Condi’s dog whistle

A commenter at Firedoglake explains to Digby that Condi’s “birth pangs” comment wasn’t merely ridiculous, it was actually quite deliberately crazy:

I brought up the Condi Rice “birth pang” comment in passing and one of the commenters pointed out that it’s actually Rapture talk, if you can believe that.

I checked it out and over at the Rapture Forum they’ve been talking about the “birth pangs” of Armageddon ever since 9/11.

    Having told His disciples which characteristics would not indicate the end of the age, Jesus turned to the questions themselves; He begins with the third one about the sign that would mark the end of the age (Matthew 24: 7-8; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:10-11).

    According to all three Gospels, the sign of the end of the age is said to be when nation shall rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. This act will be coupled with famines and earthquakes in various places, which Messiah clearly stated would be the beginning of travail.

    The term travail means “birth-pang,” referring to the series of birth-pangs that a woman undergoes before giving birth. The prophets pictured the last days as a series of birth-pangs before the birth of the new Messianic Age. Yeshua is saying that the beginning of travail (the first birth-pang and the sign that the end of the age has begun) is when nation rises against nation and kingdom against kingdom.

In that Daily Show clip, you can tell that she almost says “growing pains” before she corrects herself and hits the Rove-approved insane-o-liciousness.

In the middle of a white-knuckle crisis like this, to give a wink to people who are actively hoping for the end of the world is just breathtaking. The words “reckless irresponsibility” are just inadequate to describe the administration’s approach, to the extent that they have one, to foreign policy.


21 thoughts on “Condi’s dog whistle

  1. Tom

    I don’t know if I buy that, seems like a bit of a stretch for me. Condi strikes me as diplomatically obtuse, but not necessarily the dittohead of the religious right.

    In general, I do think she/we fucked up by not asking for a cease-fire immediately, but the United States forfeited all rights to the moral high ground in matters of asymmetic responses, so Israel can tell us to go screw and there’s nothing we can do about it.

  2. Steve

    I don’t know if I buy that, seems like a bit of a stretch for me.

    Wait, really?

    Condi strikes me as diplomatically obtuse, but not necessarily the dittohead of the religious right.

    What does Condi, as a person, have to do with this? This is Condi, the new secretary of state installed after Powell’s State Department lost the battle with Rumsfeld and Cheney’s Defense. They’re all one team. In fact, haven’t you noticed that they, y’know, fire anyone who expresses their own thoughts in public?

    And have you not noticed, as well, that domestic politics runs through every single thing administration members say in public, no matter where they’re speaking, or to what audience? They know damn well all politics is local.

    Why wouldn’t Rice throw a fundie dog-whistle phrase into a domestic speech about the Middle East? It’s straight out of Rove’s playbook. Hell, it’s straight out of the Republican playbook in general, since they started courting the most unsavory elements of American society. You can’t just come out and say, “Don’t worry, we’ll keep the blacks in their place.” So instead:

    As a young congressman, Lott was among those who urged Reagan to deliver his first major campaign speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi, where three civil rights workers were murdered in one of the 1960s’ ugliest cases of racist violence. It was a ringing declaration of his support for “states’ rights” — a code word for resistance to black advances clearly understood by white Southern voters.

    The purpose of dog-whistle politics is plausible deniablility. The people to whom the message is being sent get that message, while those of us who like to think of ourselves as reasonable can say, “C’mon, they can’t be that crazy.”

    For five-and-a-half years, we’ve been saying to ourselves “C’mon, they can’t be that crazy,” with regard to the Bush administration, and every single time, not only have they turned out to be that crazy, they’ve gone on to expand the frontiers of what we mean when we say “that crazy.”

    You might as well be looking for unicorns as for good faith or reasonableness on the part of a member of the Bush administration. At least with the former, there are pretty pictures of unicorns involved.

  3. Graham

    I gotta side with Tom on this one. I think the word “birth pang” is not wholly bizarre enough to make believe that a reasonable person might not have said it. She could have said “growing pains” which for all I know could be conservative code as well.

    I think this is where both liberals and conservatives get into trouble. They start looking for things that aren’t there. The new Dixie Chicks album, hated by conservatives everywhere has a song called “Not ready to make nice.” This all stems from their comments about Bush in London and the backlash they got over it. Some conservative nut-jobs think the dress she wears in the video for this song is digitally altered to look like Iraq. The picture of the country. Obviously these people are nuts. I’m just saying that we need to be fair when liberal nut-jobs start talking as well.

    I’m sure Steve will have something to say on this.

  4. Ananth

    I am sure he would too. As the only person here who is an actual republican and or conservative on some issues, I have never seen nor heard of the existence of any code book, ring, or device for the ‘fundies’.

    Also, asking for an immediate cease fire is just plain stupid, and I don’t bring any fundie shit to the the Israel thing since my gods don’t seem to care too much about the middle east. I have said it before, and I will say it again. Radical fundamentalists do not want to coexist with those the see as their enemies. They want them destroyed, plain and simple. This is kill now or be killed later when they are in the position to do so.

  5. Ananth

    Oh btw, of course they are all one team. If they were disagreeing you would be complaining that the adminstration can’t even get their own people to tow the line. The last time time I checked, Cabinet level positions served at the pleasure of the President.

  6. Tom

    How is asking for a cease fire stupid? Do we not want them to cease firing? Do we want more firing?

    And I consider myself fiscally conservative. Just today I fought to deny some dude a C-PAP (continuous positive airway pump) with a “smart card” built in. The smart card costs a lot more money and it’s only purpose is to babysit the patient and make sure they’re compliant with the doctors orders (the guy wasn’t using it every night like he should, the card records how often they use it and can be read by the doctor). After consulting with my colleagues we determined it would be a waste of state and federal funds to broaden the defnition of medical necessity to include instances where patients were lazy.

    I even consider myself hawkish in some ways. I think Jimmy Carter should’ve invaded Cambodia, and Bush/Clinton should’ve invaded Rwanda and the Congo.

    I don’t deny the existence of dog whistle politics. The immigration debate courts racists. the gay marriage debate keeps the fags out of the courthouses and churches, but that’s very un-subtle stuff. Not like what you’re saying Condi did, which frankly I don’t think anyone would go through the trouble of throwing in a speech for those guys. The Christain right got the stem cell veto, that’s their prize this time.

  7. Steve

    If they were disagreeing you would be complaining that the adminstration can’t even get their own people to tow the line.

    1. It’s toe the line.
    2. I would enjoy any Republican, including one in Congress, publically disagreeing with the administration. You seem to think that I am just looking for excuses to hate Bush. I don’t need excuses; I have plenty of observational data upon which to base my hatred. Do you deny that I have honest motives? Why?
    3. More on the definition of “dog-whistle” politics and why it being bizarre or known to Ananth is actually the opposite of what we’re looking for here later, for it is late.

  8. Ananth

    Thanks grammar bot 2000.

    A couple of points….

    I think I understand enough to figure out what Dog Whistle Politics are. I simply agree somethimes people try to look for more than is actually there, especially when the come with the baggage that people mean more than they are saying. Sometimes a Cigar is just a Cigar That being said, that doesnt’ mean it doesn’t happen, and happen on both sides, but I don’t think Dog Whistle Politics the Karl Rove play book. I agree with Tom that they are much more obvious about. Also don’t act like the left doesn’t do the same damn thing.

    Of course you would enjoy any Republican disagreeing. Just like I enjoy Joe Lieberman disagreeing with the pull out of Democrats and the netroots or moonbats or whatver Kos and co. are calling themselves. The thing is you don’t seem to think that any one can share any opinions with this administration with out being some kind of adminstration lackey. Case in point, Bill Maher, who carries no water for W believes that Bush is right on how he is dealing with Israel.

    Why the smart card costs so much is odd. You are probably being ripped off. Maybe the technology that actually does the recording costs many. Maybe if you took the C-PAC away from people when they aren’t using it as recommended, then it could be worth it. But that is an aside.

    Asking for a cease fire is stupid because it doesn’t do anything. It would ba another half ass operation that didn’t significantly diminish Hezbollah or cause them to change their position towards the EXISTENCE of Israel. Asking for a cease fire upon agreeing to suitable terms would not be stupid. But the terms would have to be enforced, which probably means a non UN peace keeping force in Southern Lebanon to keep the Hezbollah in line, since the Lebanese army is incapable. That won’t happen unless Hezbollah 1) Voluntarily disarms (yeah right) or 2) has their clock cleaned.

  9. Tom

    Ok, say all of Israel’s rockets were landing squarely on Hezbollie McHezboller’s house in Lebanon, and all of Hezbollah’s rockets were landing on non-conscripted military personnel, maybe I’d see the argument against a cease fire, but shit is whack yo. The cease fire has nothing to do with the merits of either’s position, and everything to do with the ceasing of firing and the accompanying death.

  10. Ananth

    Fuck that moral equivalency bullshit. I am sorry that innocents die. I am also sorry that Hezbollah deliberately use comingling with civilians as a strategy. They have bases in residential places, and hide rockets under beds. Israel papered the area telling civilians to leave. The made phone calls to people in the area telling them to leave.

    You are going to say that there is no difference between firing missiles in the direction of a country, with no direct target, and collatoral damaged that happens from targeting a specific military target? The lose of civilian life is unfortunate in any case, but there is a huge difference.

    Now, I am sure you are going to say, well the lebonese government aren’t responsible for the acts of Hezbollah. That is also bull shit. They allow them to run around doing whatever they want and they are either unable to stop them (and in that case need help) or unwilling to get rid of them (which in that case means that you can’t give them a pass). Either way something needs to change permanently. There is no purpouse in having a ceasefire that ceases nothing.

  11. Ananth

    Why because I don’t ring my hands and stand there paralyzed over the consequences of actions that others set in motion? You seem to think death and carnage alowed by inaction is somehow any less immoral than death and carnange caused by action. The wait them out strategy doesn’t always work, nor does the action first strategy. But until you come up with a solution that is actually feasible, you don’t get to claim any moral high ground.

  12. Tom

    Ananth, do you understand that what you’re saying, on some level, is that the United States and the former USSR should have had a nuclear war because people had too many strong feelings? Because not having a war would’ve left one of the two alive, therefore inconveniencing the other?

    Of course the Lebanese government could do more. They’d then have a civil war on their hands, a civil war they might not win. Then what? Because the US and Isreal insisted upon the irradication of Hezbollah, Hezbollah now RUNS THE NATION OF LEBANON?

    If nothing else, it’s clear that an Israeli/Hezbollah war is unwinnable and all unwinnable wars should not be fought. If you clean Hezbollah’s clock, there’s a line of radicals out the door waiting to take potshots at Israel, and Israel can’t keep it in their pants long enough for the region to stabilize.

    Professor Falken, the only winning move is not to play!

  13. Ananth

    I reject your USA/USSR analogy out of hand. Neither the US nor the USSR wanted the other country to cease to exist. Both wanted the other to change their idealogy. Neither had the position that the other country had to be washed out to the sea. I just don’t think that

    Israel and the US never has insisted on the irradication of Hezbollah. Asking them to disarm and acknowledge Israel’s right to EXIST is not the same thing as asking for their irradication.

    As far as your arguement about the next group of radicals lining up, who cares. We don’t stop arresting mob bosses because another one will take their place.

    Finally your MAD /War Games analogy does hold up either. It’s not assured destruction for us or Israel, and its assured that Hezbollah won’t be destroyed because Israel and US show restraint. Restraint that Hezbollah would never show.

  14. Steve

    Why because I don’t ring my hands and stand there paralyzed over the consequences of actions that others set in motion? You seem to think death and carnage alowed by inaction is somehow any less immoral than death and carnange caused by action.

    I…see. Seriously, how can you say shit like this and not expect to be ridiculed?

    No, no, of course I kid. I admire your courage. While I and my liberal cohort stand immobilized in the face of evil, flapping our hands and making effete mewling noises, you are unafraid to take action. It takes no small measure of character to talk tough about slaughtering innocents, while others are content to stand timidly by. Would that more of our citizens could emulate the Republican Man of Action, perhaps we might heal this country, and make her great once more.

  15. Ananth

    Sorry, I did not mean to imply that somehow you are afraid to act because you are coward. Perhaps I chose the wrong words. I do think that you are letting your empathy for the suffering of innocents cloud your thinking a little.

    Where in my comments did I “talk tough” about slaughtering innocents. I am not happy about innocents dying, who the hell is? But this is ugly business that has ugly consequences. It doesn’t make it any less neccessary. Again, I ask you for a solution that works. You seem to think that you can reason with people who’s goals are your destruction. Israel left Lebabon 6 years ago. Yes they control the airspace there, but what have the Lebanese done with southern lebanon for the last 6 years? they let hezbollah do whatever it want in exchange for being left alone, and now they are paying a sad price now for it. When do you hold these groups responsible for their actions? How do you hold them responsible? Merely condemning them has done nothing.

  16. Steve

    Where in my comments did I “talk tough” about slaughtering innocents.

    I’m perfectly content to amend it to “talking nonsense,” if you’d prefer.

    But this is ugly business that has ugly consequences. It doesn’t make it any less neccessary.

    There. There’s some nonsense right there. As a Republican Man of Action, you seem to think that there are only two choices in foreign policy: doing something, or doing nothing, and “doing something” always means killing people. If a country is not killing people, it is doing nothing. If a country is even refusing to commit war crimes in the course of killing people, it is doing nothing.

    Please, enlighten me as to how your shallow, brutal, myopic, sloppy foreign policy recommendations are actually the only conclusions to which a clear-eyed realist could come. No, really. I’m fuckin’ fascinated.

  17. Ananth

    First of all, our foreign polocy isn’t doing anything. It’s merely allowing the Israeli’s to contnue doing something.

    Secondly, what the fuck are you going on about war crimes? I swear to god, get a new record. If you are going to start out with premise that all this shit is a war crime, there really isn’t any point in talking about this.

    As far a foreign policy let’s try this on for size:
    1) Cut off all funding from Iran to Hezbollah. That means no bank tranfers or sending cash across the borders which leads to
    2) Control of borders/ports of Lebanon to curtial the influx of weapons and cash for hezbollah from Iran via Syria.
    3)Hold the Lebonese people responsilble for the decisions they make. You want to vote in Hezbollah, fine. But don’t expect any international aid (other than humaniatarian) until the Hezbollah’s political wing accepts the existence of Israel and secondly completely disconnects it self from the military wing.
    4) Demand as matter of continuing aid once it has been established that Lebonese government control their southern border and police Hezbollah themselves.

    Unfortunately none this is going to happen. The best we can hope for is an international force (non UN) taking control of southern lebanon and not allowing Hezbollah run unchecked. It cant be made of US troops, and Nato/EU countries aren’t going to send any troops in while Hezbollah was as strong as it was. The only country that will be willing to do the clean up job is israel, and that’s what they are doing now, with the hope of a real international force coming in when they are done.

    Now, why don’t you give me your ideas for world peace, because I would love to hear a democrat give a plan that could actually produce verifable results, or maybe we continue with democratic talks and agreements like the one we had with NK, cause they worked out sooo great.

  18. Steve

    If it isn’t, it’s sure stupid. I mean, Tony Snow got shit for using that phrase just a couple of weeks ago, fer chrissakes.

  19. Ananth

    think it is just stupid, since this inserts a racial component into something that has nothing to do with race.

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