The Corner

“Historians of early 21st century American politics will remark the degree to which radical forces, usually called neoconservatives, perverted language as recommended by the National Socialist Party in 1930s Germany…”

I have always liked Gary Hart, and, when I have met him, came away impressed that he was a thoughtful person. That said, he has a long diatribe against John McCain, in which he falls into the now tired condescending trope of the sinister neocons who, as quasi-neo-Nazis, took over a clueless George Bush:

Historians of early 21st century American politics will remark the degree to which radical forces, usually called neoconservatives, perverted language as recommended by the National Socialist Party in 1930s Germany… Open up entire electronic networks, such as Fox, and chains of radio stations, such as Clear Channel, and buy enough newspaper chains, and make all these media available to pre-programmed neoconservative ditto heads, and sure enough a subculture will emerge which distrusts its own government and believes that an entire political party is not to be trusted.

This has all happened before. And where it has happened, authoritarian government emerges….

That conspiratorial language and not so subtle suggestions that neoconservatives are Nazi-like are really reprehensible.

On the political side in more general terms, the problem right now with the left, Obama and trust — to the extent that there is a problem given the Republicans’ serial implosions and the favorable scenarios opening up for Democrats in the fall — is that the working classes in state after state that really matter (e.g., California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, etc.), far from brainwashed by Fox News, simply do not yet trust Barack Obama.

Why? Not because they are mesmerized by radical forces, neoconservative ditto heads, “newspaper chains” or “chains of radio stations.” No, the problem is that they think a Senator half-way through his first term for too long has had difficulty distancing himself from his virulently racist pastor, and has employed himself racialist language (e.g.,’typical white person,’ the Pennsylvanians as clingers rant, etc.). Obama, not the vast rightwing conspiracy, did the almost surreal: he turned the once elitist and cold Hillary Clinton into a barnstorming blue-collar empathetic populist that angry Democrats have suddenly turned out en masse for.

In short, the Democratic working classes, far from clueless, don’t feel that Obama is at all aware of who they are at best, and at worst, he deprecates their values in condescending fashion. That is confirmed when some on the Left create the impression (again cf. the Pennsylvania remarks) that assumes middle-class yokels are prisoners of their primordial emotions (cf. Michelle’s “uninvolved” and “uninformed” about what’s really going on), and in their ignorance are prone to be manipulated by sinister forces (whether neocons or the villains in What’s the Matter With Kansas?)

What has emasculated and will continue to hurt the Democratic Party has not been neo-Nazi conspiracies or right-wing absorption of the media (cf. in contrast NPR, PBS, The New York Times, DC Post, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, Netroots blogs, etc.), but simply this false conscious elitism that insists the electorate, after easily being brainwashed by rightists, sinister neocons, and their media, can’t fully appreciate all the myriad ways in which Democratic elites know what is right for them.

If one were to make an argument for the manipulation of language by a slanted media (I wouldn’t necessarily), then one could equally wonder how an economy of 5 percent unemployment, growth in the last quarter, 95-96 percent of mortgages being met each month, record April IRS receipts, strong stock prices, and low interest rates has suddenly been turned into the Great Depression, with Americans as the new Joads.

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