How Low Can You Go?

October 15th, 2010

Right wingers seem to be constantly pushing the envelope these days. The latest example? A billboard showing four versions of Obama: terrorist (He’s a Muslim!), gangster (from Chicago!), bandito (Headless torsos are his fault! Somehow!), and gay man (he doesn’t bash gays!). The Obamas are playing poker, all carrying triple sixes (They’re all cheating! And they’re all the AntiChrist!), gambling with the constitution, the bible, the liberty bell, Lady Justice, Uncle Sam, and our troops, while sinister-looking rats (Get it? DemocRATS? That’s so original!) labeled IRS, trial lawyers, the EPA and the Fed scurry under the table, and grinning vultures labeled “George Soros” and “U.N.” wait for Obama to kill off America so they can pick at the carcass.


Jesus. I mean, we had a great deal to hate about Bush, but I’m not sure we ever went this far, even on web sites, much less on a public billboard. But it does show the level of complete and utter fantasy the right wing is indulging in, buying the science fiction Fox peddles as gospel.

It would be hard to image what asinine, racist, homophobic, bigoted scare imagery they didn’t include. No, wait–I don’t see him as a nazi or as a communist. Unless the Mexican is a socialist and the gay man is a closet Nazi.

The person or group who commissioned the billboard and determined its content is staying hidden–apparently they’re either too connected or too embarrassed to admit to putting this thing up. I would guess the former–one has to have little or no shame to pay for something like this.

  1. Troy
    October 15th, 2010 at 02:55 | #1

    And 40%+ of this country buys it.

    Watching Daniel Ellberg’s documentary on PBS . . .

    (check it out if you can, it’ll be on the web for two more weeks)

    the one thing that hit me was Ellsberg relating to a contact he made in the late 60s peace movement, an Indian woman who made the observation that her culture didn’t have the concept of “enemy”, that everyone has intrinsic value as a human regardless of their behavior or stupidity. I think this is a very useful moral position.

  2. Geoff K
    October 15th, 2010 at 13:34 | #2

    Actually, I think the Mexican is a reference to Obama’s “unique” approach to immigration (“We don’t enforce our immigration laws and we’ll sue any State that tries to enforce them for us.”)

    I think it’s pretty funny. And you’re really being selective about your memory of how Bush was ridiculed by the Left during his presidency. Is there a weekly national TV show mocking Obama as a clueless moron? Is Obama depicted as a monkey or ape on T-shirts and posters (No!, that would be “racist” if we did it to *him*).

    Trust me. Right now this billboard is the least that Democrats have to worry about. Things like Obamacare, TARP and the 9.6% unemployment rate are what they really need to be afraid of. Right now, the majority of non-Democrat voters say Bush was a better president than Obama. Bush “Miss me yet?” T-shirts are getting to be a popular item.

    It’s going to be fun on Nov. 2nd.

  3. Tim Kane
    October 15th, 2010 at 16:31 | #3

    @Geoff K
    Let me see if I understand you correctly.

    You don’t like the Health Reform Package, right?

    That means you like the status quo.





    We’re fighting a war on terror? Why? The terrorist only killed 3,000 Americans. If we don’t care about 41,000 Americans dying EVERY FREAKING YEAR, why do we care about 3,000 dying at the hands of terrorist?

    Or is it only okay that 41,000 (that’s 400,000 in the last decade) die if its so that health care corporations can continue to make super monopoly profits, buttressed by anti-trust immunity (wellfare for corporations so they can have added bargaining power against their customers).

    I don’t think you understand. This means your ideas are superfluous because you don’t care about the lives of your fellow Americans. You don’t see the crisis.

    Yeah, the health care bill is a problem… not because of Obama, after all he had almost nothing to do with it’s creation, he left it to congress… and the republicans tried to obstruct every progressive issue. They are fully content to see Americans die, needlessly, if it stuffs more money into corporate pockets.

    That’s issue #1.

    Issue #2 – Tarp

    TARP, that’s Bush’s policy. Paulson, Bush’s Secretrary of the Treasury created it. It passed in December 2008. Bush was still in office.

    When you say Tarp is Obama’s fault, you are just flat out lying. Touche, Geoff, the liar.

    9.6% Unemployment Who created that? Bush and Republican policies of massive tax cuts for the rich and deregulation of markets. Both Republican party trademarks. The Republican’s drove the economy into the ditch. They lost power as a result. Obama came in. Republicans didn’t lift a finger… they didn’t do thing one to lower unemployment or help ordinary Americans… in fact they made it worse by insisting that the stimulus plan be 40% tax cuts, which everyone knows is what created the jobs depression in the first place (statistics show that $1 of tax cuts results in 50cents in job creation… which is how we got here in the first place…Bush’s massive tax cuts for the rich). We shouldn’t expect anymore from Republicans, after all, they are happy to see Americans die for the benefit of corporations. They literally do hate ordinary Americans – except when they need to be rescued.

    The $600 billion stimulus was whittled down to $460 billion – roughly the same amount of government contraction in spending at the state and local level… meaning the stimulus was no stimulus, because it wasn’t big enough by orders of magnitude… it was merely a stabilization bill.

    You conservatives/republicans all seem to believe that you need to destroy the village in order to save it. In fact, its just a pretext. You just love destroying things: the country, its economy, the middle class or the lives of 41,000 Americans. Yeah, you guys. real patriots, aren’t ya. With Republicans like these, who needs enemies?

    Is Obama a moron? To the extent that he believed that Republicans could be counted on to act in the nations best interest, yeah, he was a moron.

  4. Tim Kane
    October 15th, 2010 at 16:37 | #4

    @Geoff K
    Oh, and yes you conservative did portray Obama as a monkey. A dead one. In Murdocks NY post, under the caption, “they’ll have to find someone else to pass the next stimulus.”

  5. stevetv
    October 15th, 2010 at 21:40 | #5

    Silly conservatives! How could anyone think Obama aligned himself with gay America? At this very moment his administration is in court appealing a ruling that the Defence of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and has also announced they will appeal the recent overturning of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”. Maybe it was just an oversight.

  6. stevetv
    October 15th, 2010 at 22:02 | #6

    Oh, and yes you conservative did portray Obama as a monkey. A dead one. In Murdocks NY post, under the caption, “they’ll have to find someone else to pass the next stimulus.”

    Not that I want to defend that extremely unclever cartoon, but what it said was “Next time they’ll have to find someone else TO WRITE the next stimulus bill.” And congress writes the bills, not the president. As for the monkey, it was mimicking the recent… how can I put this?… chimp shooting from a few days eariler, where someone’s pet chimp went wild and ripped a woman’s face up and had to be killed by the police in Stamford, Connecticut. It was big news at the time, and it was just his pithy way of tying the two incidents together. Ha ha. Anyway, it wasn’t meant to portray Obama. If you want my fuller explanation, it’s somewhere deep in the annals of this blog somewhere back when the issue was addressed directly.

    Here’s a legit example of Obama portrayed as a monkey as a monkey on a t-shirt (which “we” don’t do!… unless “we do.)

    “The $600 billion stimulus was whittled down to $460 billion – roughly the same amount of government contraction in spending at the state and local level… meaning the stimulus was no stimulus, because it wasn’t big enough by orders of magnitude… it was merely a stabilization bill.”

    That’s too bad. It should have been enough for a stimulus. Now he’s talking about an Infrastructure Initiative, which he should have done in the first place.

  7. Hello
    October 16th, 2010 at 01:14 | #7

    Many on the right have been bringing up the “Liberals did it to Bush” canard. The monkey comparison is a great example of blindness, intentionally or ignorantly, to the specifics and the context.

    Bush was characterized as a monkey specifically because of personal appearance; no one would have represented him as such had he looked, for example, like Cheney. The added dimension of his reputation for not being too bright completed the analogy.

    Take a look at the political cartoon of the chimp shot by police in reference to the stimulus. Tell me that this somehow bears any resemblance to Obama. The interesting thing is, his ears could be used as a base from which to create a resemblance–but it isn’t done… because there’s not supposed to be a resemblance. That’s not the point, is it? Factor in fully the traditional racist comparison of blacks to chimps or apes, and the result isn’t pretty.

    The insult is not in being compared personally to a chimp–you can do that to me, I won’t mind a bit. The insult is in the historical pattern, and in the rather transparent intent involved. I don’t think anyone believed that calling Bush a chimp had anything to do with race, nor does anyone on the left think there’s anything improper about insulting Obama’s intelligence. Liberals just disagree upon hearing that, they don’t see it as racism. That’s not the issue.

    Imagine Harry Reid represented as a dog, the idea being he’s a Democratic lapdog (I’m pretty sure it’s been done, in fact). Nobody would object to that–hell, liberals might go in with it, or even do it by themselves. Obama could be represented as a dog, I don’t think anyone would take note. But imagine a devout Muslim being represented as a dog, with no other valid connection than that dogs are considered unclean by many Muslims. Not the same thing: it’s an insult to faith, just as representing a black man as a chimpanzee is an insult to race.

    To make the comparison of Bush and Obama as chimps as somehow a representation of liberal hypocrisy is to blindly ignore the complete context in which the comparisons are made. That a bland insult to one person can be a horrific slur to another. Really, conservatives should–and I think do–know better. But like Rush Limbaugh singing on and on about “Barack the Magic Negro,” conservatives seem to be tickled pink whenever they think they can get away with making a racist, sexist, or homophobic jibe with even the thinnest of pretenses to make it “legitimate” or somehow excusable.

    As for this billboard, I challenge those who make the Bush analogy to produce any image of an anti-Bush billboard that packs anything close to this much hatred and bigotry in it. Until then, you got nothing.

    No, this represents pretty much the worst of the right wing: xenophobia, homophobia, bigotry, dehumanization (“rats”), conspiracy theorist idiocy brought mainstream, and most of all, hate-filled radical paranoid extremist hyperbole. This is not equivalent to anything of the same nature done to Bush.

    Nor is this objectionable as a representation of Obama, as Obama is not even remotely associable with any of the imagery involved. This does not speak to him in the least–it speaks volumes about those who created it, reveals that which they believe and that which the think is acceptable and right. What this is is a representation of the extremism the right wing is become mired in, in the delusional fantasies cooked up to rationalize unreasoning loathing. It’s as if the inhibitions have been almost fully torn away, with just hatred fully exposed and outlines of thinly veiled bigotry showing through.

  8. Ken sensei
    October 16th, 2010 at 03:26 | #8

    To follow through on what Hello has said,

    The first characterization, Obama the Muslim terrorist, is simply playing on a base, racist portrayal of what uncultured, most uneducated white Americans imagine the President of the United States to be. Since that segment has little tolerance for non-white, non-Christian members of the population, one can easily pander to their fears and/or lack of understanding.

    The second characterization, Obama the Chicago gangster, is extremely offensive to anyone from Chicago. Let’s examine the facts; Obama was a Constitutional Law Professor with a Harvard Law degree. His rise to political power (Senator to US President) was made possible by his sense of integrity, vision of social justice, his ability to lead, communicate and compromise with other political factions [NONE of which Dubya had, by the way]. His ideals are clearly in line with U.S. Constitutional rights.

    The third characterization, Obama as Bandito, is also bizarre. Although admittedly Obama needs to set a higher priority for dealing with Mexican gangs and drug cartels, that does not imply his association. Clearly this is a serious crisis that will require U.S.-Mexican cooperation. And where was Dubya on the issue when he had his 8 years of corruption? Why wasn’t Bush labeled a “terrorist” for trying to sell US shipping ports to Dubai?
    Now, THAT would be an association…

    The fourth characterization, Obama as Gay, strikes me as weird since Obama is married with two children. I really have nothing further to say on this. If you cannot see the validity of this lifestyle that has existed as long as mankind, you are missing a huge piece of reality. Let’s try accepting gays rather than subjugating them and see what happens. For what it’s worth, I am not gay; I just cannot see the point of promoting a bigoted right-wing stance on gays in the military, the bedroom, the classroom, or even the White House! I feel sorry for those who give in to these fears and actually feel threatened by the gay community.

    As Geoff points out, there are much more important issues to deal with.


  9. Ken sensei
    October 17th, 2010 at 02:44 | #9

    The article indicates Paul Snover as the artist.
    Here is another example of his latest “art”

    Fortunately, the billboard is said to have been removed. But it wasn’t clear to me where the billboard was originally posted:

    “above the Interstate 70 Business Loop east of the 28 1/2 Road intersection.”

    Does anyone know what city or state this is? Oklahoma?


  10. Troy
    October 17th, 2010 at 05:31 | #10

    Grand Junction, CO.

    20% geezers, 92% white, 10% hispanic. On the west slope of the Rockies. I had the chance to get to Cortez, CO and found it to be in its own little bubble, probably just like GJ.

    If you’ve got time to kill, “phaethon” in this thread:

    holds his own pretty well.

  11. Ken sensei
    October 23rd, 2010 at 13:20 | #11

    Thanks for the post, Troy.

    Where is Grand Junction, CO, anyhow? Isn’t it right between Great Red Neck and Hickville?

    Another related thread here:


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