They just portray Barack Obama as a blood-mouthed and minstrel painted monster, and share the image around the Internet. No big whoop. Rush Limbaugh used this image at his website today. And Drudge also featured the image at his website. And the image, as a poster, is being plastered around Los Angeles, and will no doubt find its way to other urban areas soon. This is what it means to be a projective and paranoid neo-authoritarian American racist in the 21st century. And this is the response of the far right to the nation’s first African American president. No grace. No mercy. No decency. What a gross coarsening of the public realm. Absorb what this image means, its basic lack of civility, and the encouragement to Obama demonology that it fuels. Isn’t the cumulative logical effect of the far right’s response to Obama, assassination? And isn’t this how unbalanced people will interpret this kind of image? It’s a virtual Wanted poster, something you distribute to identify murderers. If Obama is a monster, then he must be stopped, right?
The word socialism, however ill-applied to a centrist politician like Barack Obama, nevertheless gives people the excuse to hate, and think in extreme and Manichean terms about him. This poster is the Orwellian two minutes hate image of our time. It’s the culminating image of a conservative movement that has completely lost its moorings and its sense of proportion.