Skip to main content

I don't have a subscription to the Economist, so I can't read the whole piece. But Taegan at Political Wire has an intriguing snippet:
Over the past few weeks, a new expression has entered the Westminster lexicon: dog-whistle politics. It means putting out a message that, like a high-pitched dog-whistle, is only fully audible to those at whom it is directly aimed. The intention is to make potential supporters sit up and take notice while avoiding offending those to whom the message will not appeal.
We saw the Republicans employ that in 2004 to some degree. For example, Bush's puzzling debate diss of the Dred Scott decision left the vast majority of people scratching their heads, but the anti-abortion movement knew exactly what he was saying. It's Religious Right code for attacking Roe v. Wade.

I'll be in London the last week of the campaign courtesy of the Guardian UK, and this is one angle I definitely plan on pursuing.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 11:43 AM PST.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Hmmmm.... (none)
    Obviously, "dog whistle" is an appropriate name for this tactic. It's almost like a secretive use of framing. It seems to me that there are two sides of this: developing our own "code" so progressive politicians can talk to the netroots/activists, and being able to decipher the other side's "code" so we can see what messages they're sending.
    •  far more effective I think (none)
      is to decode the other side's code and expose it for what it is.   People Hate it when they think a politician is secretly working for special interests

      Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

      by Magorn on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 12:15:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  not effective (3.70)
        Pooh-poohing the power of religious conviction is not all that effective.  People want to be for something, not against something.

        The religious right is against all sorts of things because they think they're FOR something.  They are attractive to many people because they're FOR something, and promise something new (heaven, nirvana, whatever).

        We know we stand for something, but can't articulate it.  How about we start from this?

        We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

        This is the very first belief statement of the American religion.  Is it - and all that we honor that came after it - good enough to compete with THEIR creed?  Does it still set hearts on fire in this country?  

        We must not let them bust our reformist groove. (k9disc) NY-25

        by NYCO on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 12:26:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  More true now than before (none)
          Especially the part about all men being created equal. Back then, blacks weren't even considered men, entitled to equality.

          In loving memory: Sophie, June 1, 1993-January 17, 2005. My huckleberry friend.

          by Paul in Berkeley on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 12:31:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  what we're for (none)
          I worked on a project with 2020 Democrats to start developing a more refined sense of what we're for.  You can see the results here:

          •  I printed this document out (none)
            and posted it on my office door, right next to my "Fourteen defining characteristics of Facism" poster. So.... when will I be hauled away to Guantanamo? I have always wanted to visit Cuba.

            "Life forms.... You tiny little life forms..... You precious little life forms.... Where are you?" -- Data

            by terran on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 02:34:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  2 (none)
          You know, in all the time I've been on dKos, I don't think I've ever gotten a "2" before.  A 2 is quite interesting, it means you've probably said something that someone carefully disagrees with.  In my opinion we don't see enough 2's around here; don't see enough honest disagreement strong enough to merit a 2.

          We must not let them bust our reformist groove. (k9disc) NY-25

          by NYCO on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 12:51:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  This is getting very meta (none)
            I liked your comment about getting a 2 so much that I gave you a 4.

            Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work, and then they get elected and prove it.

            by David J on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 01:21:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I beg to differ with you... (none)
            ...but I'm not giving you a 2: I think such ratings are rare for good reason.  If you 'carefully disagree' with something, why not post a substantive rebuttal and open a clarifying dialogue?  Handing out 2's under such circumstances is a poor, unpersuasive substitute that does nothing to enhance the debate--it's basically just another "approved" way to lob a tomato at someone.  

            Let me state emphatically that we in the Bush administration do NOT condone torture. We sidle up to it, wink at it, and climb into bed with it.

            by turbonium on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 01:26:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Read my post below please (none)
              For instance I have read pastordan's diary on kos etiquette- which is where I got the rate or comment but not both concept. Now I see you appear to think rating a 2 is a weasel thing to do. Everyone has a different idea she whined)...
              •  Well, (none)
                I'm not holding my breath for a Grand Unification Theory of Ratings ;-) and certainly many interpretations seem to abound.  I just think they're inherently more useful at the extremes of discourse: 4's for anything constructive that inspires me enough to rate; 0/1's for unambiguous trolls.  

                Threes land you in the midst of the whole 'faint praise' conundrum; I'd rather just not rate posts like that.  If something is provocative and substantive enough for a 2, it's probably worth my time to respond/retort intelligently.  But, perhaps 2s are an acceptable shorthand if you really don't have time...  I can also see some utility for them if a poster you normally respect forgets themselves and becomes momentarily abusive.

                I agree with you on the pastordan "rate OR post" question; doing both seems like piling on.

                There, yet another worthless take on the Kos ratings system.  Let the avalanche of 4's begin...

                Let me state emphatically that we in the Bush administration do NOT condone torture. We sidle up to it, wink at it, and climb into bed with it.

                by turbonium on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 05:20:08 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thanks it seems to be (none)
                  a good rule of thumb. Maybe if something bothers you enough to be "marginal" it should bother you enough to make a comment. Sometimes I don't feel my comment will add anything to the debate so I remain silent. It's a conundrum & it can be risky to comment unless you're going to stick around for the foodfight!
          •  I don't know why you got the 2 (none)
            but I agree it is a careful disagreement. And it is better than the zeroes that fly around here at times. And yet I gave my first 2 out a couple of days ago & got one right back under a comment "do unto others". I thought it was odd.

            There are many discussions about rating etiquette but none are dispositive. The rate or comment idea was what got me the 2. Oh well...

            •  Perhaps (none)
              That's why most of us don't rate anything at all.  I'm more inclined to respond rather than rate although rating may be the most effective way of dealing with trolls.

              But I do note there's a bit of irony even having a rating level that can be defined as "carefully disagree."  If you are full of care, you really should comment.

              How about a rating that equals "I mildly disagree with you for some reason I can't quite articulate."

              •  I love that (none)
                In fact ever since I read that it runs through my head every time I think of rating someone down. I usually rate 4's when I agree with someone strongly but don't feel I have anything new to add. People, at times, will just hijack a thread & keep just repeating the same objections over & over no matter how many posters respond to answer their concern. That's when I'm most likely to feel a 2 is warranted
          •  If this was your first, then ... (none)
            ... welcome! You've finally arrived!

            Seriously, though, I'd suggest it's important to work on both defining ourselves and correcting the public's misperceptions about the right that come from these coded phrases.

            Damn! The code is so good that the language goes from talking points to the SCLM broadcasts. I feel quite confident that the folks doing news at ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and countless print dailies really don't recognize the dog whistle for what it is, but they blow it just the same, whether they quote directly (which qualifies as appropriate reporting) or adopt the frame's language for their own reportage.

          •  i always thought (none)
            that 2's were for comments that were "marginal"... not trolling but not really worth posting either.

            i've given out 4's to posts that i disagree with but which i thought made an interesting point.

            •  People seem to differ on this (none)
              alot of people seem to find the 2 as maddening as a 0. I don't always feel I want to comment so I rate. And I give out way more 4's than 2,1,or 0.
              It has alot to do with trusted user status & mojo.

              But without ratings I think dkos wouls be a less civilized place. Some other blogs get pretty crazy!

              •  What about a 3 (none)
                Is that like the dreaded "B"?
                •  I had to go back & read the thread again (none)
                  But yes 3 is like a B & people feel it drives the mojo average down. I'm a newbie & in that thread I was checking out what others felt about the rate or comment controversy. As usual there are a thousand different takes on it.

                  Carl Nyberg gives out 3's mostly so if somebody gets a 3 they claim they're being Carl Nyberged. It can get pretty funny at times. For the most part I think it works

                  The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all- John F Kennedy

                  by vcmvo2 on Fri Apr 29, 2005 at 07:08:49 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  We are for the American creed, they aren't (none)
          "All men are created equal" means the rich pay taxes, the powerful are punished for their crimes, the rich and powerful aren't "the best people", everyone has the same rights and obligations.

          "Certain unalienable rights" means no one should be poisoned, worked to death, be harmed for joining a labor union, be forced to follow a religion.

          All three branches of the Federal Government are hostile to these basic aspects of the American creed.

          The dog whistle isn't a mystery, Republicans are the political arm of business and business uses these marketing techniques all the time. They manipulate their target markets with targeted language and it succeeds in making Americans obese chain smokers driving SUV's to McMansion's deep in credit card debt. They make us live like fools, making us vote like fools is much easier.

        •  Creator? (none)
          I certainly think I have a creator-- I am unsure whether it is God. What if my unalienable rights are handed down from generation to generation or are a product of nature? I think the term "creator" was picked specifically for its vagueness because, contrary to what the religious right would have you believe, the founders of our country were not straight up the line, by the books puritans. Many were basically atheists. Furthermore, they really did go out of their way-- at least on the subject of religion-- to include a lot of people.
        •  MLK's I had a dream speech (none)
           frames the Declaration and the Constitution as a promissary note to future generations. I don't think there are more powerful concepts in our American religion.  Maybe they weren't precisely true then but they are meant to be true eventually.

          "My will is easy to decide, for I have nothing to divide" Joe Hill

          by slick riddles on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 02:22:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  We do stand FOR the most important things (4.00)
          We Democrats stand for what is important: faith, family and freedom.

          We stand for faith:  we don't care if you have one, or which one it is or none at all.  You're entitled to your faith, to practice it and not have it infringed, subjegated or diminished by any one else. No one is excluded because we have faith in all.

          We stand for family:  we don't care if it traditional, blended, multi-generational, single-parent or gay. Families with loving, supportive adults in a nurturing environment and structure are the best and only foundation in our society.  

          We stand for freedom:  We believe in all of our constitutional freedoms, where freedom comes from laws rather than from men. We believe in  freedom from fear, from hate, from hunger, from sickness, from economic hopelessness and social indifference.  

          Faith, Family and Freedom. This is our heritage.

        •  Not pooh-pooh'ing (none)
          The trick is to not denigrate the other side, but to open communication. If the other side is talking in code, then break the code! Let everybody know that this is about pandering, that the honest believers are being hoodwinked by unsavory tapes.

          The fun part is that when we talk "in the clear", the code-talkers will automatically assume we are using a code as well and attempt to "break" it. That's the fun part: getting them to look like the kooks through their own actions.

          Break the code, make it harder for them to stealth the message! Transparency is the enema of the state: it flushes the crap out.

          This post is best understood if you look at the fnords first.

          by Saint Fnordius on Tue Mar 29, 2005 at 03:27:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Don't disparage it, *use* it! (none)
        I agree, we can use this too. And we should. Why not? They have Rush Limbaugh, we have Michael Moore. We could get all purist about P.T. Barnum tactics of te right, or, we could use their own tactics againt them, and win. I'm all for winning, thank you very much.

        I love how John Kerry used "dog whistle" phrases all over his acceptance speech in 2004. "I won't let our foriegn policy be dictated by the Saudi Royal Family" is one of those statements that people who hadn't seen F/911 probably went,  "Huh? That's a non-sequitur! Who lets their foreign policy be set my the Saudi's? That's silly". Meanwhile, all of us who had seen F911 in the weeks befor the convention, were going "HELL YEAH!!! ALL RIGHT!"-- including all of the convention hall.

        So we can and should use this. We can talk amongst ourselves using our own "liberal code words" and the wingnuts can whine about it all they want, but most people won't take the time to try to break the code, nor will they believe it if wingnuts try to jump up and down about it.

        As for me, I think we must have a leadership in Congress that doesn't take bribes from
        Enron and South Korea. There's some "dog whistle" words for ya!

    •  Don't be perplexed if you don't get the message, (none)
      the whistle is aimed only at curs and bitches!
    •  Our Own Code (none)
      I respectfully disagree re: our need to develop our own code in appealing to the party's activists.  

      So much of the Democrats' message has been muddled for so long, our efforts need to be focused on clarifying exactly where we stand.

      We don't need a code.  The public doesn't need a code.

      We need a clear and concise description of what we believe and why it's good for the vast majority of Americans.  And the public needs to hear it.  

      The Daily Roast: dragging capricious ideologues over the hot coals of truth, morality and humor

      by petergm on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 01:57:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's been around for awhile now... (none)
    but we used to call them "code words"

    "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." - JFK

    by jillian on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 11:59:54 AM PST

  •  Just a new buzzword (none)
    Dog whistle politics is about as new as the phrase "states rights" during the Civil War, or "manifest destiny" before that.

    It's as American as apple pie, yo.

    •  I agree (3.66)
      This is no different than when LBJ told America, when referencing racial strife in the South, that "we shall overcome."  White America thought it was just a nice sounding phrase.  Black America knew with those words that the weight of the presidency was behind their quest for equality.
      •  "We Shall Overcome" (4.00)
        I don't believe this was in any way dog whistle speech. Johnson used that language specifically to deliver a message to everyone.

        The speech was March 15 1965, about two years after King's March on Washington and a week after the Selma march. The newsmagazines and TV news had been thoroughly covering the civil rights movement. Any white who paid the slightest bit of attention knew the 'We Shall Overcome' reference. Johnson's opponents on civil rights, like Sen. Talmadge of Georgia, felt betrayed when they heard the words.

        Code words are different than dog whistle politics. When a candidate speaks of "state's rights" both his supporters and his opponents know that the term is a prettied-up phrase with various racial policies hiding behind it. But, most Bush opponents -- and the media! -- completely missed the meaning of the Dred Scott comment.

        I've got blisters on my fingers!

        by Elwood Dowd on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 01:00:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Johnson (none)
        Johnson was very clear as to his meaning. I cannot agree with you.

        And I don't want a code. I am proud of what I believe. I do think we need to get specific.
        Social Security is something most people feel
        strongly about. The Reps. gave us that one on
        a platter, with their flawed proposal. And
        the right to die issue is one that most people
        identify with, as well. The Reps. pretty much
        handed us that one, as well, with their childish
        grandstanding over a poor woman's personal tragedy.

        There are lots of other issues people care about. Dems. need to talk more about outsourcing, about health care, and I mean specifics. Lou Dobbs does a great job on outsourcing and the illegal alien issue. Dems. need to talk about it, and in detail. Specifics are needed.

        Kennedy was so good with facts and figures, and he was fast. He had the numbers in his head. It needs to be about "your job, your health care, etc." It needs to be about facts and figures. It needs to be about what we will do for the average citizen.

      •  We Shall Overcome (none)
        Would be very clear to any southern democrat during LBJ's presidency.  Americans were very familiar with the hymn, which was the theme song of the civil rights movement.

        No code here.

        There would be a difference between George Bush babbling about "erring on the side of life" (code) versus quoting a verse from "On Eagles Wings." (obvious)

    •  That's a great example (none)
      The final sentence above will only be noticed and understood by African Americans, dog.
  •  Great term (none)
    That's a beautiful term, and Bush uses it far more than most people think. Every speech has images finely tuned to hit just that high pitch to get the Christian conservatives to come to heel. Listen to any prepared speech with an ear for a really high whistle phrase ("light of freedom in the darkness" etc) that sounds faintly Biblical ... if you haven't done it yet, you'd be amazed.

    Dog-whistle politics ... goes a long way in explaining the devotion many Christian conservatives have for G-Dub.

    •  Re: (none)
      Actually, Clinton was a true master of working in the offhanded Biblical phrase that didn't necessarily sound Biblical to everyone else.
    •  so how is this different (none)
      than pitching out phrases that are red-meat to liberals? ("right to choose" "hands off her body") So what if Bush uses Christian phrases (which by the way, play well with most rank-file Democrats, who have no problems with referencing biblical allusions)? i don't got a problem with it. didn't MLK use plenty of thrilling biblical phrases? Obama did it in his own way by referencing an "awesome God" based on a well-known Christian tune, U2 has all sorts of covert "Christian phrases" in their music that i think only true believers can pick up on. is there something sinister in that?

      the Dred Scott = Roe reference i have heard in my own evangelical circles, which btw, happen to be minority and mostly Democrat (for now, as the GOP chips away carefully while the Democratic elites sleep at the wheel). it has resonance and appeal outside the right-wing fundy circles, and i myself am mildly sympathetic to the argument. my yale-educated priest-in-triaining friend believes in it, and i know the liberals would love to stereotype her as some Bush-loving right-wing woman-hating neanderthal, except the girl did refugee work in Sudan and filed a sexual harassment claim against the head of her divinity school (and no, she did not vote for Bush because of (gasp!) Fahrenheit 9/11.) But she has that consistent "culture of life" ethic that leads her to oppose racism, abortion, war, etc.  

      Most of us exist in the thoughtful middle on these things...

      •  It's the lying (4.00)
        Four sentences after the Dred Scott reference, which evangelicals understood as a hard line against judges who could support Roe v. Wade, Bush said that there would be "no litmus tests."

        "Right to choose" and "hands off here body" are well understood by all. Not true for the Dred Scott allusion.

        I've got blisters on my fingers!

        by Elwood Dowd on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 02:51:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I prefer to call it (4.00)
    "Hog Call Politics"

    Justice DeLay-ed is Justice Denied

    by wry twinger on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 12:05:41 PM PST

    •  LOL (4.00)
      Unelected Judges .... Sooooouuwwweeeeeee

      I listen to the transmissions of the American Taliban (aka hate radio) to clue into the code words du jour.  And they do change, just like encryption code books.  E.g. Intelligent Design = Creationsim = Getting the Bible back into the school room

  •  Another good British expression (none)
    "Government by sofa." It refers to Tony Blair bypassing his Cabinet and getting advice from outsiders.

    In politics, sometimes the jackasses are on your side.

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 12:07:41 PM PST

  •  That's a great phrase (4.00)
    Bush is an evil master of dog-whistle messages. The first enraged rant I ever put in comments here -- lo many years ago in ye olde pre-Scoope dayes -- was about Bush's ability to do this with religious messages.

    My point was that he did not only give coded messages to the religious right that sounded innocous to the general public; much more head-explodingly, he simultaneously coded messages to the religious right and to moderate "soccer mom" independent voters. The "compassion" and "respect" phrases that promised a hard-right theocratic agenda were made to sound moderate, soothing, bipartisan unless your ears were used to the hard-right discourse. So he was telling group A: we will crush our godless enemies! and group B: we can all get along reasonably IN THE VERY SAME WORDS. Mind-boggling.

    In the 2004 campaign, I saw a lot of bloggers and a few journalists catch on to this, but not enough to blunt its effectiveness. I don't think he's doing much of it now -- he's in the crush-the-enemies phase with little need to appeal to moderates any more.

  •  Dred Scott (4.00)
    Bush's Dred Scott reference in the debates which was code to indicate he thought we shoudl be treating fetuses like people is the first example that leapt to mind.

    I knew Ted Hitler. Ted Hitler was a friend of mine. Ted Hitler ate my panda. You're no Ted Hitler.

    by nightsweat on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 12:10:49 PM PST

    •  Then I'm a tone deaf human (none)
      I missed the allusion when I heard it during the debate.  I do remember thinking how weird it was to bring that up, maybe thought he was pandering to St. Louis or something because it was a local case or bragging that he (surprise!) is against slavery.
    •  Is this (none)

      Its not easy being a Floridian.

      by lawstudent922 on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 01:57:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dred Scott debate passage (none)
      Bush: Another example would be the Dred Scott case, which is where judges, years ago, said that the Constitution allowed slavery because of personal property rights.

      That's a personal opinion. That's not what the Constitution says. The Constitution of the United States says we're all -- you know, it doesn't say that. It doesn't speak to the equality of America.

      And so, I would pick people that would be strict constructionists. We've got plenty of lawmakers in Washington, D.C. Legislators make law; judges interpret the Constitution.

      And I suspect one of us will have a pick at the end of next year -- the next four years. And that's the kind of judge I'm going to put on there. No litmus test except for how they interpret the Constitution.

      I didn't understand the Dred Scott reference, nor did the media. Fundies understood it, and weren't bothered when he said "no litmus tests."

      I've got blisters on my fingers!

      by Elwood Dowd on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 02:19:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Constitution says (none)
          we're all -- you know it doesn't say that.
         Certainly Bush was going to say "we're all created equal" which of course is the Declaration. I keep seeing and hearing people conflating the two documents.  It is very troubling.

        "My will is easy to decide, for I have nothing to divide" Joe Hill

        by slick riddles on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 02:32:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  God he's so inarticulate (none)
        I remember that part & I looked at my husband & said ,"He's having a psychotic break". It wasn't until I read about the code on dkos that I got the reference.

        But really what an bumbling idiot!

      •  Even wrong about the Constitution (none)
        Chief Justice Roger B. Taney appears to have been a strict constructionist, a fella Dubya would love. "It is too clear for dispute, that the enslaved African race were not intended to be included, and formed no part of the people who framed and adopted this declaration. . . ."

        Three-fifths of a person for purposes of representation only, no rights whatsoever.

        The framers of the Constitution, he wrote, believed that blacks "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever profit could be made by it."

  •  Which is why (4.00)
    Which is why the Deaniacs reacted so strongly to some of the literature and imagery of the Dean primary campaign.  For instance, the "bat guy" wasn't just about the symbolism of the baseball bat, but the figure mimicked the art on WWII patriotic posters.  WWII = FDR.  That was code.

    And the reaction to "Common Sense for a New Century" pamphlet was similar (although the evocation of the past was more overt).

    All I can say is, those who don't like Christian theocracy and who are nervous about the dog whistle, had better get some "religion" of their own.  They had better start talking to each other in their own code.  First they'd better figure out what their religion actually IS.  Codes and symbols are a lot more powerful tools than even blogs.

    Democrats have issues.  The far right has religion.  Guess who wins?

    We must not let them bust our reformist groove. (k9disc) NY-25

    by NYCO on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 12:10:50 PM PST

    •  Gotta say, I disagree with you... (none)
      Democrats have issues.  The far right has religion.  Guess who wins?

      If you are presenting this as the way the public sees it, then perhaps you are right, but if you are presenting it as the way you see it, then I respectfully disagree. I live in frickin' Portland ("little Beirut") Oregon, hotbed of radical leftists and bomb-lobbing anarchists, and I'd say that most of my friends (most of whom are in the aforementioned lefty category) are religious. That is, they believe in God (or a god), think about religion fairly regularly, attend church, and so forth.

      But, they do not use their faith as a cudgel in the same way that those on the right do. I've been in many disagreements with many of them, and have never, ever, had the Bible quoted to me. I can't go ten words into an argument with a real conservative before Jesus starts poking his head around the corner.

      So I don't think it's that the left isn't religious, it's that the left isn't evangelical, which is the key--evangelicals feel as though they are obligated by God to go out and spread the word. That's why religion figures into everything they do.

      Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work, and then they get elected and prove it.

      by David J on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 01:31:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not even the 'spread the word' thing (4.00)
        That doesn't really bother me much -- it's the 'we're right, you're wrong, facts don't matter' slant.

        I truly don't mind if somebody wants to tell me about their religion, provided they don't shove it down my throat when I don't want to listen.

        I DO mind when they pretend to have a direct connection to God, feel that they do no wrong, rules don't apply to them, and that anybody who doesn't believe like them is wrong.

        That's not evangelical -- that's bigoted and narrow-minded. Decidedly UN-Christ-like.

      •  "evangelicals" (4.00)
        for the THOUSANDTH TIME!!! i feel like screaming, the left has plenty of evangelicals, they just have darker skins!! maybe that's why you all keep ignoring us, and the fact that us minority evangelicals have been fighting slavery, segregation all through history, as evangelical "leftists" with God clearly as our spiritual foundation. Religion certainly has figured into all of our politics, and proudly so. key cultural difference i find when talking to white vs. black liberals. i believe God compelled Martin Luther King to wear his religion on his sleeve.

        and as a minority evangelical, hell yes, i quoted the Bible when i talked about how awful that bankruptcy bill was and how the Bible says people should never be enslaved to debt--we were to release them every 7 years. a group of Christian lawyers made this point to Sen. grassley specifically, which he pointedly ignored since he didn't like imposing such a "theocracy."

        i quote the bible when defending Social Security, because isaiah in the OT talks about not oppressing the widowed and orphaned.

        •  Good point (none)
          so what short term can we use to refer to fascist, intolerant, meddling, vicious and self-righteous white ... fill-in-the-blank ...?

          Ideally it would be something we could all dog-whistle!

          Any ideas?  Does "Fundie" bother you in the same way as "evangelical"?

          •  no, fundies are different (none)
            i have lots of evangelicals friends. no fundamentalists friends. we agree those folks are beyond reasoning. i think the media/liberals often confuse/conflate the two...

            call them the white rightwing fundies....

        •  Oh the Old Testament (none)
          You won't hear the evangelicals quoting a Jewish book (snark). But I agree, I still cry when I hear an MLK speech. And I think Obama, Jesse Jackson & Bill Clinton are effective speakers. But the difference is their intent is inclusive. The rethugs/evangelicals use their statements to exclude.
      •  That's the difference between (none)
        Progressive religion (whether Christian or not) and conservative evangelical Christianity.

        Progressives tend to operate in a "Love one another" and "by their fruits you shall know them", mode.

        Conservative evangelicals tend to "go out into the world, baptizing...and teaching", or as I like to call it, beat them over the head with the Bible until the accept Christ the way we believe they should.

        The evangelical model has translated in to a very activist political model,  the progressive model ends up being much more "laissez-faire", which is why the wingnuts have been kicking ass for the last 10 years

      •  In my view (none)
        One of the weakness of our Party is the fear of putting issues in a religons context. Kennedy did, and many others have. We are afraid that of it some how. I have to say that christianity for most of its time has been a progressive force in the world. Poverty,enviroment etc.

        Lots of people see the world in Black and White. It is mostly just shades of grey.

        by Davinci on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 04:35:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I worry about this attitude (none)
      You seem to paint this as an "us vs. them" issue, with Democrats and the left on the anti-religion side. That is truly sad if that's what you think this is all about.

      I would hope you are not representative of what the left has become. Progressives have a long and proud tradition of being overtly religious in their political appeals. It's not a new thing for either political party.

      Truly religious people do not boil down their belief to bumper stickers, as you seem to suggest that they do. Many, many religious people believe things with intensity, and that carries over into their voting patterns. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with this.

      Every religion has their nutjobs -- we are currently embroiled in a nasty conflict with Islamic extremists of a most vile nature, as I seem to recall -- and Christianity is no exception. As all the polls tell us, the wackos outside Terri Schiavo's hospice are not representative of most Christians.

      I worry about the blatant anti-religious attitude on the blogs right now. I don't mean agnostic -- which is A-OK with me -- but outright bashing of anyone who professes any faith whatsoever.

      This has become a knee-jerk, closed-mind attitude that IMO is just as bad as the knee-jerk, closed-mind attitudes on the other side. Well, maybe not quite as bad.

  •  The article (none)
    I don't have a subscription to the Economist

    I do. Damned expensive too. Nice to see it useful for something.

    Here's a few more snippets:

    Dog-whistle politics can take you only so far
    As with many vivid idioms, its origins are Australian. It seems likely that Lynton Crosby, the Tories' Australian campaign director, is responsible for importing dog-whistle politics to Britain... Dog-whistle politics explains why the Conservative leader, Michael Howard, has been making such a big thing out of illegal gypsy and traveller encampments this week and why the Tories are determined to keep up the attack on the government's immigration policies...And just in case there was any question about who and what the Tories were appealing to, Mr Howard issued his statement on gypsies astride a platform emblazoned with the party's rather creepy campaign slogan: "Are you thinking what we're thinking?" Thinking, but not quite saying, in other words.

    But it doesn't work, says the Economist. At least not in the UK:

    Even on its own limited terms, their snarling campaign may already be running out of puff...Labour is well ahead of the Conservatives on seven out of the eight issues that voters say are most important to them.
    •  "Are you thinking . . . (none)
        . . . What We're Thinking?"

       Eeeeee . . . that is creepy.  Sounds way to close to:  "You Better Be Thinking What We're Thinking", or, "We Hope For You're Sake You're Not Thinking the Wrong Thing!", or, "Just Say 'NO' To Thoughtcrime".

        We don't make mistakes, Mrs. Buttle.


      Awaiting your calls, Chairman Dean, Senator Reid. Lines are open!

      by BenGoshi on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 12:25:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why can't Lib Dems get traction (none)
      I don't get it. If the Tories are intent on electoral suicide and Labour's greatest strength is the profound weakness of the Tories, why doesn't anyone (including the Lib Dems) expect the Lib Dems to contest 500 or so races and do extremely well?

      Are the British Electorate feeling that cynical?

      •  Class System (none)
        Has been splitting the constituency for years. Labor was the Liberal Dems until TB came along.

        Third Way Politics I am sure that you will have some commentary about who came up with that.

        Kos are you coming to LSE while in London?

      •  excuse the shilling (none)
        Well, for one, most of the British electorate aren't absolutists. I work for Labour (so excuse the shilling). I spend all day at my job communicating with voters of all political stripes, and while many are angry over the mistakes of the Blair government - even, perhaps especially those who are traditional firm Labour supporters - they will vote Labour because we do, believe it or not, have an outstanding record on social and economic issues.

        I don't know if those used to the Democratic Party being the public face of quasi-liberal politics realise just how much further left the centrist Labour party is on the hotbutton issues. In 8 years, the Blair government has brought in a living national minimum wage (the equivalent of $9 an hour currently and set to rise to $10 over the next year), cut unemployment to it's lowest since the mid 70s, cut crime dramatically, improved the national health service - not to mention liberal favourites such as introducing civil partnerships, writing off 100% of debt to the world's poorest countries and bringing in the Human Rights Act.

        The Lib Dems' lack of electoral success (which I expect to change soon, and I couldn't be happier) has a lot to do with regional politics. Safe Labour seats are generally always going to be safe Labour seats, and the strongest challenges there are from extreme right parties such as the BNP. The Lib Dems tend make their best showings in middle-class former Tory strongholds or Tory held marginals with their votes coming from young educated professionals and older former Tories who've developed a conscience. It's also down to trust - not enough people believe that they would be competent in government. I think this election will reshape the electoral landscape a lot and allow the Lib Dems to put together a party machine to appeal more thoroughly across the boundaries, not just to their current mostly middle class audience.

        I'm not a complete Labour partisan. I fervently opposed the war, top up fees and I don't believe that Prime Minister Blair is the party's best asset anymore. We have made mistakes, some terrible - but don't believe the hype. Iraq and other mistakes are not par for the course in the Party's agenda as they are for the Republicans. Labour's record over the past 8 years (not to mention the past 100) would make the Democrats cream, and I honestly believe we have brought this country forward. I guess above all, that's why we're going to win the election.

    •  And it is a creepy slogan, isn't it? (none)
      I've written a little (in passing) about the Tories anti-immigration stance and who they're targeting here  

      I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world -- Eugene Debs

      by dove on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 12:26:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Pinky and the Brain (4.00)
      How can anyone take a political party seriously if they take their campaign slogan from Animaniacs? I love Pinky and the Brain, but the Brain is one of the stupidest people mice capable of getting a three digit score on an IQ test. Do the Tories not realize that Animaniacs already used the slogan? Do they think that their target voters have never heard of Pinky and the Brain? Or are they merely as dumb as the Brain?

      Maybe British voters need to start sending the Tories a number of Pinky answers.

      •  Are you thinking what we're thinking? (none)
        Yes, but how on earth will we get enough lederhosen this time of night when we don't share a common currency with Germany?

        --- My opinions are my own and not my employer's.

        by Aexia on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 03:13:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  "Running out of puff"? (none)
      If I were, I don't think I'd admit it. Not in public anyway!
  •  Fascists (none)
       I don't think the left still realizes how radical these folks are. The Nazis were down played in Germany the same way by the media until it was too late and they all ended up in the camps. Bu$h and his gang are just waiting for their allies on the Islamic right to kill more of us so they suspend the Constitution and impose martial law and re-start the draft. These are fascists and like any fascists they hate the rule of law.  

    "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees"

    by Blutodog on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 12:14:29 PM PST

    •  Agree and disagree (none)
      I agree with you that we are frighteningly near a form of fascism, at least by the dictionary definition.  If you look it up, it will say something like "hyper-corporate undue influence on the state coupled with a belligerent nationalism".  But they don't hate the rule of law, Hitler came to power by manipulating and changing the law, not working outside of it, that would be too much.  Fascism creeps in insidiously.  I'm not saying to expect jackboots marching down the street, that was a European thing.  But because it uses nationalism, Fascism is slightly different in every country.  We would, God forbid, have our own particular brand of American Fascism - probably with a xtian right bent.
      •  Law: (none)
        What I meant was they take the law and stand it on it's head. The Nazis ur right did everything "legally" like the Nurenburg laws etc. but these laws  were later ruled by world standards as outlaw. If you create a state based on norms that offend basic "human rights" ur outlaw and the Bu$h gang is edging in that direction. Look at the way they've defined down torture. Premptive war is another example. Yes, it will be fascism American style.  It will as Vice President Wallace said in 1945 come "wrapped in the American flag holding a cross."

        "It's better to die on your feet then live on your knees"

        by Blutodog on Tue Mar 29, 2005 at 06:32:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sweet dude (none)
    I had my mom pick me up a box of Free Enterprise-O's and Count Prolife-ula cereal. Me and my stupid little brother got totally sweet Young Republican decoder rings inside! I'd going to use mine during study hall today to decode the secret daily Cato Institute message on the back of my Capri Sun.
  •  you mean like (none)
    Culture Of Life


    Err on the side of Life

    The repeated blind eye here, of all places, to the "code" has left me astounded.  

    They may have been using facts and process as their weapons, but they are waging a war on the settled law.  

    •  and further (none)
      They may have been using facts and process as their weapons, but they are waging a war on the settled law.

      And on to the second belief statement, the second self-evident truth:

      That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

      We must not let them bust our reformist groove. (k9disc) NY-25

      by NYCO on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 12:30:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think we can look at their choice of words... (none)
      ...for clues.  It's looks a lot like they're planning a big battle around abortion (or at least, making their supporters think they are) with this careful wording.
  •  Dog whistled... (none)
    ...Dubya and DeLay dog whistled when they kept on with the "Life" references... i.e. "Culture of Life®" and "Error on the Side of Life®."
    But now the dog seems to be biting them in the collective asses.

    Wage Peace! here:

    by MichaelPH on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 12:29:31 PM PST

  •  Am I missing something? (none)
    Has there been an election announcement yet?
  •  When discussing the school shooting... (4.00)
    this weekend, bush used a dog whistle.  I heard a clip this morning. He commented that we need to "affirm life" to prevent this kind of thing from happening.  I could hear the echoes from the heads of the fundies as I drove... "affirm life"... "abortion is murder"... "culture of life".   The logical conclusion is that our lack of a "culture of life" led this young man to kill.  Poverty, hatred, teenage hormones be damned - the explanation is clear. If we simply banned abortion and kept everybody alive as long as machinery would allow, nobody would commit murder anymore.  
    •  plus ... (none)
      We can bleed the middle class into one big poor class with the new bankrupty (Leave No Banker Behind) law. Then they'll have to keep for voting for us, cause they'll keep chasing that rainbow. Karl, my balls are getting dry..
  •  Where's that from (none)
    I thought it was an odd phrase when I came across it in the British news in reference to his anti-Gypsy rhetoric.

    A quick google has me guessing that the term came out of Australia as lots of Auzzie sites seem to use the term...

    This abstract claims that the term was starting to be used to describe the Auzzie Howard in 2001 (article 2003)

    The oldest "primary" source I saw is from November 2002.

    And from their parliament:

    The title of the monograph refers to dog-whistle politics. A quote from journalist Mike Steketee is used to define dog-whistle politics as "where a subliminal message, not literally apparent in the words used, is heard by sections of the community". Manning analyses the news coverage of the Sydney Morning Herald, including the Sun-Herald, and the Daily Telegraph, including the Sunday Telegraph, for a two-year period--being the 12 months before and the 12 months after 11 September 2001. This includes not just the events of 11 September 2001 but also the Tampa issues, gang rapes, and the Palestinian intafada. Manning writes:

    PS Kos while you are in England will you get out of London?

    The only international crime is losing a war

    by Luam on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 12:34:24 PM PST

    •  Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie! (none)
      As somone upthread mentioned, it's an import from Australia. The Tories brought in Lynton Crosby, who has been refrenced as the Karl Rove of Australia, and was responsible for getting - and keeping - John Howard in power. For the first time in large-scale British politics, Crosby has brought in push-polling and new daily talking points designed for coordinated attacks on Blair.

      Going from all that, I would assume that "dog-whistle politics" were used for the benefit of John Howard (think about all the attention he gave the crisis with that ship of immigrants offshore), and as such, Austrian newspapers have probably been using them for a while.

      Besides, the Brits love idiomatic expressions in their newspapers. Some Guardian write probably saw it in the SMH, and (after giggling for joy) started using it everywhere.

  •  Polarized Filter Politics (4.00)
    The Dog Whistle is a perfect metaphor for the feeding-the-wing-nut-base that led to the Schaivo miscalculation.

    If the Democrats can figure out how to do this right (along with wedge issues and all the rest) we will do very well in the future.

    Another metaphor that I've used to explain another part of the Clinton/Bush/Rove strategy, is the polarizing filters.

    You know what happens when two polarizing filters are aligned? They allow all light to pass. When rotated 90 degrees, they shut out all light.

    In Politics, there are some issues that opposing sides can never agree on, but there are others that work for both sides.

    This is where the polarizing filter metaphor fits in. Both Clinton and Rove looked for issues that worked on both sides of the spectrum, and rode those to victory. For Clinton, it was the "era of big government is over", welfare reform, and other triangulation strategies.

    For Rove and Bush, it was No Child Left Behind, Restore Honor and Dignity to the White House, Compassionate Conservatism, and things like that.

    These are the shafts of light that pass through the left/right polarizing filters, that both sides agree on.

    food for thought . . .

    •  I don't get (none)
      the Clinton/Bush/Rove formula. You may not agree with him or even like him but don't put him in with the likes of Bush & Rove.

      I can't take Bush anymore I want Clinton back!
      Anybody but Bush/Cheney- Evil Incarnate!

  •  What campaign??? (none)
    I'll be in London the last week of the campaign courtesy of the Guardian UK, and this is one angle I definitely plan on pursuing.  

    What campaign is he talking about??  Did I miss something?

  •  I feel like I live in a world (none)
    where its nothing but dog-whistle reality.  Only a certain group of people actually see the world for what it is.  The rest just move along obliviously.
  •  They also thumb their noses at parties (none)
    while standing behind the backs of an ill-informed public.

    From Bush's "crusaders" gaff to some nasty comments made about Europe and the firing of the WH chef allegedly because of his fondness for French cuisine, during Condi's kiss and make up to Europe.

    They happen a lot.  And I've probably saved a dozen.  Unfortunately I can't find a damn thing in what passes for my filing system.  

    I also loved reading about progress in the Israeli peace attempts and finding an announcement for grants to move to the settlements in an Israeli paper.

    "yes dear...conspiracy theories really do come true." (tuck, tuck)

    by tribalecho on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 12:39:53 PM PST

  •  My dog... (none) smarter than most of the U.S. press, who couldn't expose the truth if it pulled down its pants.
  •  Bush uses the "dog-whistle" (3.66)
    every time he lets loose with another "is our children learning" type of statement.  We laugh and his followers think, "yep, there goes those elitists again."  

    We laugh at Bush for his stupidity and his followers take it personally.  Talk about your stupid pet tricks.  The dumber Bush acts, the more loyal his base becomes.  For Bush to ever approach an issue intelligently would be simply bad politics, for him.

    •  "yep there goes them elitists again" (none)

      "Gravity always wins."

      by Renegade Prole on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 01:06:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, this is Bush's schtik (none)
        The puzzling phrases, mangled grammar, and simplistic circularity of Bush's rhetoric are parts of a comprehensive, populist image the Rove team has crafted for public consumption.
        •  as long as you feel you could (none)
          sit down and have a beer with the guy, that should be the determinate factor in whether or not he has the authority to push the big red button.  I have to hand it to Rove,  he really has his hand on the pulse of Reactionairy America.  But is it really that hard?  Isn't it what marketing execs have been doing for decades?  

          We buy more useless shit than any country so it should be no surprise that we bought the useless piece of crap now residing at 1600 Penn. Ave.

          "Gravity always wins."

          by Renegade Prole on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 01:26:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Or he could have said (none)
        something like this.

        "I'm fascinated by rap and by hip-hop. I think there's a lot of poetry in it. There's a lot of anger, a lot of social energy in it, and I think you'd better listen to it pretty carefully, 'cause it's important."

        How is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain.


    •  Anti Intellectualism (none)
      To look through the reductionistic lense of religion is really an easy way to perceive the world. Deconstructs alot of the complexity that is out there. Our President speaks in that language. We on the other hand say, "Hey it is not that simple moron."

      Well when we did have a smart, uber intellectual in the White House he betrayed the trust of the American people. Clinton's foibles hurt smart people and Democrats in immeasurable ways.

      FYI--Hillary is about the only Clintonite that has gone on to win bc she hasn't had to address the 900 lb gorilla in the room.

      She is going to win the primary and go don in the general. Sweetness.

      •  I don't see anything wrong... (none)
        with saying it the easy way and doing it the hard way. Just because you can melt a campaign platform down to one sentence/phrase doesn't mean the whole law has to be that way. That is why we elect representatives. They are there to turn the ideas we support (simple) into reality (messy).
    •  He has to (none)
      Born in CT....part of the Bush dynasty...son of a former president...Yale...inherited wealth...multiple failed businesses do nothing to hurt him...draft dodging...

      Stick him on a fake ranch, have him mangle some speech, wear a cowboy hat and twang the speech a bit. Presto! Your GOP fortunate son is now a populist "man of the people".

      The world's address
      a place that's worn
      a sad pun that reflects a sadder mess
      In case you haven't already guessed:
      The world's a dress.

      by Jaiwithani on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 01:54:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good example (none)
      Whenever he acts stupid, stupid people think he is one of them. But people who aren't stupid nonetheless give him a pass. Why?

      Because there's a bit more to it. The language he uses is hypnotic lanugage. It is NLP. What is NLP? It is Lakoff on steroids: NLP was created by a mad-scientist psychologist and a mad-scientist linguist in the 1970's. They lifted the best of from Milton Erickson, Virginia Satir, and Fritz Perls. They discovered that even though emotional (unconscious/hypnotic) lanugage appears to be gobbeldygook, it has a linguistic structure, although one very different from logical conscious language. They studied it, mapped it out, and put it to use in theraputic and sales/marketing contexts.

      I've been trained in NLP. It is an attitude more than a set of techniques, and if you have the attitude-- presumptiveness and bold-faced ability to lie completely congruently-- the stuff works wonders. It can be used to help people who are suffering (from phobias or PTSD or schizophrenia), or to make a lot of money (i.e. Tony Robbins), or... to win elections. Bush and Rove have the attitude. I wouldn't be surprised if Bush Jr. and/or Bush Sr. have been trained by Bandler. Bandler and Grinder both did work for the CIA.

      Hypnotic language is neither new nor bad, I might add. Dr. King was a master of hypnotic lanugage and it's all over his most famous speeches-- preachers have always tended to be at or near the highest state of the art in speaking to the emotional, unconscious mind. In earlier times, we called it "charisma", but it's basically hypnosis.

      I hear classic snippets of hypnotic lanugage all over Bush's speeches. I don't know whether he learned it from Bandler, or from his dad, or from all them fundamentalist bible-thumpin' preachers down there in Texas, or just some innate skill, but the man knows his stuff.

      It'd be funny to get a couple NLP'ers together to sit down and map out a Bush speech or off-the-cuff word-salad answer. "Unspecified referential index! Scope ambiguity! Phonological ambiguity! Damn, there's another one!" I think the study of NLP ( has huge potential both for understanding what the right wing is doing, and, more importantly, arming us to be able to fight back... and win.

  •  A good term, but it's nothing new (none)
    The term "quota" has long been the modern right wing substitute for "niggers."
  •  Culture of LIES (none)
    these are "Pro LIE" republicans
  •  Quota = N word? (none)
    please explain
  •  Dog-Whistle This (none)
    Looks like a judge in Colorada needs to check his hearing- he threw out a jury's recommendation for the death penalty 'cause they read the Bible before making the recommendation.

    No lie. Check it out here.



  •  semi OT (none)
    Blair, keen to win a third straight term in office for Labour, is expected to announce a May 5 election in the next week or two.

    The poll for the Independent on Sunday newspaper, conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday by CommunicateResearch, put Labour at 43 percent, the Tories at 31 percent and the Liberal Democrats at 17 percent.

    The results follow a YouGov poll for the Daily Telegraph on Friday which showed Labour and Tories running virtually neck and neck at 35 percent and 34 percent respectively.

  •  I'm listening to Hannity right now (none)
    Can't help it - it's an obsession.  

    He has mentioned "unelected judges" seventeen times in the last twelve minutes.  "Unelected judges versus YOUR elected representatives."

    There was a real smear campaign against one of Missouri's finest men on the bench last year - Richard Titleman.  It was a disgrace.


    The truth is found when men are free to pursue it. FDR, 1936 Go fuck yourself. Dick Cheney, 2004

    by aimeeinkc on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 12:58:48 PM PST

    •  not to mention (none)
      at least some of the lower judges were elected in thier own right and all were appointed by elected politicians some even by (gasp) Reagan
    •  Thanks for the reminder (none)
      I'd forgotten about the smear against Teitelman - even Phyllis Schlafly got involved in that. Yecchhh.

      "Unelected judge" is definitely a term worth watching. I bet we hear it a lot. Thanks.

    •  One Trick Pony (none)
      The current righties really have only one trick up their sleeve. It has many names: Dog-whistling, propagandizing, word association, whatever. It's all based on using their built-in advantages (the soapbox of the presidency now, money always) to repeat phrases and words over and over together so that voters begin to associate them. Iraq = 9/11. Culture of Life = anti-abortion. It's hard work = we're saving souls.

      The cynicism is absolutely breathtaking, but Bush particularly is the best I've ever seen at it. He understands how this sort of thing works, and is very, very clever about using. Make no mistake. This is not Rove, or Cheney. It's Bush. He learned this trick a long time ago, and through cleverness, discipline, and above all else an appalling willingness to use it over and over on any issue, he now dominates American politics. God help us all.

  •  OK..thanks (none)
    this isn't an issue I know much about

    but I definitely think using quotas as sole reason to claim discrimination is totally wrong


    but not a simple issue I admit

  •  As I've been saying (none)
    to the apparent disregard of all here (I'm quitting Kos, I swear it, right now, you ingrates!), I think Schiavo/Bush has been a dog-whistle too. I think there's a particularly high-pitched element that's aimed at Catholics without a strong political alignment who may be touched by the government's "concern" for one person's life.  
  •  Well... (none)
    It's not quite as easy as it sounds in the excerpt - at least according to The Economist, the magazine for people who know everything so much better (some more details from that article):

    "Dog-whistle politics can take you only so far

    "OVER the past few weeks, a new expression has entered the Westminster lexicon: dog-whistle politics. It means putting out a message that, like a high-pitched dog-whistle, is only fully audible to those at whom it is directly aimed. The intention is to make potential supporters sit up and take notice while avoiding offending those to whom the message will not appeal. As with many vivid idioms, its origins are Australian. It seems likely that Lynton Crosby, the Tories' Australian campaign director, is responsible for importing dog-whistle politics to Britain.

    "Dog-whistle politics explains why the Conservative leader, Michael Howard, has been making such a big thing out of illegal gypsy and traveller encampments this week and why the Tories are determined to keep up the attack on the government's immigration policies. On March 22nd, Peter Lilley, a former Tory minister, published a pamphlet entitled 'Too Much of a Good Thing' attacking government claims about the economic benefits of immigration. Both Mr Howard and Mr Lilley were scrupulous in the language they used. Mr Howard made it clear that gypsies' ethnicity was not an issue. All he cared about was 'fair play' and 'standing up for the right values'. Mr Lilley argued that 'some immigration is essential'. Only large-scale immigration of the kind the government had allowed was damaging.

    "Nothing that Mr Howard or Mr Lilley said could fairly be described as racist. A Labour MP's claim that Tory plans for dealing with the gypsy problem had 'the whiff of the gas chamber about them' was absurd. Yet it is also true that racists, bigots and the millions of people who are neither of those things but whose fears are fanned daily by a mendacious press will have pricked up their ears and listened to a message aimed squarely at them. And just in case there was any question about who and what the Tories were appealing to, Mr Howard issued his statement on gypsies astride a platform emblazoned with the party's rather creepy campaign slogan: 'Are you thinking what we're thinking?' Thinking, but not quite saying, in other words."

    Don't you just love a press which indicates racism or bigotism behind such efforts (which are oh-so-familiar to US readers from the Republican machinery)? On it goes:

    "When not shamelessly pandering to prejudice, the Tory campaign has been a series of hit-and-run ambushes on the government's record. Egged on by the Tory tabloids, who have tired of Mr Blair and are desperate to help the Conservatives make a fight of this election, issues come and go with bewildering speed. For a couple of days, immigration dominates the headlines, then hospital waiting lists, then abortion, then tax, followed by gypsies and tax again. The BBC seems willing to go along with a news agenda set by the right-wing and populist Daily Mail. All are agreed that the Tories are doing surprisingly well in making the running against a flat-footed government. Labour, its once lightning-fast campaigning reflexes dulled by eight years of office, ploddingly tries to bat away one accusation, while another, entirely different, flies past its ears."

    However, it doesn't seem to work:

    "Even on its own limited terms, their snarling campaign may already be running out of puff. ICM, whose poll for the Guardian last month raised Tory hopes, this week dashed them again. It wasn't just that Labour, following last week's budget, had extended its lead over the Conservatives from three points to eight, although that was bad enough.

    "Worse, ICM revealed that Labour is well ahead of the Conservatives on seven out of the eight issues that voters say are most important to them. Only on immigration and asylum did the Tories have a lead, and only 8% of respondents said it was the most important issue to them. Most ominously, Labour was rated as the best party to manage the economy by 41% of voters compared with 24% for the Conservatives. In January, a poll by Populus for the Times found similar strength for Labour on the big issues. Labour may have disappointed them in all sorts of ways, but for all that, the voters who Mr Howard must reach are still comfortable with it."

  •  Welcome to the UK Kos! (none)
    I hope you'll enjoy our fair land when you get here (and drink in the UK political scene, full of blaring newspapers and activists on the street with nary a TV ad to be seen!)

    I think that the expression "dog-whistle" is strange, considering that Michael Howard's campaign is as unsubtle as anything you could imagine- blatant pitches to the Right on immigration and 'gypsies', with the slogan "Are you thinking what we're thinking?" (or as we put it, "Are you drinking what we're drinking?")- not exactly coded like Dredd Scott to by-pass the moderate majority.  Howard is putting the politics of hate front and centre of his campaign without a sense of shame.

  •  Kos off to London (none)
    courtesy of Guardian UK...gotta love it.
  •  dogwhistle (none)
    I've heard the term "dogwhistle" used to call someone uptight (i.e. his or her @ss is so tight they, ahem, break wind in a pitch only dogs can hear).  

    Grizzlebee's: You'll wish you had less fun.

    by sendtoscott on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 01:26:06 PM PST

  •  Bush isn't the first to do this. (none)
    Clinton did the same thing to the 12-step community.  Lotta recovery jargon.
  •  Cults create their own simpleminded languages (none)
    all the time, in order to keep their followers ignorant but obedient, uninformed but feeling very special and important.

    This sort of secret language manipulative enterprise is the grandaddy of the ubiquitous sound-bite, probably the most pernicious component in the public dialog.

    Another mutant offspring of this whole dynamic is the thing called "spin". Spin of course, has devolved from having once referred to merely presenting an alternative emphasis on things to now being synonomous with lying.

    Even after all this, I still wonder; Does anyone know what the secret handshake is, or what color the magic underware is?

  •  Maybe in the U.S. (none)
    we should call it "God-whistle" politics?
    •  Off topic (none)
      but this reminds me of the joke:  what do you call an insomniac agnostic dyslexic?  someone who stays up all night worrying about whether there is a dog.

      Seriously though, it is the overwhelming self-rightousness of the overtly religious right that makes them such an easy target for the dog whistles.  I mean, because what they believe is automatically right, if someone believes the same as they do, he cant be wrong.  It is only us cynics (funny how that word is derived from dog) who see the whistles for what they are.  I didnt until after about 2002, now my whistle alert is on full steam, so to speak)

      Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

      by barbwires on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 03:31:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is called "speaking in code" (4.00)
    Two examples from 2000:

    "A humble foreign policy". Humble to a far right wing Christian means "an instrument of god'. Bi-coastal types heard "plays well with others", religious radio listeners heard "will invade countries at God's command".

    "No Child Left Behind" - Bicoastal types didn't get the rapture reference.

    •  I'm glad you brought this up! (none)
      The "No Child Left Behind" meme has rankled me ever since I found out about the "Left Behind" book series. It explains a lot about NCLB's abject failure. The failure was calculated. The "solution" is school vouchers and "Edison Project"-style schools. Better to prepare the poor for prison life!

      I think the Cato Instiute should be evacuated and leveled to a parking lot and the RW fundies should be allowed their "Intelligent Design" so they can better learn what Darwin meant by "survival of the fittest".

      "You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case." - Ken Kesey

      by Glinda on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 07:02:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love my Economist subscription... (none)
    Michael Howard's turning gypsies into a campaign issue is just disgraceful.  I mean, is it really 2005?

    (Insert Democrat Here) for President in 2008!

    by teenagedallasdeaniac on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 01:52:52 PM PST

    •  It is a common tactic over here (none)
      Unfortunately.  If you want to get some votes, bash the Gypsies.

      There is an old Tory election leaflet that went along the lines of

      "If you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour".

      In 2005, replace the N word for the G word.

      Pisses me off no end, I am a long-term Labour member and I will find my self voting for the Lib-Dems.

      My mum will be spinning in her grave, but I've got to vote eh?

    •  Well (none)
      After watching Snatch with Brad Pitt... I can see why you'd be fearful of Gipsies in the UK.


      Seriously, I don't know what they mean in the UK ,but my girlfriend from Russia talks about Gipsies from back home and has no kind words.  She had her purse stolen by a gang of Gypsies and apparently wouldn't press charges with the police for fear of retribution.

      "If any question why we died, Tell them, because our fathers lied." - Rudyard Kipling, 1918

      by Steve4Clark on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 02:10:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  gypsies is not the preferred nomenclature (none)
      pikey, please.

      /Lebowski meets Snatch

      •  Howard doesn't remember his own past (none)
        It was the Tory government of the early ninties (which he was a part of) that told councils that they no longer had to create proper sites for travellers/gypsies to stop on. And now he is whining about how they're using unauthorised land and building structures without planning permission? Bloody hypocrite.
    •  it's still a major issue in Europe (none)
      Although certainly not the majority of them, there are somewhat organized and highly-visible groups of gypsies who rob people in most major European cities, especially targetting tourists.  One popular tactic in Italy recently has been for a mother to throw her baby at a tourist, who instinctively catches it; while his hands are thus occupied (not to mention his being a little dazed) his pockets are picked clean.  In Spain, it's also common to try to put sprigs of some sort of plant in your hand outside of cathedrals and then demand money, usually somewhat aggressively and responding angrily if you don't give enough.
  •  Speaking in W's ? (none)
    Speaking in Dumbs....

    must be something that'll rhyme here

  •  Welcome to Old Europe Kos (none)
    They haven't announced a date for the election yet, but most of the bets are on May 5th plus or minus a week.  Remember that everything of any importance in the UK happens on a Thursday.

    Apart from the FA Cup final!

  •  Jeb: "I can't save Terri" (none)
    = Give me MORE power ?

    I keep wondering if we didn't miss a clear dog whistle on this Schiavo deal...

    In the future people will wonder why most didn't challenge Bush's excesses
    The truth? Complacency was easier

    by lawnorder on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 02:11:09 PM PST

  •  Dred Scott & Bush's Inaugural Address (none)
    I am reading the Dred Scott decision for school and as I was reading it, I was repeatedly reminded of an inconsistency in Bush's Inaugural Address.  

    Inaugural Address
    "From the day of our founding we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights and dignity and matchless value"--George W. Bush

    Dred Scott Majority Opinion
    "The Declaration if Independence says 'We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal'...the general words would seem to embrace the whole human family, but the enslaved African race were not intended to be included, and formed no part of the people who framed and adopted this Declaration...they had for more than a century been regarded as inferior, unfit to associate with the white race...could be bought and sold, and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic"--Chief Justice Taney

    Does that language create an image of a time in which every man and woman had "rights and dignity and matchless value??"

    Its not easy being a Floridian.

    by lawstudent922 on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 02:11:46 PM PST

    •  I recall that Abigail Adams (none)
      Admonished her husband to "Remember the Ladies" when the men were building the great experiment called America.

      So even then, the ladies recognized that "all men" did not include them.

      "The world is a church and life is its service." Norman Andrews

      by Bionic on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 04:46:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Attention All Liberals!!! (none)
    Calling all liberals, forward this story to everyone you can think of...we have to get this conservative agenda out into the light.

    Here, a conservative wants the U.S. to nuke China to ensure they don't consume "our" resources in the future.

    Get it out, get it out!!


    •  Adam Yoshida... (none)
      Can no longer shock me. Every time I read his stuff, I can't tell weather he's actually serious about what he writes - sadly, I figure he probably is, and feel sad and dissapointed for all os us that there are enough people out there that read his shit.

      Although, it's not like he tries to hide:

      This blog is maintained by Adam Teiichi Yoshida: ultra-conservative political commentator
  •  Dred Scott (none)
    I'd be amazed if Bush even knows what the Dred Scott decision is. His speechwriters probably just told him not to worry, no one else knows what it is either but they'll be too embarrassed to admit it and he'll look like real interlectural and stuff.

    Nukular and internets and strategery, oh my!

    by pattyp on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 02:34:15 PM PST

  •  The Economist (none)
    The Economist is one of the best rags money can buy.  And it takes a lot of money ... $100/yr.  

    Why would a dedicated leftist spend that kind of money on a rightwing magazine?  Because they provide some of the best reporting you can read.  Typically, they take what we could call 'libertarian' perspectives, but they aren't blind to the social impact of economic decisions.  They practice good, old-fashioned studies of "political economy."  

    A year or so ago, they did a study of the worldwide trade in illegal drugs, coming down for legalization.  In the last issue, they published a study of illegal immigration in the US and  recommended that the US open its borders and decriminalize crossing the border to look for work.  They picked Blair for PM, Kerry for President and labelled Bush "The Profligate President" more than two years ago.

    And, of course, you will get plenty of opinions you don't agree with ... but you'll have to think hard to formulate your own side of the argument.

    Oh yeah, and I like reading it, too.  ;-)


    If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know. -- Louis Armstrong

    by pdxlooie on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 02:40:14 PM PST

  •  Oz's Dog Whistler (none)
    From Australia, I just have to point out that our current PM, John Winston Howard is a consumate dog-whistler.  

    "We will decide who comes to this country, and the circumstances in which they come!"  was touted as a border security issue, but the wingnuts knew full well it meant "Let's keep out the ragheads and the darkies!".

    Sometimes, he just refuses to condemn the most rabid wingnuts, wipes them out secretly and absorbs their looney fringe votes. (Aussies know which redhead I'm talking about.)

    •  What are wingnuts obsessed with (none)
      in your country.  Does religion play a big part?
      •  Religiosity in Oz Politics... (none)
        It's influence is growing, I'm just starting to notice it.  The pentacostal churches here have exploded in recent years.  Our first "Australian Idol" winner actually had a stable of 50,000 fundamentalists to vote him to stardom, and our next (deputy) Prime Minister is always happy to be seen singing along with them.

        They reportedly have hundreds of new 'pledges' every week, through their brainwashing ceremonies.

        In the last federal election, a new moron fundy party called 'Family First' got a seat in the senate.

        "Family", "Traditional" or "Moral" "Values" are the perfect dog whistles.

  •  SOTU (none)
    In the last issue of The Progressive, Matthew Rothschild goes into detail about some of the "dog whistle" statements made in the last SOTU address.  It was very eye-opening and infuriating.  I found it online here.

    You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.

    by logan on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 03:08:45 PM PST

  •  So that's what the Dred Scott ref meant! (none)
    Dang, to the majority of us liberals it sounded as if Bush was making a solemn promise not to bring back slavery.

    Which we figured he'd probably break.

    The less a man knows about how sausages and laws are made, the easier it is to steal his vote and give him botulism.

    by SensibleShoes on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 03:22:48 PM PST

  •  So now George W's speeches are (none)
    to be examined on different levels?  He is sending one message to one group and another to another group and neither one is supposed to understand what the other is hearing.  Pretty good for a guy that is not supposed to be able to construct a sentence.

    Poets, priests and poiticians
    Have words to thank for their positions

    •  actually (none)
      I think we've discovered the things that makes  W so polarizing.

      when W speaks , 48 % of the populations here gibberish and thinks this guy is an idiot......51%  understand the codewords and so think this guy is like me and I want him for president

      •  Or maybe (none)
        they're not codewords, and it's just the way people like us think?

        Think about it in reverse: we hear John Kerry and think this guy can't make a damned decison; you hear John Kerry and think "yay! nuance!"

        Should we call that "codewords" too?

        What am I doing on DailyKos? I'm Running for the Right...

        by RFTR on Mon Apr 11, 2005 at 11:33:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  They Do This More Than Many "Get" (none)
    I bet many of the contributors here can't even "hear" many of the messages the GOP sends out, and they aren't well documented anywhere I've seen. Having grown up with the Christian Right around, and having kept tabs on what the Christian Right has been saying (to its own people), I know I've heard a lot of stuff that sounded like white noise to the average Democrat.

    For example all the anti-UN stuff is not only anti-Black Helicopter Conspiracies of US Invasion, it is also anti-"Left Behind" Antichrist Who Runs the UN. Considering the sources of some of this are close to the power that reigns in DC now, it's open to question whether these ideas were planted with the intent of later use, rather than the base being pandered to or those ideas merely being expedient to frame public opinion.

  •  Geo Washington slept here (none)
    I contribute a lot of this to the destruction of the American public school system for which both the right and the left can take credit. Without a common grounding in the history and the mythology of America both sides are just talking past each other.  
  •  This Is Some of What I've Been Meaning (none)
    in often saying that on many of these issues "there is no debate."

    The dog-whistle works as a signal because the training was done ahead of time out of our earshot and away from our participation.

    We do need to know what these forces are teaching, but we must be sensible about trying to win debates or arguments with them because in  many instances there simply are none.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 04:41:16 PM PST

  •  Speaking in partisan tongues (none)
    Coded speech, secret messages in broadcast media, saying the hateful in earshot of the hated with impunity.

    If that's not a red alert for a Redshirt Revolution, nothing is.

    Republican prayer - Please, God. Let us keep Teri Schiavo's soul trapped in her decayed body for as long as possible. Amen.

    by cskendrick on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 05:19:09 PM PST

  •  And what (none)
    of this snippet from John Kerry's Acceptance Speech at the 2004 Dem National Convention?
    We believe that what matters most is not narrow appeals masquerading as values, but the shared values that show the true face of America; not narrow values that divide us, but the shared values that unite us: family, faith, hard work, opportunity and responsibility for all, so that every child, every adult, every parent, every worker in America has an equal shot at living up to their God-given potential. That is the American dream and the American value.
    No mention anywhere else in the speech of gay marriage, whatsoever, while this clearly references it.  Isn't that dog-whistle politics?

    Kos, it really weakens your argument when you try to imply that only Republicans are misbehaving politically.  I understand that this is a partisan site, but ignoring the nuance of both sides is a mistake.

    What am I doing on DailyKos? I'm Running for the Right...

    by RFTR on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 05:48:32 PM PST

    •  You forgot to mention that (none)

      he referred to "god".  That was aimed squarely at the white evangelical rightwing republican knee jerk extreme reactionist bigots.

      I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
      and stops my mind from wandering
      where it will go


    •  Kind of the reverse (none)
      Maybe Kerry was blowing through the wrong end of the dog whistle. As a conservative you seem to find a commitment to gay marriage in this statement. As a progressive, I find only unobjectionable nostrums.

      The Dred Scott example was much more dramatic, in my opinion. And I don't particularly see it as "misbehaving politically." If there are linguistic totems that resonate with your supporters but mean nothing to your opponents, go ahead and use them. The fact that the Dems and mainstream media didn't understand the reference means we hadn't been studying the fundamentalist right very well.

      But, to use Dred Scott one moment then say "no litmus test" the next is... "disingenuous."

      I've got blisters on my fingers!

      by Elwood Dowd on Tue Mar 29, 2005 at 05:19:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Kos (none)
    Dog Whistle Politics were discusssed and explained last week in the UK Election 05 Diary here on your own thread!!

    You really had to go to Political Wire a week later to find out about it when your own people were writing about it on here?

    Just shows what rubbish some of us write! That is one diary worth scrapping, then!

  •  Reagan in Mississippi (none)
    Sorry if someone's already mentioned this one, but Reagan kicked off his presidential campaign talking about states' rights in Philadelphia, Miss., where civil rights workers were slain in the early 60's. A definite dog whistle to the racist right.
  •  It's happening in VA right now: (none)
    Jerry Kilgore never refers to Democrat Tim Kaine as "Christian", even though Kaine was a missionary. Kilgore always makes sure to call him "a good Catholic" or an "Irish Catholic" - "good Catholic" being synonymous in some circles with "papist".
    •  Huzzah, huzzah, huzzah! (none)
      I can attest to the 'Catholics=papists' here in the South.  Throw in the fact that the Catholic Church has NOT denounced evolution and there you have it.  Catholics are a bunch of papist, ID-hating freaks.

      I need to move.

  •  dog whistles and UK politics (none)
    The Dog Whistle (and some other upcoming UK election threads) was discussed on this daily Kos diary last week ....


  •  The NYTimes dogwhistles me when... (none)
    it prints pix like today's (A-14) of the civilian mercenaries providing security for Negroponte.

    Remember, some day thousands of these motherfuckers are coming HOME!

  •  Huh? (none)
    I can't believe that anybody who participates in this blog wouldn't know that virtually the entire Republican political lexicon is comprised of code words that hearken back to the good old days of the "original intent" of the framers when slavery was legal, women couldn't vote, the poor (meaning the bottom 90% of us) knew their place, and the slaveowners ran the country.  

    The Republican Party is the party of the side that lost the Civil War.  140 years later they're trying to remake the country back to what it was before 1860.  And they're doing it because the opposition refuses to see the big picture.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site