Paul Krugman really cheered me up with this post though. There is apparently a chorus of voices on the US Right comparing Obama to Hitler... for example Republican senator Jim DeMint says:
And DeMint is of course absolutely right about the danger, in some respects. The US has, very recently, been in a situation where the 'votes were just power grabs' - in both 2000 and 2004 the election was stolen by vote fraud by the two-bit thief and criminal George W Bush.
we're about where Germany was before World War II when they became a social democracy. You still had votes but the votes were just power grabs like you see in Iran, and other places in South America, like Chavez is running down in Venezuala. People become more dependent on the government so they're easier to manipulate. And they keep voting for more government because that's where their security is.
There was also two guys who was pushing the national security agenda so hard after 9/11 that large swathes of the US public - almost enough to win the 2004 election without voter fraud - kept voting for more government because "that was where their security was" (so they were told). The guys' names? George Bush and Dick Cheney.
So congratulations Senator DeMint, you've done a good job of nailing down what was so awful about the previous administration that your party perpetrated on the American people. Replace all your present tense sentences with past tense and the paragraph is a classic of political history.
Looking back at the Bush/Cheney era from the (relative) safety of the Obama years is a real trip. It would be easy to forget how bad they were: what a ham-fisted, reactionary, moronic shower of crap the American people had to endure for eight fucking years because they didn't have safeguards in place to prevent systematic vote fraud and the corruption of the media by Fox News. Even if Obama turns out to be a halfway incompetent failure as a president (which I sincerely hope and believe he won't be), he'll still be a bloody hero by comparison. Same with Jimmy Carter: a laughing stock at the time, but despite the fact that the guy got a lot of things wrong, he looks like a goddamn genius compared to the people that came after him. Who was the first major world leader to take environmental policy and renewable energy seriously, for example? (Clue: it wasn't Ronald Reagan.)
But it's of course not enough to be right in US politics: to avoid calamity, you have to be successful, and it is still far, far too early to say whether Obama is making the grade. It is a subject which this blog will be returning to time and again over the next few years. But for the weekend, I leave you with a Maryland Republican women's group and their thesis that "Obama is systematically destroying the American economy and with it AMERICA [capitalisation in original]." Maybe Michael O'Leary writes these people's web posts for them? Could be.