The onset of ODS
posted at 10:50 am on November 11, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
For the past seven-plus years, the Left has suffered from Bush Derangement Syndrome. Well, actually, the rest of us have suffered from their embrace of BDS, which one might think would inoculate us from any related maladies. As Jake Tapper notes, though, the onset of Obama Derangement Syndrome might prove that wrong:
We all remember “Bush derangement syndrome” — defined by Charles Krauthammer as “the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency — nay — the very existence of George W. Bush.”
We already need a name for the reverse disorder.
Rep. Paul Broun, R-Georgia, recently said that he fears President-elect Obama may create a security force akin to the Gestapo 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,” Broun told 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 refers to this portion of a speech Obama gave in July in Colorado. The media dropped two sentences from its reporting of the speech, which set off critics when World Net Daily reported it:
We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.
At the time, Obama’s supporters claimed that he meant the Peace Corps and other volunteer organizations. That seems a stretch, but so does Broun’s interpretation of it. As I wrote at the time, the nation already has a number of non-military national security forces, including the FBI, ICE, Border Patrol, and so on. If we want to fund that better, many conservatives would agree, but not funding it to the same extent as the military. In the context of Obama’s remarks above, though, he fairly clearly meant to at least include a volunteer force in outreach within and outside the US as some sort of Department of Peace-like indirect boost to national security.
Nothing in that speech hints at a Gestapo-like organization at all. I’d agree that we have to remain vigilant at all times to ensure that the government doesn’t try to impose such a regime upon us, but this is an extremely thin reed to grasp for such a conclusion. Although I supported a freer hand at the NSA in monitoring communications with one end in the US for possible terrorist activities given the dangers we face in this era, it’s far easier for the government to turn that into a Gestapo than what Obama proposed. That’s why I understood the Left’s opposition to it (as well as a small minority of conservatives) and thought reasonable safeguards against potential abuse were appropriate, as the eventual compromise in Congress provided.
If we plan to offer a rational alternative to the coming debacle of the next two years, then we’d better stick to facts and eschew hyperbole. We need to oppose the reality of the radical agenda proposed by Obama and the Democratic majorities in Congress, not fantasies spun out of context-free snippets of speeches. The more critics invoke Hitler and Stalin instead of Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson, the better the reality of Obama, Reid, and Pelosi will seem in 2010.
Addendum: Also, can we please get rid of this canard?
“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.”
No, he wasn’t. Hitler was never elected to any office. He became Chancellor because of a deal struck between political factions warring with each other in the twilight of Weimar Germany, appointed to the position by President von Hindenburg. The Nazis never even won a majority in the Reichstag, and in fact lost seats in the last free elections before Hitler became Chancellor. Unlike in most parliamentary systems, the executive in Germany did not need to hold a seat in the Reichstag. The Weimar system never had the support of the German people, and the reversion to strong-man rule was almost inevitable.
And unlike Germany, we will get free elections in two years. If we want to win majorities back, we’ll need to stop invoking Nazis at every turn.
Update: I’m going to add this here rather than reposting it every 50 comments or so in the thread. Nothing in this post says we should refrain from criticizing Obama. I’m just arguing that we have to stick to the facts rather than screeching historically inaccurate references to Nazis every time we disagree with Obama. No one will have any credibility left if we all give into the impulse to act like the Kos Kiddies for the next two years.