As Barack Obama enters the final leg of his “Meet the Messiah” world tour, alighting in Germany and preparing for what promises to be the most spectacular campaign speech evah, we back home are stuck with the usual mundane irrelevancies that have been passing for “debate” this electoral season, trying to make mountains out of molehills while doing our best to apply gravitas to the most hopelessly inane incidents and gaffes.
Frankly, I’m sick of it. Every time McCain opens his mouth it does not “disqualify him from being president.” Other, more basic attributes of the candidate are to blame there. And whenever Obama lies through his teeth, or flip flops, or makes outrageous statements that prove he would rather lose a war and win an election than the opposite, it doesn’t mean he’s some anti-American, ignorant, lying wretch. That simply isn’t possible given how the press is shortstroking his candidacy. All it means is that the Obama is an overly ambitious, arrogant, supremely overconfident politician with something of a god complex, a royal sense of entitlement that would put Henry VIII to shame, and an anti-democratic belief in his own inevitability (and perhaps invincibility).
While McCain should probably be home playing with children (or in the senate doing the same thing), Obama deserves to be cast into the outer darkness. I’ve been trying to decide which past American politician he reminds me of the most but have yet to settle on just one. He appears to have Nixon’s ruthlessness, Huey Long’s megalomania, Aaron Burr’s thin skin, and Edwin Summer’s penchant for wild exaggerations in his oratory.
Yeah, but don’t say he’s “anti-American.” I wouldn’t dream of it. In fact, Obama is proving himself to be “all-American” in that only American politicians can hold such utter contempt for the voter and find themselves loved for it. Ross Douthat nails it here:
Yes, of course the Hitler comparisons are absurd, but I’d really like to know which genius on the Obama campaign thought it would be a good idea to have their candidate conduct a major campaign rally in Europe with three months to go till the election and their candidate, despite an incredibly favorable climate and a fumbling opponent, still clinging to a 2-4 point lead in the polls? Overall, the overseas tour has been good to Obama, both for the obvious reasons and because making joint appearances with foreign leaders is a solid-enough way to build up his credibility as a potential Commander-in-Chief. But photo ops are one thing, Beatlemania-style rallies are quite another – and having your candidate appear in front of tens of thousands of adoring European fans when your campaign’s biggest problem, as John Judis puts it today, is that “Obama remains the ‘mysterious stranger’ rather than the ‘American Adam’ to too many voters who are put off rather than attracted by his race and exotic background” strikes me as the height of political folly. The Berlin rally probably won’t hurt Obama – voters aren’t really paying attention to anything election-related right about now, and it’ll be forgotten by the time the fall campaign begins in earnest. But it could do some minor damage, and it certainly won’t help him. (If he’s counting on the expat vote to put him over the top, then he’s in more trouble than anyone thinks.) Is it too late to call the whole thing off?
Not so fast with dismissing the Hitler comparison there Matt. I’m not saying that Obama is like Hitler for holding a mass rally, speaking beneath a Nazi icon with a hundred thousand screaming, fainting, frothing at the mouth Germans as a backdrop for campaign propaganda. All I’m saying is that Hitler would have given his hearty approval.
That doesn’t make Obama Hitler. First of all, the whole mustache thing just doesn’t work for Barak. If Obama was going to do the facial hair thing, no doubt he would go the goatee route or perhaps the suave, sophisticated, cat about town Sammy Davis, Jr. look with the sideburns and moustache combination. It used to be we didn’t trust politicians unless they had facial hair. Maybe the messiah could bring those halcyon days back.
So while Obama does not resemble Hitler – either politically or in profile – if one were to be completely honest they would concede that there is no doubt the ex-paper hanger would have admired Obama’s use of huge crowds and flowery (but empty) rhetoric in order to advance his candidacy. Hitler might have gone a little further and recommended the event be held at night and that extensive use be made of torches along with running off millions of copies of the Obama “Presidential” Seal and singing a lusty chorus or two of the “Horst Wessel Song.” Probably too late to change.
And allow me to carry the analogy a little further (in for a penny, in for a pound). The entire Obama campaign – it’s clarion call for unity, hope, change, and the unspoken but very real appeals to the brotherhood of man – all of this sounds familiar to students of national socialism. No, the Democrats are not Nazis. But the evil genius of Hitler recognized what people longed for in a political society. The feel good notion of “unity” which basically means that we should stop arguing and just do what the leader says along with “hope and change” that speaks to the need of people to believe in something greater than themselves – the anti-cynicism drug.
And then there’s Obama’s unspoken appeal to the brotherhood of man. Nazis tried to make this a racial appeal and couple it with the notion of unity (“Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer”). Obama is not so crude. His very existence as a multi racial candidate is an appeal to unify the country not by highlighting race but by subsuming racial differences and bringing about a transformative episode in American history. A nice trick if he can pull it off. At the moment, his candidacy appears to be having the opposite effect as the black/white divide has never been more pronounced.
So is Ross correct in so cavalierly dismissing the Hitler parallels? Of course he is. And it is a 100% dead certainty that Obama and his people are not consciously following a blueprint for gaining power laid down by Hitler and Goebbels.
But that doesn’t mean we should ignore tactics like mass rallies/ campaign commercials featuring fawning, slobbering Obama fans worshiping the ground he walks on and dismiss Obama’s “hopenchange” mantra as juvenile twaddle. None of this takes place in an historical vacuum and recognizing and identifying parallels allows us to understand the psychology of the candidate.
NOTE: I have absolutely no doubt this post will be misinterpreted. Those who are smarter will deliberately do so. Those who are stupid just won’t know any better (and probably won’t be able to read it anyway).
Consider this pre-emptive attack on your honesty and integrity my final word on this post.