Obama's Meta-Message Surfaces in Jacksonville

A long campaign gives time for the candidate's meta-message to emerge. Not always intentionally, nor to their advantage. A significant element of Barack Obama's meta-message emerged at a fundraiser in Jacksonville, Florida on Friday, June 20, 2008.

He, who once said that words matter, said these words:

"The choice is clear. Most of all we can choose between hope and fear. It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to run on their stewardship of the economy or their outstanding foreign policy. We know what kind of campaign they're going to run. They're going to try to make you afraid. They're going to try to make you afraid of me. He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black? (pause for applause) He's got a feisty wife.

We know the strategy because they've already shown their cards. Ultimately I think the American people recognize that old stuff hasn't moved us forward. That old stuff just divides us."

Gerard Nierenberg is credited with coining the term meta-messageIt refers to the messages that are not directly delivered but emerge from between the written or spoken lines. Meta-messages "come from the context, the relationship, the timing, and the purpose."

Obama delivered an important meta-message in Jacksonville.  It could turn out to be one of the seminal statements that ultimately define the arc of his campaign.  The mainstream media will do all it can to obscure, explain, and down-play the meta-message in his statement to his advantage.  But they'll not be able to erase it.  It's out now.

Meta-messages are not uni-level.  They have gradations of depth.  Here's what he said:

Surface Level 1: Republicans will use my race against me.

Meta-Message, Level 2:  Republicans are racists.

Meta-Message, Level 3:  Those who do not support me are racists.

Deep Meta-Message, Level 4:  I deserve your vote because I'm black.

If asked (unlikely), he will deny this interpretation. He'll say his words are being taken out of context. He'll imply that to take his words out of context is just another example of using race against him. It's circular logic that goes unchallenged.

There's a truly sad irony in all this.  Obama is using "that old stuff that divides us" as would any race-bating demagogue.  He's using the very "stuff" he accuses Republicans of planning to use before it happens.  And it does nothing to improve race relations among Americans.  The Great Uniter at work.

Note to the McCain Campaign: Consider this reply from your candidate.

Senator Obama, neither I nor other Republicans care a bit about your color.  After all, you're the one who brought it up. In fact, the only color we really care about is green.  As in all the additional tax money you want from the American people for a federal government that already has enough of their green.
A long campaign gives time for the candidate's meta-message to emerge. Not always intentionally, nor to their advantage. A significant element of Barack Obama's meta-message emerged at a fundraiser in Jacksonville, Florida on Friday, June 20, 2008.

He, who once said that words matter, said these words:

"The choice is clear. Most of all we can choose between hope and fear. It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to run on their stewardship of the economy or their outstanding foreign policy. We know what kind of campaign they're going to run. They're going to try to make you afraid. They're going to try to make you afraid of me. He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black? (pause for applause) He's got a feisty wife.

We know the strategy because they've already shown their cards. Ultimately I think the American people recognize that old stuff hasn't moved us forward. That old stuff just divides us."

Gerard Nierenberg is credited with coining the term meta-messageIt refers to the messages that are not directly delivered but emerge from between the written or spoken lines. Meta-messages "come from the context, the relationship, the timing, and the purpose."

Obama delivered an important meta-message in Jacksonville.  It could turn out to be one of the seminal statements that ultimately define the arc of his campaign.  The mainstream media will do all it can to obscure, explain, and down-play the meta-message in his statement to his advantage.  But they'll not be able to erase it.  It's out now.

Meta-messages are not uni-level.  They have gradations of depth.  Here's what he said:

Surface Level 1: Republicans will use my race against me.

Meta-Message, Level 2:  Republicans are racists.

Meta-Message, Level 3:  Those who do not support me are racists.

Deep Meta-Message, Level 4:  I deserve your vote because I'm black.

If asked (unlikely), he will deny this interpretation. He'll say his words are being taken out of context. He'll imply that to take his words out of context is just another example of using race against him. It's circular logic that goes unchallenged.

There's a truly sad irony in all this.  Obama is using "that old stuff that divides us" as would any race-bating demagogue.  He's using the very "stuff" he accuses Republicans of planning to use before it happens.  And it does nothing to improve race relations among Americans.  The Great Uniter at work.

Note to the McCain Campaign: Consider this reply from your candidate.

Senator Obama, neither I nor other Republicans care a bit about your color.  After all, you're the one who brought it up. In fact, the only color we really care about is green.  As in all the additional tax money you want from the American people for a federal government that already has enough of their green.