Photo Credit: White
U.S. President Barack Obama at White House press briefing.

There is a phrase called “dog whistling.” It is making reference to the kind of high pitched dog whistles that operate at such a high sound frequency that humans cannot hear, but the intended audience – dogs – can.

Using “dog whistling” in a non-canine context means saying something so that the intended audience understands what you mean, without having to say the exact words. Dog whistling enables the “whistler” to escape being quoted while clearly signaling to the intended audience what the whistle was about.


During the press briefing held in the White House on Friday, Jan. 16, by U.S. President Barack Obama and U.K. Prime Minster David Cameron, Obama engaged in some dog whistling.

It happened during a lengthy response from the president to a question posed by Major Garrett, the Chief White House Correspondent for CBS News. Garrett asked whether he had correctly understood that the president to say that if the diplomatic negotiations with Iran over the Islamic Republic’s efforts to obtain nuclear weapons fail, the next step will be a military one.

The president emphatically denied that was what he meant: “I am not, repeat not, suggesting that were are at immediate war footing should negotiations with Iran fail,” Obama said, “we simply have to recognize that should diplomacy fail, we have to look at other options.”


If diplomacy fails, and the allies won’t then proceed to war footing, the message the president is sending to Iran is, you can look forward to even more time to have your way while we argue over next steps. The U.S. president had explained his view of why he would veto any new sanctions bill, even one that would only be triggered should his negotiations with Iran fail. In his view, the current deal would not permit any such step, and it could jeopardize any possibility of a diplomatic resolution. Then Obama pursed his lips and began dog whistling. There can be no doubt who Obama is insulting with this whistle:

If you listen to the rhetoric surrounding this issue, I think there is sometimes the view that this regime cannot be trusted, that, effectively, negotiations with Iran are pointless.

Not sure yet? Here it comes:

And since these claims are being made by individuals who see Iran as a mortal threat… .

Yes, “individuals who see Iran as a mortal threat,” are the ones who are trying to undermine this president’s diplomatic efforts. By the way, Obama said during this same press briefing that those efforts have, at best, a 50-50 chance of success. So the person attempting to undermine the diplomatic efforts is that “coward” (remember when that word was used by this administration to describe the Israeli leader?) in Jerusalem: Binyamin Netanyahu.


So long as he was handing out insults, Obama also tossed one out to members of Congress. Obama said that “his team” would not agree to any deal with Iran that would allow the Islamic Republic to, either covertly or gradually, build up its nuclear weapons capability. He vowed that any deal made with the Iranians would be scrutinized by knowledgeable professionals. Obama made clear that by knowledgeable professionals, he did not mean members of Congress. He said:

We’re not going to allow that and anything that we do, any deal that we arrive at, if we were to arrive at one, would be subject to scrutiny across the board. Not just by members of Congress, but, more importantly, by people who actually know how the technical aspects of nuclear programs can advance, and how we can effectively verify in the most rigorous way possible, that the terms of the deal are being met. (emphasis added.)

At least the Supreme Court has not had to weigh in on this issue yet, or we might have had a trifecta.


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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email:


  1. I guess it was very anti semitic when Pres. Obama’s administration approved approx. 200 million for Iron Dome last year, which has saved countless Israeli lives from the thousands of rockets launched by Iranian backed hamas terrorists.

  2. Joel Obama is a policitcian at heart and there was election. By the way congress put that in the spending bill Obama just signed it. One last thing he cut off shipments of missles durning the war with Hamas, and he blamed the Jews for the attachs. Zelnik when you go to a Church for 20 years the spews anti-semites and blames the jews for all the problem; When you hang out with anti-semites that make that make you anti-semite.

  3. This pos is itching for a fight, his little private army of ignorant s like the black panther majorettes have a little surprise coming if they try to start anything remotely like the fag isis squishy boys in the middle east. I can guarantee him that at least 30 million patriots will hunt you down and hang you from the portico of the white house for all to see!

  4. Obama is just a puppet of the NWO and UN, they want to break down society which was based on Judeo?Christian principles and then bring in their utopia with MUCH LESS PEOPLE. Problem is that while they are breaking down what was to bring in their dream they are becoming murderers, so that’s what they’ll be left with when they’re done, just a bunch of cold blooded murderers.

  5. but it all sooo doesn't 'maddaah'.. as we say in Boston.. in an odd twist of fate.. the cheap price of oil is gonna put a major hurt on oh .. lets see,,, them pesky lil critters.. Hezbollah, Isis… and yeah the engine of Iran, and for that matter, the soviet Union.. aren't going to be able to afford the nuclear program either… looks like for at least another year and half… OK so Uncle Sam may loose a few heavily leveraged oil producers from the shale..and may have to buy the Saudi black gold, and those guys kind of like to control war-shington… but life was good then until they did the 911 call to the Jewish bank in N.Y.C… with the Bush brothers and others.. bee laidin and ibn saud and george jr and prince bindar and bin ladens down on the ranch,, and the Halliburton and other military industrial complex corporations that were in bad need of a lift… madness I tell ya,, madness… all of it! Biggest bunch of b.s. that hit the world when it could of been a nice lil rennaissance period during each of our one lives.. BUT NO .. as Belushi would have said. r.i.p.

  6. I never saw a long long war like all this baloney and not any has to win a damn thing… priceless… and folks the clock IS ticking. and I don't mean Islamic statewise.. I mean the clock of your own dam lil life IS ticking … Bring on the clowns..

  7. Stuart Kaufman : I was trying to make as much sense as the stupid article…My point in a nut shell:, a continued low oil price will put the iran nuclear program, isis,and hezbollah basically out of business. sorry though, I reread what i wrote and i have to agree with you… i didn't think any one actually cared.. so thanks for responding.

  8. Stuart Kaufman : I'm also saying this article is a waste of time.. for the reason i hopefully clarifies today.. as well as the good news has come : Netinyahoo will speak before congress and the senate AND leave the president out.. that certainly raises the stakes.. and the congress will pass a bill authorizing stronger sanctions… which if. obama does veto, certainly lends some clarity … shall we say.

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