The Wurlitzer Campaign To Intimidate Mexico

This story, Mexico fears backlash from vote on Iraq, describes fear among Mexicans about a U.S. popular backlash should Mexico vote against war with Iraq. If you look between the lines, you can see the Wurlitzer operating.

Here’s the right-wingers’ strategy: Whip up lots of news making it look as though Americans are angry at France, are boycotting French products and otherwise retaliating against the French for voting against Bush’s war. Then make it clear to Mexico, “This could happen to YOU if you don’t play ball.” Even drop not-so-subtle hints that Mexican-Americans risk harm if Mexico votes against war.

Mexico’s ambassador to the United States was active this week trying to head off the sort of hostility that is pestering France, featuring boycotts on cheese, mocking jokes and bitter commentary on French diplomacy and French character.

But just WHO is whipping up this anti-French stuff, putting out “bitter commentary,” and just WHO is holding it out to Mexico as an example of what can happen to them? It was the Republicans in Congress who changed the name of french fries and french toast to “freedom fried” and “freedom toast.” This isn’t a “popular” backlash, this is Republicans. And this,

Mexico expert Robert Pastor said his recent appearance on “The O’Reilly Factor” TV show on the Fox network convinced him that there is real danger of an anti-Mexican backlash.

“He just leveled into Mexico,” Pastor said of the show’s host, Bill O’Reilly. “I can assure you that these things resonate out there,” he said.

I’m not going to go into more examples of WHO is spreading this, but there are plenty of the usual suspects involved – listen to talk radio for an hour to see what I mean. This isn’t “popular” backlash, it is ENGINEERED, MANIPULATED backlash, and we know who is sooooo good at that, don’t we?

So WHO is threatening Mexico with this treatment, should they vote against war?

President Bush increased that intensity last week in statements that provoked alarm in Mexico, where they made front-page news. While Bush said he did not expect “significant retribution from the government” against Security Council member nations that didn’t line up with the United States, he pointedly left open the possibility of a popular backlash.

And in case we missed his point, the Wurlitzer was out there amplifying it. But it isn’t working:

Peter H. Smith, professor of political science at the University of California San Diego, said Bush’s comments were widely perceived in Mexico as a threat and may have eliminated any possibility that Fox would line up with the United States at the United Nations.

“The costs to Fox of taking the U.S. side would be very high, higher than they would have been if they hadn’t received those threats,” Smith said. He said Fox could not afford to be perceived as submitting to pressure from an American president.

What did the bonehead-in-chief THINK the Mexicans would do in response to his Godfather-style threats? “You’re with us, or you’re against us.” Mexico says, “Well, I guess we are just going to have to be against you, then.”