We saw glimmers of this in the controversy over Rush Limbaugh’s “I want Obama to fail” comment, masked by the media’s stampede to demonize Rush rather than look objectively at the full context of the remark.  No such mask exists now for the Barack-Obama-equals-America argument from Democrats these days, as Rep. Henry Waxman trots out the dissent-is-treason colloquy:

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who has had an eventful couple of weeks to say the least, believes House Republican opposition to climate change legislation and the stimulus indicates they’re cheering against the good ol’ US of A.

“It appears that the Republican Party leadership in the Congress has made a decision that they want to deny President Obama success, which means, in my mind, they are rooting against the country, as well,” the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman told WAMU radio host Diane Rehm on Tuesday morning, promoting his new book, “The Waxman Report.”

This is more than just stupid, which it is by the truckload.  It’s also dangerous.  Making opposition to any politician’s policies or actions a case for treason amounts to an extension of the Louis XIV principle, L’etat, c’est moi, or “I am the state.”  It’s also the same idea behind the fuehrerprinzip that allowed Adolf Hitler untrammeled power in the Nazi regime, and any number of other tyrants, great and petty.  It is an essential construct of fascism, tyranny, and elitism.

Of course, this is made all the more hilarious because of the numerous accusations from the Left that dissent against George Bush was the highest form of patriotism.  For instance, Helen Thomas wrote about the same Louis XIV quote in declaring Bush a dictator in all but name because he exercised his authority to prosecute a war authorized by Congress:

In public appearances this week, Bush defended his program of domestic spying without court approval, citing the inherent war powers of the presidency under the U.S. Constitution.

The president points to his status as commander-in-chief and the resolution — approved by Congress three days after the 9/11 attacks — authorizing him to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against the terrorists.

It is an obvious overreach of presidential prerogative; thin justification for what amounts to a snooping foray against Americans and others in the U.S.

It all smacks of France’s Louis XIV’s famous dictum: “L’etat, c’est moi”— “I am the state.”

For all of the wailing and accusations that Republicans challenged the patriotism of Democrats during the Bush administration, I don’t recall a single incident in which a Republican member of Congress said that opposition to Bush’s policies amounted to opposition to the USA.  It seems that we had an eight-year case of pre-projection, and the L’etat, c’est moi crowd were the Democrats all along.

The rest of us understand that we live in a republic, with democratic processes, without anointed leaders and cults of personality.  Maybe the Democrats should learn that, too.

Update: Here’s the AOL Hot Seat poll on the question. I notice that well over 80% of the 3,000 people who voted in this poll before I posted it at Hot Air reject Waxman’s gesture.