Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Right-wing operative Alex Castellanos, the creator of the Jesse Helms "Hands" ad, on CNN a couple of days ago:

Well, I think, as a friend told me once, listening to Barack Obama is like having sex -- the worst there ever was was excellent.

Bobby Jindal on Larry King's show last night, comparing the president's speech and his own rebuttal:

Let's be clear, the president is a great speaker -- probably the greatest we've seen in a generation. I'm certainly not nearly as good of a speaker as he is. And I'm not the only one that's got that opinion.

I hope people look at the content of [my] speech, not just the delivery....

John Amato had an odd reaction to Castellanos's "sex" remark:

There's a reason why Alex does this. Since he's a man who's made an incredible amount of money using imagery and inserting dog whistle politics into his campaign commercials, he's trying to dehumanize President Obama with childish sex jokes and in an way feminize him sexually which in the sick recesses of the Castellanos class, will make him a less effective leader.

Aimai disagrees, and I prefer her take, which could also apply to what Jindal said. She argues people such as Castellanos (and Karl Rove)

choose a different mode of undercutting [Obama] and his legitimacy. They overemphasize his charm and political and oratorical skills. Thus, every speech is going to be the greatest--and if it isn't they will discover him to be in decline. Every political act must be perfect, or if it isn't then his presidency is over. Lets call it the "kill him with kindness" routine. Its a variant of concern trolling where Rove, or Castellanos, shakes his head in generous awe at what a great speechifiyer Obama turns out to be, leaving the audience to remember "slick willy" and to imagine that underneath all that awesome word power is a liar and a cheat (the sex crack).

As Tom Hilton says in the comments to aimai's post,

It's just a more sophisticated variant of the 'celebrity' line.

They're trying to tell us (again) that Obama is working to seduce us, to lull us, to turn off our rational brains (the implication being that if we have maturity and self-restraint, we'll resist that temptation and pay more attention to Republicans' far superior ideas presented in a non-seductive, straightforward way).

I'm not arguing that this line is working, or will work, but these guys are always trying, aren't they?

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