by Teh Nutroots | Amy Sullivan certainly makes that case at TIME. The Republicans protest that it is a "light-hearted ad" poking fun at "his audaciousness."
Yeah, that sounds right. The GOPpers are known for spending large sums to poke affectionate fun with Democratic rivals. It happens all the time.
But would they go so far as equating Obama with Antichrist? Why would anyone who has followed Rove's career entertain for one moment the thought that there are lines they wouldn't cross? This is from The Wall Street Journal.
The ad has...generated criticism from Democrats and religious scholars who see a hidden message linking Sen. Obama to the apocalyptic Biblical figure of the antichrist.
The spot, called "The One," opens with the line: "It shall be known that in 2008 the world will be blessed." Images follow of Moses parting the Red Sea and Sen. Obama telling a crowd, "We are the change we've been waiting for."...
The End Times, a New Testament reference to the period surrounding the return of Christ, were popularized in recent years by the "Left Behind" series of books that sold more than 63 million copies. The Rev. Tim LaHaye, co-author of the series, said in an interview that he recognized allusions to his work in the ad but comparisons between Sen. Obama and the antichrist are incorrect.
"The antichrist isn't going to be an American, so it can't possibly be Obama. The Bible makes it clear he will be from an obscure place, like Romania," the 82-year-old author said.
The ad has provoked a growing debate on the Internet over whether it is playing with apocalyptic themes. Those ideas are chiefly shared by fundamentalist Protestants and some other evangelical Christians. Among their expectations: the ascension of a false prophet, a one-world government and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. (Wall Street Journal)
The Obama campaign has [wisely] declined to comment (Wall Street Journal).
Fred Clark at Slacktivist pointed out that the article says that the author of the Left Behind fiction-for-the-End-Timers series says he recognizes "allusions" to his work in the ads, however incorrect he may feel the comparisons are.
LaHaye recognized those allusions in the ad because those allusions are in the ad. They were put in the ad.
They were put in the ad by the very same campaign people now insisting that the ad doesn't contain such allusions, or that they were coincidental, or unintentional, or intended only as jokes. Or maybe all of the above -- maybe those non-existent, unintentional allusions were intended as jokes.
And there are a lot of those allusions. The whole look of the ad is taken from the cover art of the Left Behind series. Eric Sapp of The Eleison Group has documented many more of these visual cues and allusions to Left Behind in a memo excerpted by Steve Waldman on BeliefNet. Sapp notes that:
... Numerous parts of this ad that make no sense in a high-budget presidential ad unless they are understood for what they really are: attempts to scare people with contextually bankrupt scriptural and Obama quotes and imagery tied together to send messages of fear that Obama is somehow the Antichrist.
Here's how that memo concludes:
If the McCain camp was trying to spoof Obama as Messiah, they missed a number of more obvious images and did a very poor job with this ad. If they were trying to draw parallels to Obama as Antichrist, they nailed it.
Yep. And note again that both Tim LaHaye and I agree with Sapp's take here. I think it's safe to say that we're both fairly familiar with the text and subtexts of the Left Behind series, and that it might count for something when we both say we see those texts and subtexts inserted into this ad. (Slacktivist)
Slacktivist contains a pretty good round-up of other sources that saw the same parallels. As Clark says, the ad aint exactly subtle. Furthermore, Clark points out (and proves) the dogs are surely hearing the dog whistles.
But will all the dogs interpret them the whistles in the way the ad assumes? Aren't End Times Christians all about making the End Times start (by stirring up war in the Mideast, etc.)? I am not a man of faith, but some of the statements I've read over the internet suggest that they're prepared to haul Jesus back into history, ready or not. So wouldn't or shouldn't those people vote for the candidate they think is Antichrist? (Hey! Maybe this explains You-Know-Who).
At our sister blog, "I Don't Like You Either," our born-again friend Anna Hosanna ponders this very question. She is definitely worried that this ad will force her to change her vote from McCain to Obama.
She wonders whether---if indeed Obama is Antichrist---it's not the duty of evangelical Christians to vote for him so Jesus can return sooner rather than later. As she points out, the Book of Revelations describes the horrors and suffering to come yet concludes, "Even so, come Lord Jesus."
I bet the McCain campaign didn't think of that when they started trying to tie Obama to the apocalypse.
Commentary on The Wall Street Journal article is here.