Wednesday, October 15, 2008

my mind's gone loose inside the shell

This is the nexus of middle class America, negative political advertising, and an economy that's in the crapper.
The next was a woman, late 50s, Democrat but strongly pro-life. Loved B. and H. Clinton, loved Bush in 2000. "Well, I don't know much about this terrorist group Barack used to be in with that Weather guy but I'm sick of paying for health insurance at work and that's why I'm supporting Barack."
This quote encapsulates how McCain and Palin's associative language trick linking Obama to Ayers has worked in the minds of some voters. It works in much the same way that it worked for Bush in getting people to think that Saddam Hussein was suporting al Queda (link goes to pdf) and might have had something to do with 9/11. All they (McCain/Palin) have been doing is saying that Obama associated with a known terrorist on a non-profit board, and people hear half the words and make the leap to "Obama=terrorist".

And these weren't hard-core conservatives in the focus group. They were "Reagan Dems and Independents. Call them blue-collar plus. Slightly more Target than Walmart."

This is a frighteningly fascinating look into how people process information, and that the skilled rhetoriticians who craft campaign messages know this and (in this case as with Saddam::al Queda) use the power of association to get low-attention voters, outright dimwits or people just looking for a good rationalization to make the link, all while keeping a plausible deniability of being able to say "Hey, we never said Obama is a terrorist". Perhaps the only saving grace is that the economy is bad enough that it even trumps the horribly misguided perception that Obama is some kind of Manchurian Candidate.

It's at once fascinating, disgusting and frightening.

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