« "Obama Defends Strategy in Afghanistan" | Main | Batondor on Moby Dick in Iraq »

19 August 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


The "gross coarse" behavior of the Obama haters is despicable.
The "gross coarse" behavior of the Bush haters was good and....patriotic dissent.


History repeats itself, some societies refuse to change or see reality:

"Castile: "A society in which both money and labour were misapplied: an unbalanced, top-heavy society, in which there were 30 parasites for every one man who did an honest day's work; a society with a false sense of values, which mistook the shadow for substance and substance for the shadow" - Gonzales de Cellongs"

505th PIR

I am thinking along the lines of ol Socrates "You are what you do every day" and the afformentioned self-righteous zealots seem so weak in themselves that an external entity such as President Obama for instance is by his very existence a threat to their concept of self. The conclusion being that they have no intrinsic substance spiritual or otherwise. I shall coin them Hate Waifs.

Nancy K

graywolf, I am an ardent Democrat and will tell you honestly that I did not support Pres Bush, I did not vote for him and I did not think he was a good president. I did not call people that did support him Nazi's or compare them to Hitler. I did not imply he was not an American citizen. I did not take a gun to places he was speaking. I did not do all the things that the anti Obama crowd are doing. I behaved civily because I believe in a Democracy and I believe acting contrary is not good for our country.

Cato the Censor

Graywolf: until you can provide a picture of someone toting a gun to a Bush event (and getting away with it), please dispense with the lame, tired, "they all do it, it's just your screwed-up liberal perspective" excuse.

Mr. Sale's analysis is accurate except that he leaves out one factor: Unlike FDR, Obama is a black man (although Sale does note that FDR's opponents accused him of being Jewish). This undoubtedly drives a large degree of the frenzied, utterly irrational hatred that seems more and more on display. When people call Obama a Nazi, they really have another "N" word in mind.

Patrick Lang


what's your brother's name. i was teaching at WP at the same time. Write of line. pl

Byron Raum

If people hate socialized healthcare so much, then let them pledge to never sign up for the government-funded, government-controlled socialized healthcare plan known as Medicare. Furthermore, if they hate Obama so much, they should pledge to refuse any treatments derived from stem-cell research. Let us see some principles in action. They should put their money where their mouth.

This country was founded by men and women who were willing to put their lives on the line for their principles. Through the last two centuries, every generation, when challenged, has somehow managed to find greatness. If the protesters want to claim moral heritage from these people, then they should do the same. Put your life on the line and we will believe you.

William R. Cumming

Ah! Great post! Who like FDR with independent means would take on the "Economic Royalists" now? It seems that the FIRE sector and the rentier and financier class no longer has long-term ambitions for their country only for their own lifestyle. Assuming that they have skillfully salted it away overseas--Did Bernie Madoff salt his away?-- why only 4400 names being disclosed by UBS and not the 55,000 US accountholders US now knows exist? My problem with OBAMA is that certain of his strategies are much more like those of BUSH and PUTIN than what people expected. Perhaps their is no coherence in the thinking of those who oppose him except that he did "Win!" But according to WAPO 57% of all whites voted for McCain. 90% of blacks who voted (WAPO estimates 16% of eligibles--a new record black turnout)and that may well be the last vote ever many of them cast. In about 12 weeks Virginians vote and if black turnout not above 10% which it will not be the Republicans will take back old Virginny. If you look closely the issues of health care, education, and environment are about reformation of the middlemen/women who benefit financially form current policy and programs. IMO these will NOT be reformed, perhaps changed in minor regards. In the meantime there have been no reforms that prevent the milking of the ignorance of the mainstream of US society by the "Economic Royalists!" So no FDR reincarnation in Obama. But hate just the same. Could it be that a black man won? Someone must know but no one is telling. y point is simple, the DEMS are dead if no turnout by black voters wherever they live and are registered (most are not)! And apparently black voters vote based not on economics or policy except at some low level but are largely motivated by race and the hope that race of the political elite might change their circumstances. It will not happen. Black politician like white are too often corrupted by the "Economic Royalists" and the leading "Economic Royalist" present today in the US is a man named Larry Summers. The man who helped "reform" the post-Yeltsin Russian economy. And now of course he is in charge of "changing" US economy. Wait until he is FED Chairman and again like while in Russian as an advisor not subject to any ethics rules. There should be a special enforcement unit at the SEC watching trades on markets by FED officials and employees. And by law of course the Office of Government Ethics which polices the Executive Branch for ethics allows holdings to be briefing outlined but never looks at the net worth or trades of the "Economic Royalists" at the heart of policy for both DEMS and Republicans. Hey watch the turnout in Virginia to see whether the future is now or someother future?


While Mr. Sale's reference to FDR is spot on, I would suggest the analogy to communism is wrong. The spirit of Father Coughlin is alive and well as is the fundamentalism of extremist right wing religion.

The references the right make to fascism show a fine reading of Johan Goldberg, who was completely ignorant, or willfully so, of Fascism's founding by Benito Mussolini in the 1920's and the immense support it received from corporate interests.



The facts of the matter are as follows. Even after many thought Bush et al stole an election, people, by any objective criteria, did not treat him like they are treating Obama. Take your pick, polls, demonstrations, talk show rhetoric. And this, after the most contested election in American history.

Shortly after 9/11 Bush was 80%+. Ok...he did not stay that way for long. But he stayed in the 60s for a long time. And no demonstrations, no Nazi talk that made the MSM near daily. It was not until Bush began---in my subjective opinion---to act like a dictator, did he begin to get called on it.

Obama? He has been hated right out of box. A deep, visceral hatred. Socialist/Nazi, right from the start. No honeymoon from the start. Not from the GOP, anyway.

Look, this is all beside the main point here. This is heading down a very, very, very, dangerous road. The rhetoric. The gun displays. The attacks on his legitimacy to be President in the first place. The GOP is playing with fire here. Literally. This nation could go up in flames, similar to what we saw in the 60s. But more intense.

The GOP leadership ought to think about this hard.

Eminence Grise

Damn John Jay! Damn everyone that won't damn John Jay! Damn every one that won't put lights in his window and sit up all night damning John Jay!

...the Jay Treaty made Jay so unpopular that he once commented that he could travel from Boston to Philadelphia solely by the light of his burning effigies.



your analysis must fail on two points:

First, you must distinguish how your calls of lack of patriotism, bias and mob rule are necessarily different than when these same techniques were used by Republicans in the case of the election of 2000 and the anti-war protests. The techniques are the same, from the same playbooks and simply used by the other side. If you did not argue against the use of those techniques at the time, you must distinguish your current argument or be simply called a partisan.

Second, you conflate a fringe with the mass. Simply because one person shows up in a crowd with an objectionable sign (Bush is hitler), does not mean that the entire crowd believes the same. Your argument is therefore reduced from a rational argument of the issues and the use of ad hominem arguements to a simple attack ad. Fifty people show up, feel free to talk about the fifty. Five thousand people show up, please talk about the issue.

N. M. Salamon


I submit that part of the reason for this ungodly behavoir by a select minority also reflects their fear of any change. They hope that Business As Usual could prevail -even as their are convinced that the past reflects the highest standard of living they, their parents and children ever had, with lot worse to come.

This abject fear of the future with, in selected minorities, the racial anominousity to a African-America-Hawiian-Kenyan is most prevalent. To call some one a dirty NEGRO - is non-permissible in 21st century USA [fortunately], thus this minority elect to use terms which are inidcative of permissible degradation of any ideas: NAZI, FASCIST, SOCIALIST. The Irony in SOCIALIST is that many of the name callers are beneficiary of Roosevelt's socialist moves: Social Security, FDIC, with additonal state sponsored [and taxpayer supported services] Vetrean Affairs, Medicare, unemployment insurance etc.


his analysis as far as the gun carrying members of the crowd is concerned is probably very accurate. That means it is of value. That Mr. Sale in your view has painted with a broad brush doesn't change that.

The other point is that in your comparison the anti-war Democrats and today's anti-Obama crowds are two sides of the same coin. In making that dichotomy, you engage, in Cato's words from above, the lame, tired, "they all do it, it's just your screwed-up liberal perspective" excuse.

For starters, Democrats didn't call up their base to appear at presidential events armed, posing a latent threat to the security of the elected head of the executive branch of the United States. In particular no Democrat under Bush appeared armed to a presidential visit with that Jefferson quote on a sign:

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

Timothy McVeigh wore that slogan on a t-shirt when he was arrested after blowing up the Murrah building and killing 168 and wounding 680 people.

That quote, displayed in the setting of a presidential event, tells a lot about the wielder's mindset. It speaks volumes when the accompanied by a gun. Then it is an implicit threat. That and 'No blood for oil!' or, say, walking Capitol Hill in orange jumpsuits in protest against Guantanamo Bay, are not even in the same game. I can't remember Democratic protesters during the Bush era coming even close to that.

You're comparing apples and oranges, and after intense examination, you find peas. Try harder.


Some people on the left did call Bush a Nazi but they were not part of the cherry-picked audiences at Bush's "Townhall Meetings" but were confined to fenced in "Free Speech Zones" or were a small sub-group of the early anti-war demonstrations. If people disturbed a political event by shouting, they were quickly escorted out. There were no Townhall Meetings where the average citizen could give his opinion or ask his congressman questions about the lead up to the Iraq War, but there was plenty of well-funded MSM propaganda.

This is the first time I've seen a public debate on impending national legeslation in the U.S. I wish the debate was civil and that some people weren't so easily manipulated by lies and fear, allowing a vocal minority to steal all the attention, but that is what the camera likes and people are prone to mimic behavior they see on tv. Like car chases outrageous behavior is self-perpectuating.

Barney Frank at his Townhall Meeting didn't give an inch and gave back as good as he got.


Dissent has always been with us as it always will. But recent gun toting dissenters is a little too much for me.

Why our Congress has not returned to enact a law that provides a wide, weapon free, perimeter around our present and future president's is beyond me. Yes, there are and should be resonable exceptions. Until such law is enacted you will see a lot more idiots pulling this stunt.

As to a public health care option, I have always been of the belief we as a nation are fools for not having enacted such a policy years ago. It works elsewhere in this world and when you tie in a private system to it you get the best of both worlds. Granted this will not be easy and should be done in a bipartisan way or it will fail.

These recent acts of extreme dissent have lit a torch in this country that will not be easy to put out. I urge all to lower your decibels and help put this fire out.


Excellent post and comments -(most of them to be sure). For several days now I felt that 'movement' against the healthcare reform became a code-word for race-rage of White people who voted against a Black man. I am flabbergasted by the hipocrysy of those people who scream about 'nationalized' healtcare but are not talking about VA system, the Medicare and Medicaid... Let them try to 'privatize' these and the revolution can start in the streets.
And in all these furious discussions nobody ever mentions that the cost of healthcare reform could be paid for by abandoning the wars in Asia, which already cost more than 1 trillion dollars and several more yet to come.
Another aspect of the anger at Obama is possibly even more hidden - namely his being surrounded by a large number of Jews and people of dual nationality. This is only my speculation, because of the label of 'anti-semitic' outrage would put the outrage to rest very quickly.


How many incidents of gun-toting dissent have there actually been? CorpsMedia reports anomalies.

Also, Americans dislike their presidents - at least while they are in office, and say terrible things about them. Is this a bad thing? The exception to this was Ronald Reagan. Was that a good thing?

Hannah K. O'Luthon

The paradox regarding the anti-Obama venom is that Mr. Obama has been, by all odds, a much more conservative president than much of his electorate desired. His attempt to compromise his way to major reform in American medical care reveals both an admirable pragmatism regarding the negotiating tactics he employs, and a lamentably blind faith in the good-will of his adversaries in that project. It seems that the well lobbied interests of the insurance industry will, once again, trump those of the vast majority of the American public. Such an outcome which is, indeed, the normal course of events in Washington, and it's hard to imagine anything short of some sort of social cataclysm capable of changing that.

Finally, one small bit of pedantry: FDR was elected to his FOURTH term in 1944, not his THIRD.

Mark Stuart

With all due respect to the author's professionalism, wisdom and knowledge:

I just stopped reading as soon as he stated:
"...The propertied classes, the business community, has never been known for its modesty or sense of proportion or its grip on the facts...".

For he thereby implies that the other less propertied classes are wiser, far more modest and knowledgeable! ( ..."making clear the rift was along class, not party lines.").
It doesn't take a Post Doctoral Thesis to prove the falsehood of this belief but also how he radically departs from what made and still makes today America: acknowledgment of the existence but also the benefits of classes, and the fluidity and mobility between them as oppose to socialist Europe.

Furthermore, i don't see to where all this analysis,rambling and conjecturing on why some really dislike/hate Obama leads? This sounds to me like a lot of emotional babbling rather than useful and factual information that could lead me to further improve, readjust or review my positions as a concerned citizen. Yes, absolutes can be dangerous and blinding. But what mature adult didn't know that already. I don't think this needed so much ink.

I find it more interesting and fruitful (at a personal but also communal level) to focus on a few simple indubitable facts about our leader's course of action so far:

-He is going nowhere in the Middle East because he is incapable to stand firm and face the Jewish Lobby. Israel is radicalizing and is playing a political game that is running counter to America's own best interests in the region.

-Our soldiers might eventually leave Iraq (if ever). But it is only to be sent to a different more intractable terrain of operation: Afghanistan. With all the cost in blood and treasury this will entails at a time when we need to refocus on rebuilding our economy, our sense of American exceptionalism and purpose.

-He is not either about to repel anytime soon the many infringements on our civil liberties imposed by the previous administration.

-He is not about to shut down Guantanamo Bay anytime soon.

-He is trying to impose a healthcare system which main features are very much socialist in nature wether one likes his plan or not.

-Our deficit is growing at an alarming rate that is not consistent with what America is about and what we always stood for as a Nation: self-reliability, independence and a spirit of free enterprise to name but a few ideals that are jeopardized today by this national debt.

So what has Obama's administration accomplished so far? Some would argue,to borrow from some 'pundits', that the economic meltdown is happening at a slower pace ! Throw at me some increased line of credits and watch me go into a buying spree! That won't turn me into a solvable tax payer anytime soon. Nor will the TARP.

Obama is too much of a community leader trying to keep the voices down at a town hall meeting to be the effective leader of a Nation as ours.
He is too much of a lawyer trying to be too conciliatory when the Nation requires today someone with convictions, resolve and spine to navigate the intricate labyrinth of political Washington.
He is too much of the abandoned child trying too hard to be loved to be able to ignore his critics to pass any of his policies.

Why or whether some love/hate /dislike him is totally irrelevant in the time of crisis our country is facing today. This emotional mumbo-jumbo is just a nefarious distraction in today's political discourse. What counts to make any opinion/judgement today are: facts! and the facts have so far proven that this administration is going nowhere!



T Scully

Col. Lang, I view Obama's protection of Bush admin. perps of crimes against humanity from investigation, his continuance of most Bush era surveillance, intel agency, and DOJ malfeasance, his penchant for extending Bush admin. secrecy and lack of accountability, and his failure to stand firm for any of his key stated health insurance reform, as proof that he is the best the right wingers who, ironically hate him, could possibly have hoped for, if McCain had to lose. The fact that they still hate him, in spite of his legitimizing some of the worst of Bush/Cheney lawbreaking, convinces me that the hatred has nothing to do with policy or ideological differences. These rightwing nutcases are simply hopelessly illinformed in their blind partisanship.

Clifford Kiracofe

Sale's piece is short on specifics, the "who" dimension. What is "Right" and "Left" in the present historical context by the way?

In my new book, "Dark Crusade," (London: Tauris, 2009), I discuss American Fascism, prominent personalities promoting it,its anti-FDR program, and the extension of that program in the post WWII era.

For a quick introduction to this complicated story see the Wiki entry on the "American Liberty League":

Is Obama on the "Left" or "Right"???

Some critics of Obama's health policy, for example, liken it to the Nazi euthanasia program for the elderly and other "useless eaters", etc. with the death panels and all that. Thus these vocal critics would seem to place Obama on the extreme Right rather than the Communist Left, I take it, on this issue.

Obama's Af-Pak military escallation looks like more Bushism to many. So is Obama on the "Left" or on the "Right" on this issue?

Obama has been very soft and ineffective on the present rightwing Israeli government. Is Obama thus coddling the far Right in Israeli politics?

Obama has favored Wall Street -- Goldman Sachs etal -- with his financial shenanigans and hammered Main Street. Is Obama on the "Right" therefore, or on the "Left"?


Richard, Thank you for a very thought-provoking commentary. FDR was hated and reviled by a Wall Street crowd, that bankrolled their American Liberty League movement, their coup plots (exposed by Gen. Smedley Butler) and other rantings, but a vast majority of Americans benefited from FDR's policies, and that is at the heart of why he was elected to four terms. The Liberty League spent the greatest resources attempting to defeat FDR in 1936, and they lost by a landslide.

I fear that, as William Cummings noted, Obama is no FDR. He has gone with the bailout of Wall Street. The Inspector General of the TARP program told the Senate that the total cost of the bailout--money spent and money pledged--is $23.7 trillion.

I think a broad spectrum of average Americans, from the disenfranchised and angered Republicans who got acustomed to being in power from Reagan through G.W. Bush, to the 18 million Democrats who voted for Hillary Clinton in the primaries, to the independents, who voted for Obama and have been deeply disappointed.

It's unruly, but, I believe, driven by a genuine concern that the new Administration is steering the country in the wrong direction. The unemployment data, the prospects of a new "surge" in Afghanistan, the health care debacle, are all contributing to a mood.

I think the most precise parallel between the FDR period and what we are living through now is the recognition that we are facing a Depression that shakes people's confidence in the future. FDR answered that fear with a heavy dose of government intervention, but it worked to the benefit of most Americans. I hope Obama comes around to that same orientation, but I fear a worse outcome.


Mark Stuart:

Regarding this statement of yours:

I just stopped reading as soon as he stated:
"...The propertied classes, the business community, has never been known for its modesty or sense of proportion or its grip on the facts...".

For he thereby implies that the other less propertied classes are wiser, far more modest and knowledgeable!

Actually, no, he didn't. So you could have kept on reading...

The proposition that "set A does not possess characteristic B" implies nothing about whether the complement of A possesses characteristic B. You may read an implication into that statement if you like, but that (faulty) inference is your own, not the author's.

Had Mr. Sale conditioned his comment with something like "relative to those poorer folk" or "unlike the rest of us poor schlubs." then you'd have a valid concern. But he didn't.

So please feel free to go ahead and read the rest of Mr. Sale's post. As always, it's well worth the time spent on careful consideration of his thoughts.

David Habakkuk

Mark Stuart,

"It doesn't take a Post Doctoral Thesis to prove the falsehood of this belief but also how he radically departs from what made and still makes today America: acknowledgment of the existence but also the benefits of classes, and the fluidity and mobility between them as oppose to socialist Europe."

It is deeply unclear that there is more 'fluidity and mobility' between classes in the U.S. than in 'socialist Europe'. A study by a London School of Economics team back in 2005 suggested that precisely the reverse was the case. At least, however, the gap in opportunities between the rich and the poor was not widening in the U.S. -- as it was in my own country, the U.K.

"Researchers from the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) have compared the life chances of British children with those in other advanced countries for a study sponsored by the Sutton Trust, and the results are disturbing.

"Jo Blanden, Paul Gregg and Steve Machin found that social mobility in Britain - the way in which someone's adult outcomes are related to their circumstances as a child - is lower than in Canada, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. And while the gap in opportunities between the rich and poor is similar in Britain and the US, in the US it is at least static, while in Britain it is getting wider.

"A careful comparison reveals that the USA and Britain are at the bottom with the lowest social mobility. Norway has the greatest social mobility, followed by Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Germany is around the middle of the two extremes, and Canada was found to be much more mobile than the UK."

(See http://www2.lse.ac.uk/ERD/pressAndInformationOffice/newsAndEvents/archives/2005/LSE_SuttonTrust_report.aspx.)

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad