But it's very heavy-handed propaganda deployed to critique propaganda. You won't slip into falling for Drudge's propaganda, because it's so obvious. It's ridiculous to equate Obama to Hitler and Stalin, but Obama is using a form of propaganda that should be considered not merely ridiculous but repulsive. For us today to see Hitler and Stalin using children is to easily perceive the absurdity of promoting a political agenda juxtaposing it to a lovely, innocent child.
Who falls for that? No one should! The implicit argument the political leader makes, in all 3 of these pictures, is: I'm making the country good for the sake of the children. The child can't vouch for the policies. The child hasn't competently requested anything. The child is merely a prop representing goodness, innocence, and the future.
I've had a "using children in politics" tag for a while. I've made it part of my work here on the blog to notice this phenomenon, to help you see it, and to build widespread resistance to it. Remember the "children of the future" blaming us? The children taught to chant "Hey hey, ho ho, Scott Walker has got to go"? The children delighted by the "Voter Report Card"?
Drudge links to a collection of "Tyrants Who Have Used Children as Props." It's not hard to dig up these things. All politicians pose with children.
Baby-kissing is a campaign cliché.
It's a way of saying: I'm a real person. I'm normal and empathetic.
No reason to condemn that. It's too late to reject the kind of old-fashioned political kitsch that goes in the same category as eating regional food. You know, what Bob Dylan was singing about in "I Shall Be Free":
Now, the man on the stand he wants my voteDon't you eat the bullshit!
He’s a-runnin’ for office on the ballot note
He’s out there preachin’ in front of the steeple
Tellin’ me he loves all kinds-a people
(He’s eatin’ bagels
He’s eatin’ pizza
He’s eatin’ chitlins
He’s eatin’ bullshit!)