Any mention of the census provides the right an opportunity to attack “big government” and the man at its helm, Barack Obama. Sometimes, though, rather than taking on the president full force, subtle forces work together to create an innuendo too perfect to be coincidence, like this image that links a sex-offender who worked for the census to Hooker-loving Eliot Spitzer and Barack “Joe-Bama” guzzling beer with white ladies.
First, a summary of the story, “NJ Mom Recognizes Census Worker as Sex Offender:” a New Jersey woman answered the door, thought her census worker looked familiar and then realized she had seen his face in an online list of sex offenders. Pretty scary shit, yes: we don’t need a sex offender roaming the streets willy-nilly, especially when he’s getting green from the government, which explains why Matt Drudge picked it up. Let the innuendo begin…
The right hates the Census. We know that. This ten-year ritual represents nothing more than a ploy by the bloated government to gather information so the secret police can kidnap you and turn you into a socialist. Oddly enough, fear of the census is one thing the far right and illegal immigrants have in common. Considering the right’s acrimony toward all things federal – and the frightening sex offender twist – it’s a perfect fit for some subtle messaging.
Websites often offer readers “related” stories or pictures that may interest them. This census worker suggests two images. The first is “Cheating Politicians,” which features pictures of shame-faced Eliot Spitzer and his former hooker, Ashley Dupré. The other story, “Just Your Average Joe-Bama,” shows the President drinking beer with a bar full of white women. This last one’s the most troublesome.
Sure, the image of President Obama drinking with women, all of whom happen to be white, shouldn’t be objectionable. When connected to big government, a sex offender and a Governor who left office amidst a prostitution scandal, this image taps into some subconscious American fears.
White people for years, and some still, believed black guys were going to take all their women. The Republican National Committee in 2006 tried a similar angle against another black politician, Harold Ford: their attack commercial featured a naked woman who “met Harold at the Playboy party” and implored him to call her. Ford described the commercial as “tasteless,” and his opponent’s team called it “tacky.”
Innuendos come in many forms. It can be in the form of a commercial, like President Lyndon Johnson’s election-clinching 1964 “Daisy” commercial, which intimated that a Barry Goldwater win would lead to nuclear disaster and turn little blond girls into ash. Other times innuendo appears on a whisper, as when Ann Coulter poked fun at John Edwards’ expensive hair, thereby questioning his heterosexuality. She proved out to be wrong on that one, huh?
The most powerful political innuendos are a confluence of seemingly coincidental messages, hard to put together into a coherent package. Perhaps they’re even unconscious. But when the pieces do start to click, an innuendo – like Obama, Spitzer, sex offender and the “big government” census – can become something entirely different: a sledgehammer. Not to mention ridiculous.