28 November 2011

'Obama or Hitler': a theme and variations

From the lead editorial of the December American Conservative:

Partisan discontent will fall by the wayside once the election season gets going, as always. If the GOP's base could convince itself that John McCain was America's last, best hope against socialism, it should have no trouble turning out for the former Massachusetts governor who believes that individual mandates are fine policy as long as they originate with state governments.And while the exiguous principled left might have qualms about Obama's Bush-like ways, the mass of his party is ready to snap into line. It's Obama or Hitler, after all.

The editor's comment on Democrats is no caricature. Here are letters from the Dec. 5 issue of The Nation.

...To the writer who wrote, 'I have no clue what [Obama] stands for, what he believes in': he obviously stands for and believes in a multitude of things the Republican/Tea Party doesn't. For me, that is good enough....My question to all Nation readers is, What hopes and dreams does the alternative bring?

I'm so astonished and infuriated by the whingeing tone of those who are 'disappointed' in President Obama....What is wrong with you people? You'll stay home and let the Perrys and the Romneys and the Cains run our nation? Please, don't do this.

So Obama can't walk on water. Boo-hoo. Are we going to vote for whichever clown the GOP chooses to oppose him? Or not at all (which will have the same effect)?

Many liberals are so irate, they won't vote for Obama in 2012. So, from the rest of us: many thanks for President Romney and his neocon foreign policy loons, his right-wing Supreme Court picks, Medicare vouchers, Social Security cuts, a terrified Hispanic community and so much more.

To be fair, none of them equated any Republican candidate with Hitler, but you get the general idea. The only imaginable alternative to Obama is Republican rule, and Republican rule may as well be the fate worse than death. Whether or not these writers feel that Obama has really accomplished anything -- the best any of them can say is that "this president is a model of decency, composure and intelligence in a country that still loves to hate" -- all are prepared to settle for whatever Obama and the Democrats can or will dish out, as convinced as Margaret Thatcher ever was that "there is no alternative," at least to Bipolarchy and dependence upon the Democratic party if not to capitalism. To refute Thatcher, the slogan "Another world is possible" was coined. It's quite possible that some of these same Nation readers have spoken those very words in different settings. No other world is possible, however, without risk, and in American politics real reformers must be prepared to risk Republican rule and not fear it if they want a real alternative that expresses something closer to the will of the vaunted 99%. If our only choices are the Democratic party or national doom, then we don't really have a choice -- we are doomed. That's true for conservatives, too: if there's no choice but Republicans or doom, we're doomed. If one man or one party can destroy the country in four years, then the country is already beyond saving before that man or party takes power. If the Conservative is right in its sad prediction, and if Nation readers represent the general public, than no matter which party wins next November, the politics of fear will have won in a landslide.

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