Liberals Un-American, Again

obama south lawnIn his foreign policy speech last week, Mitt Romney replayed the deepest theme of Republican politics this year— President Obama, in particular, and Democrats, more generally, are traitors to the United States. Romney repeatedly employed the concept of betrayal to characterize the Obama administration’s foreign policy. He accused the administration of intentionally leaking classified secrets for political gain.

Romney expressed the most outrage at leaks which revealed information about the assassination of Osama bin Laden and about the computer worm that damaged Iranian computers controlling its enrichment of uranium. He hopes to transform some of Obama’s greatest foreign policy successes into evidence of treason.

“Betrayal” is pretty strong language, but Romney is careful to let other Republicans push this idea into territory reminiscent of Joe McCarthy. In July, Michele Bachmann and four other Republican lawmakers recently demanded a federal investigation into whether radical Muslims have infiltrated the U.S. government. Bachmann accused Huma Abedin, deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, of having family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, an international Islamist group whose leader just won the presidential election in Egypt. Bachmann claims the State Department has taken actions favoring radical Islamists.

John Sununu, former governor of New Hampshire and a spokesman for Romney, opened an official campaign conference call two weeks ago by saying, “I wish this president would learn how to be an American.”

The anti-American theme is nothing new for Republican politicians. In 2008, Bachmann suggested that Obama and other Democrats in Congress were anti-American. Last December, Rick Santorum accused Obama of “absolutely un-American activities.” He didn’t specify what he meant, because this idea was so commonplace by then, that no evidence is needed to appeal to conservative voters by saying that our President is a traitor.

Lurking behind the un-American charge lies the non-American lie. The birther conspiracy mongers, now led by Donald Trump, still proclaim that Obama is not an American at all. Romney’s embrace of Trump and his billions lends his weight to this fantasy.

If Romney did not believe that these accusations would help his chances to win the White House, he would distance himself from them. I can’t see how he could believe they help our country, now or in the future. But that has been characteristic of his campaigning thus far.

In my lifetime, no party has so thoroughly incorporated into their normal politics the charge that the other party’s policies are treasonous as today’s Republicans. Joe McCarthy was an inveterate liar and a self-promoting creep. Mitt Romney’s embrace of these tactics shows how desperate he is to win this election.

Some typically patriotic voters may be turning against this political abuse of patriotism. In 2004, polls showed that 57 percent of veterans voted for George Bush. In 2008, 54 percent voted for John McCain over Obama. But a May poll by Reuters showed Obama with a seven-point lead over Romney among veterans.

Steve HochstadtVeterans and other Americans may have come to an important realization. Those politicians who identify only themselves as true Americans, who call the other party’s political leaders traitors, and thus the other party’s voters co-conspirators, do damage to our consensus-based democracy.

The more the Romney campaign imitates Joe McCarthy, the more voting for him becomes itself a betrayal of our American values.

Steve Hochstadt
Taking Back Our Lives

Posted: Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Published by the LA Progressive on July 31, 2012
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About Steve Hochstadt

Steve Hochstadt is professor of history at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, and author of Sources of the Holocaust (2004) and Exodus to Shanghai: Stories of Escape from the Third Reich (2012), both from Palgrave Macmillan. He writes a weekly column for the Jacksonville (IL) Journal-Courier and blogs for the History News Network. "His latest work is presented at www.stevehochstadt.com."

Comments

  1. The Republicans support outsourcers, which hire Chinese workers and pay leases on Chinese buildings. These workers and landlords pay taxes to the Chinese government. The Chinese government uses tax money to build their military. The Chinese military is still sworn to destroy America. Providing funds, even indirectly, that go to the Chinese military to be built into a force capable of destroying America is aiding and abetting the enemy. Aiding and abetting the enemy is treason. Therefore, the Republicans and their corporate puppet masters, who are lapdogs to China, are guilty of treason.

  2. The Republicans are the new Nazis, following the Nazi playbook to the letter. Goebbels (Hitler’s Propaganda Minister) advised the Nazis to constantly refer to their political opponents as “traitors”.

    Another Nazi tactic is to tell lies that are believable. Truth is irrelevant to these polyps. What matters is if the lie is believable. Will the people vote for a compulsive liar?

    • sadly , I fear they will . -Nate

    • Tyrannus Evisceratus says:

      Yes the party that kept slaves accuses the party that freed the slaves of being Nazis I have seen it before. Try to come back to reality.

      • You’re out of touch with reality. I’m accusing the Republicans of embracing Nazi tactics. Where do you get this “party”? (FYI I’m a member of the Green Party.)

        The Republicans are just like the Nazi Party in 1930s Germany:

        1. They threaten their political opponents with violence, just like the Nazis.

        2. They’re hostile to civil liberties, just like the Nazis.

        3. They’re hostile to unions, just like the Nazis.

        4. They use propaganda as an instrument of aggression, just like the Nazis.

        5. They don’t tolerate any dissent, just like the Nazis.

        6. They’re financed by the wealthy, just like the Nazis.

        7. They’re compulsive liars, just like the Nazis.

        8. They think their race and country are exceptional, just like the Nazis.

        9. They demonize other races to portray them as a threat, just like the Nazis.

        If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

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