A somewhat over-enthusiastic Right-Winger has sent me a note stating he believes that the new Obama administration is Fascist. Personally, I doubt that any American administration has ever been Fascist. However, if we are going to sling that word around, we would probably find that many more elements of Fascism existed during the eight years of Bush and Cheney than under President Obama.
To begin with, in 2000, Bush and Cheney were not elected. They were appointed to the White House by the five Conservative Supreme Court justices when the Court, 5 to 4, stopped the vote-counting in Florida. Had the Florida votes been fully counted, Al Gore would have carried the state and been elected president, as shown by subsequent research by major Florida newspapers. Having "Five Wise Solons" appoint the president, rather than electing him, is a hallmark of Fascism. Did not King Victor Emmanuel III appoint Mussolini as Prime Minister of Italy on October 30, 1922, at a time when Mussolini's Fascists were only a minority party in the Italian Parliament?
Another characteristic of Fascism is the arrogance and pig-headedness of the Supreme Leader. Adolf Hitler didn't follow the advice of his top military leaders -- he refused to supply his troops with Winter clothing when they invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941 -- leading to Germany's military disaster at Stalingrad. Likewise, George W. Bush did not heed urgent FBI warnings that Bin Laden was "determined to strike inside the U. S.", and he hardly ever met directly with his top National Security Advisor, Richard Clarke (who had held the same position under Dubya's father, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton). As a result of Bush's negligence, all the warning signs of 9-11 were disregarded, the World Trade Center was destroyed, and 3,000 Americans were killed in one day.
Fascism also stubbornly pursues ideology and pre-determined goals, ignoring real facts. The Bush regime's reaction to 9-11 was in the style of Fascism, as it mobilized American public opinion to retaliate against the wrong target, Iraq, although Iraq had no connection to the WTC attack. It was as though, in retaliation for the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, we had struck back against Switzerland. From the moment George Bush entered the White House, he was determined to invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein. In the style of Fascism, Bush and his regime deliberately twisted the events of 9-11 to justify a strike against Iraq. They also removed most of our troops from Afghanistan and its border with Pakistan, where our real enemy, Al Quaida, was operating, thus exposing Americans to a much greater danger.
In the manner of Fascism, the Bush regime used lies and deceit to try to create a connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Quaida. They introduced water-boarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques" in misguided efforts to force prisoners to reveal a non-existent connection between Saddam and Al Quaida. "Enhanced interrogation techniques" produce bad intelligence, according to experienced CIA interrogators -- and Senator John McCain. Moreover, these are the methods traditionally used by Fascist regimes, not by the United States, which won two World Wars without employing such tactics.
Running an internment camp like Guantanamo, where harsh interrogation methods were employed; and rendition of internees to foreign countries for "enhanced questioning", are also hallmarks of Fascism. Reversing these programs means reversing Fascism. By prohibiting harsh interrogation techniques, and by closing Guantanamo, President Obama is moving us away from Fascism, not towards it.
Fascism also means concentrating wealth and power in the hands of a country's giant businesses and corporations while crushing the standard of living, and the economic rights, of workers. Once again, the Bush administration, by slanting the income and estate tax laws heavily in favor of America's wealthiest and against the middle class, by pursuing its own anti-union policies, and by favoring CEO's over workers, is far more comparable to Fascism than Obama is.
Another hallmark of Fascism is the creation of a House Media that fills the airwaves with lies, hate, ridicule, deliberate misstatements, distortions and blind ideology, as in todays' ever-present, all-pervasive Right-Wing Talk Radio. Where else can we hear Far Right "pundits" pontificating about Obama's recent "Apology Tour" of the Middle East; labeling Obama's administration as simultaneously "Socialist" and "Fascist"; claiming that Judge Sonia Sotomayor is "Racist"; targeting Doctor George Tiller after labeling him "Killer Tiller" on national television; weakening DC's gun control laws just in time for Jimmy von Brunn to walk in and shoot up the U. S. Holocaust Museum, killing a veteran security guard; and blasting Janet Napolitano for warning about the dangers of Right-Wing domestic terrorism only days before Scott Philip Roeder and James Von Brunn both emerged from the shadows to prove her warning correct? Fascism in America now has its own home-grown Propaganda Networks, where the Truth is never a welcome guest.
The Obama administration is the opposite of Fascism. It is a democratic voters' revolution which has thrown out those elements of Fascism that had crept into the previous regime. Obama is not nationalizing industries, in the manner of Socialism or Fascism. He is using taxpayer dollars to try and save Capitalism from a probable new Republican Depression that was on the brink of occurring when Obama took office. It may take time for Obama and his people to work this country out of the economic hole Bush's policies created. However, already, major banks are re-paying $68 billion of stimulus dollars to the taxpayers. So, all this ranting about creating huge debt that our grandchildren will be saddled with seems like just another big blast of Conservative fog and hot air.
Just this week, Obama won a major election victory in Lebanon as pro-Western candidates soundly trounced Hezbollah and other Muslim extremists backed by Iran and Syria. Clearly, America's Right-Wing PunDunces complaining about Obama's "Apology Tour" are infecting this country with wrong information yet again.
Rather than labeling the Obama administration as Fascist, my Conservative friend, please recognize where the real elements of Fascism lie. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And, yes, Virginia, there is Fascism. But don't look for it in the Obama administration. It won't be found there. To the extent that we have had a touch of Fascism in the USA, Obama is getting rid of it. Democracy defeated Fascism during World War II and, now, thanks to President Obama, American Democracy is driving any remaining vestiges of Fascism clear out of the USA.