If you are the political party on the outs and the scare tactics in your bag of dirty tricks aren't helping you sway public opinion, what do you do? Well, that depends ...
If you are rational and truly have the best interests of the country at heart, then maybe you realize that people are tired of the politics of destruction and decide to start offering new ideas and positive solutions.
Or, you can root around the bottom of your bag in search of slime that's even more toxic, desperately hoping that it will have a sufficiently destructive effect.
Over the past few weeks, we've seen a Republican Party bereft of fresh ideas and incapable of inspiring hope start dredging up the "F word" as it attempts to smear President Barack Obama with a label nasty enough to generate fear among the populace. And for those of you who think we're sidestepping the word "fuck," think again. We're talking about something truly ugly: fascism.
First the right-wingers tried to plant the idea that Obama is secretly a Muslim. Aside from the fact that it's not true, the response to that should be, "So what?" We're supposed to be a country built on a foundation of religious tolerance. Catholic or Mormon, Hindu or Jew — it shouldn't matter.
Then the right-wingers tried to tar Obama as a socialist. That was supposed to get us really quaking in our Nikes. But for those of us here at News Hits, we say bring it on. Look at the standard of living enjoyed by socialist democracies like Sweden, with its universal healthcare and government-funded education at all levels, and tell us it's a bad idea. Unfortunately, the capitalist powers here only like the idea of turning to socialism when it comes to having the country as a whole provide a financial safety net during times of massive loss; when profits are rolling in they are steadfast champions of the free market.
Now, running short of effective epithets, they've taken to calling Obama a "fascist."
It began last month with a pundit for the conservative American Spectator bemoaning the White House's efforts to force Rick Wagoner to resign from General Motors, describing what he detected to be a "whiff of fascism" wafting from the administration like a virulent case of BO. Then there was Charles Krauthammer, a conservative columnist for The Washington Post, who, although allowing for some uncertainty, wrote: "Some find in this descent into large-scale industrial policy a whiff of 1930s-style fascist corporatism." Adding to the chorus was troglodyte TV talking head Glenn Beck babbling about "fascism with a happy face."
Then, last week, Saul Anuzis, former chair of the Michigan Republican Party, posted to Twitter: "Obama's economic speech should double the attendance of Tea Parties!!! Economic fascism is NOT the American way."
When The New York Times asked for an explanation, Anuzis, who recently failed in an attempt to become the GOP's national chair, told the paper:
"Rhetorically, Republicans are having a very hard time finding something that raises the consciousness of the average voter."
As the Times piece noted, calling Obama a "big spender' and a "liberal" just wasn't working, so it was time to up the ante. Even the dreaded "socialist" tag wasn't scoring enough negativity points. Which is why the fascist scare tactics began surfacing.
For the record, the definition of fascism according to Merriam-Webster is: "a political philosophy, movement, or regime ... that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition."
So, it doesn't really matter that Anuzis and his pals are tossing around a label that doesn't apply — something Anuzis practically admits.
"We've so overused the word 'socialism' that it no longer has the negative connotation it had 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago," Anuzis told the Times. "Fascism — everybody still thinks that's a bad thing."
And that's all that matters, isn't it? That people think it's a bad thing, and that they associate that bad thing with Obama, whether it's true or not.
We can't help but note that when Robert Kennedy Jr. spoke at Wayne State University a few years back, he noted that one of the hallmarks of fascism is corporate control of government, something that flourished during George W. Bush's reign. Throw in his administration's embrace of torture and the usurpation of power that didn't rightfully belong to the executive branch, and it becomes clear that if the right-wing hate mongers attacking Obama were really concerned about creeping fascism in this country, they would have been howling their heads off for the past eight years.
Too bad for the GOP that Americans aren't going to accept Obama as a modern-day Hitler or Mussolini. Which means the right's purveyors of scum are going to have to sink even lower.
Just watch. We predict the next low blow will be someone on the right declaring that Obama is pursuing the politics of pederasty to further his liberal, socialist, fascist economic policies.
Sure, it doesn't make any sense. But it doesn't have to as long as it sounds bad.News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com