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October 29, 2008

Beyond Nov 4th: The Palin/Huckabee Card


At a panel on election rhetoric the other day, a colleague said that, at the end of the race, McCain/Palin have turned to arguments about status as a last-ditch attempt to connect with voters. It's not about what you need, what policies we offer, etc., it's about how you identify with a particular status: Joe Plumber, "real Americans," etc. — Cara Finnegan. (Cara is professor of Rhetoric, Communication History, and Photography at University of Illinois, the moderator of the BAGnewsNotes Salon, and she blogs at first efforts.)

Don't think, if/when Obama is elected, the elitist/anti-intellectual attack (with its racist "uppity" subtext) is going anywhere. Rather, this photo marks the re-start point from which the fundamentalist conservatives regroup.

It's questionable how much or how consistently the ambitious Palin would identify herself with the boxed-in term in the photo, but she has certainly structured her whole political reason-for-being around this identity (and excuse). Come November 5th, "Joe the Plumber," the specific loose cannon, might himself slip away, but look for his spirit (at the hands of Sarah, Mike and all their friends) to morph into: Obama vs. Average Joe (or Joan).

(image: Carol Guzy-The Washington Post. Oct. 27, 2008. Leesburg, Va. image from: WAPO Day in Photos, Oct. 28, 2008 )

  • allness-as-metaphor


  • sdv

    I’m intrigued by how what appears to be an asian woman (holding the McCain sign with an asian script) is being boxed out and hidden by the people around her.

  • cmac

    When is someone going to point out that Joe was almost certainly a plant at the Obama event? It’s not important, but it’s just so obvious. Why do we go on talking about Joe deciding to make his views known, when he was clearly there to set up a debate point for McCain?

  • badedukation

    I’m sure conservatives would never play to the inclusiveness crowd.
    Oh, wait, there’s an Asian women. And a black guy! SEE! WE HAVE SOME OF THEM! AND ONE OF ‘THAT ONE’s!

  • playera

    I don’t mean to be ugly about this …
    You identify the fundamentalist conservatives.
    I see the rich, fat, nasty, uncivil Republican women who populate our part of Republican Ohio and who I’ve been calling in the Obama/Democrat phone banks. I don’t like them.

  • vcInCA

    Focusing on the gal in pale blue, I see this as a popularity contest, the sort where people wait in line all night, then fight with their compatriots in line, just to be THE ONE who shakes whoever’s hand. At this point, in this context, the point isn’t the politics, the beliefs, but the superstardom of SP that people want to tangibly touch, even if its (if i’m reading the photo right) just a pinkie…

  • Sergei Andropov

    The man in the top row doesn’t seem to like what he’s looking at.

  • KingElvis

    The blonde stretching to touch SP looks retarded.
    The guy taking the picture looks like Mickey Rooney.
    Why don’t the rethugs just rename the party “Haters”

  • caraf

    My colleague, who blogs as oratorical animal, has since written a nice, long post on the McCain/status argument here:

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