Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Previewing Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories for the Obama Administration

President-elect Obama hasn't even taken the oath of office yet and already the right-wing whackos are starting to spread their conspiracy theories. Let's take just two quick examples. First, there is this ridiculous post from the Advance Indiana blog:

Take time out today to thank our veterans for their service to our country. Today is a national holiday in their honor. It may not be for long if supporters of Barack Obama have their way. They are already demanding a national holiday in his honor even before he serves a single day as president.

I want to dissect this short post for a moment. First, let's take the comment about a holiday in Obama's honor. Yes, an activist in Topeka made a suggestion that a holiday be adopted. But as the original article in The Topeka Capital-Journal notes, the activist making the suggestion "is known for his sometimes quixotic crusades against social injustice". In other words, the activist is a bit of a nut himself. Nevertheless, the suggestion was picked up and bandied about by right-leaning blogs and websites. So, while the bare nugget of a suggestion of a national holiday is true, it is a far stretch to suggest that "they" (meaning supporters of President-elect Obama) are "demanding" such a national holiday. Ah, but why let truth stand in the way. It is also worth noting that the link in the Advance America post is not to the original article in The Topeka Capital-Journal, but rather to an article on the ridiculously right-wing WorldNetDaily (I'm not going to even bother with a link to their website; it isn't worth your time to check it out and, if you do, you may feel the need to shower when you're done and, more importantly, you'll never be able to get back the time you wasted or the IQ points that you lost).

But, if the foregoing wasn't obnoxious enough, go back and read the first part of the Advance America blog post again:

Take time out today to thank our veterans for their service to our country. Today is a national holiday in their honor. It may not be for long if supporters of Barack Obama have their way.

(Emphasis added.) Tell me how, on the basis of a nutcase in Topeka who wants a national holiday to honor President-elect Obama, can a case be made the supporters of the President-elect want to eliminate Veterans' Day? Unfortunately, the right-wing has no problem with just making this crap up as they go, never mind the falsity of the claim or the harm that such a claim may have (especially as the claims are repeated from right-wing blogger to right-wing blogger, ad nauseam). And, as we saw during the recent campaign, some people do believe that if you tell a lie often enough, it becomes the truth; and to some people, that oft-repeated lie does, in fact, become the truth.

As another example, consider the following fear-mongering from Rep. Paul Broun (R-Georgia) (Broun is the author of the Marriage Protection Amendment that I mentioned back in June) according to an AP story:

A Republican congressman from Georgia said Monday he fears that President-elect Obama will establish a Gestapo-like security force to impose a Marxist dictatorship.

"It may sound a bit crazy and off base, but the thing is, he's the one who proposed this national security force," Rep. Paul Broun said of Obama in an interview Monday with The Associated Press. "I'm just trying to bring attention to the fact that we may — may not, I hope not — but we may have a problem with that type of philosophy of radical socialism or Marxism."

Broun cited a July speech by Obama that has circulated on the Internet in which the then-Democratic presidential candidate called for a civilian force to take some of the national security burden off the military.

"That's exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany and it's exactly what the Soviet Union did," Broun said. "When he's proposing to have a national security force that's answering to him, that is as strong as the U.S. military, he's showing me signs of being Marxist."

Obama's comments about a national security force came during a speech in Colorado in which he called for expanding the nation's foreign service.

"We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set," Obama said in July. "We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."

The Obama transition team declined to comment on Broun's remarks. But spokesman Tommy Vietor said Obama was referring in the speech to a proposal for a civilian reserve corps that could handle postwar reconstruction efforts such as rebuilding infrastructure — an idea endorsed by the Bush administration.

Broun said he believes Obama would move to ban gun ownership if he does build a national security force.

Obama has said he respects the Second Amendment right to bear arms and favors "common sense" gun laws. Gun rights advocates interpret that as meaning he'll at least enact curbs on ownership of assault weapons and concealed weapons. As an Illinois state lawmaker, Obama supported a ban on semiautomatic weapons and tighter restrictions on firearms generally.

"We can't be lulled into complacency," Broun said. "You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany. I'm not comparing him to Adolf Hitler. What I'm saying is there is the potential of going down that road."

Following the twisted logic of Broun's fears is a migraine-inducing exercise, but I think that I've got it. According to Broun, because President-elect Obama suggested a civilian force to help with domestic security and infrastructure (anybody remember Hurricane Katrina?), we can assume that what Obama really wants to do is to create a force like the Gestapo (wait, they were fascists, not Marxists) to take away guns and people's rights and to create a Marxist (or is that fascist?) government. Do I have that right? And Broun isn't comparing Obama to Hitler; he's just repeatedly making reference to Hitler because Hitler was a Marxist ... oops, damn, I thought I had this all right.

It is worth reading what the actual policy plank on the issue of a civilian force really says:

Create a Civilian Assistance Corps (CAC): An Obama-Biden administration will set a goal of creating a national CAC of 25,000 personnel. This corps of civilian volunteers with special skill, sets (doctors, lawyers, engineers, city planners, agriculture specialists, police, etc.) would be organized to provide each federal agency with a pool of volunteer experts willing to deploy in times of need at home and abroad.

Anyway, I think that you can see the kind of idiocy that we're in for during the next four years. I'm surprised that we haven't heard the right-wing talk about President-elect Obama's truly ridiculous and controversial ideas like justice, respecting the rule or law, and upholding the Constitution. But that would be crazy talk; nobody would try to make changes like that!

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