Wednesday, September 17, 2008

McCain, Fascist?

My brother's father-in-law, David Weiner, is a brilliant man who frequently dizzies me with his intellect. Below is a piece he posted on Alternet (he also posts on DailyKos occasionally) regarding how Obama could win "easily":

Hitler vs. Mussolini

Lots of people have little faith in any politician. Or in government's ability to compete with Industry's manipulations of the public toward keeping us all consuming and subservient. Lots of people think the system has always been an oligarchy. Usually, fairly benevolent, like early Mussolini. Lately harsher, like late Mussolini, or early Hitler. As things get worse, it looks to lots of people like lining up with Hitler might be the wisest choice. Kind of like being on the right side during the Gilded Age, when Tammany decided who got taken care of, not governments elected by the people, of the people and for the people.

Recent Democratic presidents don't provide much better historical reference points than Republican ones for refuting this view of things. For a getting-poorer-white guy trying to raise a family, all of the options seem bleak. As his peers build something analagous to the Nazi Party in Germany, a true grass roots movement that seemed to empower people in an awful but tangible way at the time, his thoughts turn toward survival and away from contributing to an ever more illusory social solidarity based on decency.

If Obama will acknowledge these concerns, admit to his own identifications with the ruling class, and lay out in detail how illusory and dangerous fascism as a solution is today, he will win easily. He needs to paint the McCain campaign not as conservative, not even as regressive -- but as Strangelovian.

So, let me see if I understand this: first, explain to voters that McCain wants to keep Americans in a perpetual state of mutual distrust: "Our survival as a nation is threatened by a global Islamist terror network, our families are under threat from social conservatives who want to legislate away (or confiscate) your hard-fought freedom, and our financial stability is under threat by Wall Street fat cats who want you to look the other way while they pick your pockets. McCain wants you to hunker down and trust no one instead of trying to get us to work together on a solution. He wants you just to go about your daily business and not worry about the hard work he'll be doing on your behalf."

Second, have Obama acknowledge "his identification with the ruling class." What, that because he's a Harvard grad making millions now, he's elevated himself into one of the movers and shakers that makes it difficult for Joe Lunchbox to identify with him? As if his skin color isn't already doing that? "You may not know it to look at me now, but I do identify with your struggles, as being the black son of a single white mother raised in largely white Kansas. I can understand how it might be a challenge for you to see me as one of you, but I am. John S. McCain III, on the other hand, never was one of you. He was a child of privilege, following in the footsteps of his upper-class grandfather and father, who has never experienced in his life the kinds of financial struggles you are having today. And now he jets back and forth in his wife's private jet to any one of his seven houses. I may have become financially wealthy in the past year, but John S. McCain III has always been out of your league."

Third, explain to voters that a choice to eschew working together to change government's role in our lives would be a return to fascism. "In the 1930s, the trains in Italy were a joke. Benito Mussolini got them to run on time and everyone was happy for a while, but we all know where that ended up. In 1930s Germany, Hitler was very appealing to Germans who were decimated after WWI, and they embraced his brand of fierce nationalism. But we all know how that turned out. It's very tempting to be drawn to overly simplistic solutions, very tempting to tamp down the lingering doubts in your mind and follow the one of us who thinks more war, more illegal spying, more torture, and less freedom is key to restoring our national honor. But this is not a conservative view. This is not even an attempt to resurrect the Cold War paranoia of the past. In fact, this is an eerie worldview that has echoes in the old movie, Dr. Strangelove, which has the subtitle 'How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.' You're not even being pressed to care. You're being tricked into not caring what the government does to protect you, even if it means that you will never again enjoy the freedom that millions of Americans have died to preserve for us and for future generations."

Yeah. Could work.

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