Monday, October 13, 2008

Premediating an Osama bin Laden Presidency

Jeffrey Feldman reports that McCain volunteers are being taught to accuse Obama of terrorism by coaching them to tell potential voters that both Osama bin Laden and Barack Hussein Obama have "friends who bombed the Pentagon." The obvious lie in this historically inaccurate statement (William Ayers, Obama's "friend," never bombed the Pentagon and Obama was only a child, who obviously did not know Ayers, when the Weather Underground contemplated such an act) is scandalous.  

From a medialogical perspective, however, what is most worthy of note about this lie is the way in which McCain volunteers are being taught to premediate the election of Barack Obama as the victory of Osama bin Laden over the United States. This builds upon the virtual racism I have described in earlier posts, with an aim towards premediating an Obama presidency as a way to frighten voters into changing their minds when they step into the polling booth. 

As The Daily Show brilliantly dramatizes in a montage of premediation on Fox News, this orientation towards the voting booth is clearly laid out when, after the second debate, when the majority of a Fox debate-watching focus group raised its hands to say that Obama won the debate. "So, Obama clearly looks like the winner tonight," the Fox "reporter" concluded, "The key is not who they like.  The key is who they're going to vote for."

All campaigns attempt to premediate the negative consequences of a victory by their opponents. What seems different as the McCain campaign pushes towards November 4 is the increased emphasis on the moment of voting or the moment of waking up the morning after to a world in which Barack Hussein Obama is the president-elect of the US of A. 

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