By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings
"Dog whistle politics" rearing its ugly head in Arizona. Yet again.
From RationalWiki –
Dog whistle politics usually refers to the use of certain code words
or phrases that are designed to be understood by only a small section
of the populace. Generally speaking, these are phrases that have
special meaning to that subsection entirely independent of its meaning
to others, and represent a particularly insidious use of loaded language.
The term alludes to the sound of a dog whistle, which can only be
heard by the intended audience (the dog). In theory at least, dog
whistle terms are only noticed and understood by the people they are
During the era of the civil rights
movement, and even today, the anti-civil rights crowd liked to use
"dog-whistle" euphemisms to talk about their support for
institutionalized bigotry, unfettered hatred, and outright lynchings.
used words and phrases like "states' rights", "elitism", and "heritage"
to put a "civil" mask to cover their hatred of minorities and to impugn
their critics in ways that weren't overtly offensive but would rouse
Starting in 2008, when America elected its
first African-American president, Barack Obama, there has been a rise in
"dog whistle politics" nationally, and in every state, particularly
those that were part of or sympathetic to the Confederacy in the Civil
One example: Birtherism.
This week's Arizona example was State Rep. Brenda Barton's comparison of President Obama to one of history's biggest monsters, Adolph Hitler.
her statement was probably too overt to be considered "dog whistle",
but the response of one of Barton's colleagues in the AZ House is most
definitely "dog whistle".
Rep. Adam Kwasman (R-LD11) is
a candidate for Congress in CD1, and he is facing a primary battle with
AZ House Speaker Andy Tobin and Gary Kiehne, a rancher from rural
He tweeted this about Barton on Saturday morning –
Really? Given Kwasman's move to the extreme right for the primary (not that he was ever a "moderate" – see the video of the Kwasman's speech against Medicaid restoration, and his opposition to medical care for poor people), my only question is..
Will Kwasman purchase kerosene from campaign funds, or will he buy it "off book"?