look for some other hysteria to fuel.

Perhaps the biggest problem the Administration has to overcome PR-wise, though — which is reflected in the text on the flier — is the aversion, and even a pride Obama carries against making too big a point about what he already feels and does naturally.

(1:35 pm PST: added photo. slightly revised.)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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