Why Obama scares us so much *UPDATED*

I belong to a wonderful — indeed, scintillating — email group.  Today, the group has been having a healthy debate about comparing Obama’s latest decision to talk directly to children (no parents necessary) to Hitler’s deliberate plan to wean a generation away from its parents and into the Nazi party.  My current position is that we’re not at that stage yet.

Obama has done nothing but talk all summer.  He’s had more press conferences than any president in history.  Not just that, his primary claim to fame was his marvelous ability to communicate.  And what’s happened?  People are turning against him in droves and turning even more strongly against his initiatives.  I think he’s just trying to stroke his ego by speaking to the only audience still impressed by him — or, at least, impressed by the office he represents.  I will continue to monitor the situation closely, though, and I certainly won’t get complacent.

But back to that email debate.  A by-product of every debate is a slew of good posts.  The one on which I want to focus is Bruce Kesler’s post at Maggie’s Farm, in which Bruce argues strongly that Obama should be given the benefit of the doubt regarding his commitment to education and that he definitely shouldn’t be compared to Hitler.  (You’ll find Bruce’s own words here.)  I’m not as convinced as Bruce is about Obama’s pure motives, simply because, as Melissa Clouthier points out, he’s never had pure motives before.  I’m not finding him guilty; I’m just reserving judgment.  [Bruce wrote me that he’s not convinced about Obama’s pure motives but, instead, prefers “trust, but verify.”  That’s cool.]

I’m not the only one who is suspicious about Obama’s motives, however.  As one of Bruce’s commenters said (#4):

Obladioblada is right on with his litany of events that make us wary of this President. When we called our schools at 8:00 this morning they did not even know what we were asking about. By 3:00 pm they had had a “big meeting” and basically determined that participation in the viewing of the Obamindoctrinaton/pep talk would be voluntary. The schools were swamped with calls of concern. Obviously the Won has created an atmosphere of mistrust in the country. Additionally, the Dept of Education left school administrators out of the loop while they decided what would be on the curriculum for the beginning of the school year. The sentiment we heard from the schools was that teachers just want to teach. They do not want to lead political discussions at the behest of a partisan politician. I think the Dems are seriously overstepping themselves here, and I suspect that this stunt will backfire on them ala the Wellstone affair. (Read Powerline posts on how lame this comes across to the typical high school student)

Though keeping our kids away from school that day may be an option, I am thinking of arming my kids with a copy of the Presidents Oath of Office, a copy of the Constitution, and instructions to ask the following question: Who has greater authority, the President or the Constitution?

Let the teacher lead a discussion on that topic.

That comment got me thinking about the way in which ordinary Americans, not just vigilant blogging conservatives, but “man in the street” kind of people, are becoming deeply worried about Obama.  I think that a large part of this sense of unease — a n unease that sees us unable to accept anything he does at face value — occurs because we really don’t know the man.  We were sold a great communicator who can’t communicate; a brilliant intellectual who routinely shows his ignorance; a dynamic leader who cannot lead; a master peacemaker who seems to be presiding over an uprising of international evil; a political moderate who is, instead, an extreme Leftist; a post-partisan neo-politician who has engaged in the most partisan politics in recent memory; and, of course, a graceful athlete (remember the rippling pecs?) who can’t throw a baseball.

Bottom line:  Americans no longer have any idea who or what is in the White House, and that’s frightening.  People may not have liked George Bush, but they knew everything about him.  They knew about his Dad, his education, his military service, his wild days, his business initiatives and his political career.  There were no surprises in his world outlook.  Even his known “compassionate conservatism” helped explain why he kept spending money in a very unconservative fashion.

The opposite is true with Obama.  More and more people realize, as we blogging conservatives did in the beginning, that he is an entirely unknown quantity.  Nor is this sudden sense of a stranger in America’s house (that is, the White House) lessened by the fact that the overwhelmingly Democratic Congress is apparently loopy loo, and has turned on ordinary American people.  This Bizarro World quality rocks us.  At this rate, one of these days we’ll wake up and find the sun rising in the West.

Having said all that, I find myself mostly in Bruce’s corner when it comes to the Hitler comparisons.  The problem with such comparisons — even if they happen to be true as to a given statement or initative — is that they don’t go anywhere useful.  Mention that “Obama is Hitler” and it creates a storm of passion that overwhelms thought.  And we can’t say we don’t know that this happens, because we have before us the evidence of the eight years of the Bush administration.

As young lawyers learn, if you’ve got a good argument, never hurl personal attacks at the opposing party.  Your argument will prevail and you’ll walk out with your dignity intact too.  What Obama is doing is vis a vis our children is, at the very least, creepy and we should be vigilant.  We should arm our children with facts and critical thinking.  We should make our voices heard.  Given Obama’s overreach, that’s probably enough to do the job and do it well.

UPDATE:  Here are two views from the other side of the debate:  Noisy Room and Radio Patriot.  What are your thoughts?

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    The more I see you,
    The more I wonder…
    The more I want you.
    The more I want you out of my daily life…

    Somehow this feeling
    Just grows and grows.
    With every sigh I become more mad about you,
    With every sigh I become more mad at you…..
    More lost without you,
    More confused with you….
    MORE and MORE…..
    And so it goes.
    Can you imagine How much I’ll love you
    The more I see you
    As years go by?
    Can you imagine How much distrust of you…
    The more I see you
    As the months go by?
    I know the only one for me can only be you.
    I know the only ‘one’ cannot be you.
    My arms won’t free you;
    My arms will free me;
    My heart won’t try.
    My heart doesn’t lie.


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  • gpc31

    Who is Obama? I stumbled across this Atlantic Monthly article from 2004, entitled “The Natural: Why is Barack Obama generating more excitement among Democrats than John Kerry?”


    A typical factitious msm view in that it hides as much as it reveals, but the only critical bit is this truly delectable little nugget:

    “If there is a knock against Obama, it is that he is perhaps a little too enchanted with all the attention and acclaim….And I couldn’t help noticing, when we sat down to talk in the dilapidated storefront that houses his Springfield campaign headquarters, that the blue-pen drawing he’d doodled on his newspaper during fundraising calls was a portrait of himself.”


    And I couldn’t help noticing, when we sat down to talk in the dilapidated storefront that houses his Springfield campaign headquarters, that the blue-pen drawing he’d doodled on his newspaper during fundraising calls was a portrait of himself.

    Yankee Doodle thinks he’s Dandy

  • suek

    About that Hitler reference…

    I understand your position, but on the other hand, there’s also the feeling that “we’ve seen this before”. Think about the tyrants of relatively recent history…who else is there? Stalin? Pol Pot? Kim Jung Il? What do we know about them? Most of us don’t know enough about history to be familiar with those men, but we _do_ know about Hitler. He’s in our verbal history – the stories we pass down.

    When I lived in the midwest, there was an ordinary phenomenon very often when there was rain, and it was that the wind would change direction. The result was that the leaves on the trees would “turn over”. The back side of the leaves were a lighter color – sort of silvery. As a result, when the tree leaves “turned over”, it was apparent and clearly visible. When you saw the leaves “turn over”, it meant that rain was imminent. Strictly speaking, the leaves had nothing to do with the rain – but they were a clear indication that it _was_ going to rain and you better get under cover or you were going to get wet.

    I think the thing here is that Obama is hitting notes that harmonize with what went before…there’s a feeling that “we’ve seen this before…and the results were not good”. We don’t know how it will play out – we’re a different people from the Germans of that time and place – but it makes us nervous. If in fact this man has some of the same inclinations as Hitler – and we know he’s studied him and his methods – how do we deal with it? How do we stop him before the whole thing gets out of hand?

    So…ok…he’s not Hitler…but at one time Hitler probably wasn’t Hitler either. We want to make sure there isn’t a repeat of history so it’s probably a good idea that we keep the possibility to the forefront.



    I liked your analogy to leaves.
    If I saw Obama as the same analogy it would be fine, at least I would see what one side of the leaf looks like before the wind turns it over.

    I see it more like we bought cans of paint (color mis-marked) and now the painter wants to get to work on our house (inside and out). The first coat is not to our liking and we’re standing at the front door … saying whoa..slow down with that color, it looks awful on the outside of the house. Undeterred, the painter rushes by with a roller, intent on painting every room inside the same awful color.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Foolish, gullible, and delusional Dems used to tell us that the party in power is complacent and the party out of power was insane. They did this to sort of discredit Republican criticisms of Obama or the Democrat Congress from 2006 onwards. However, it was primarily used by so called ‘moderates’ that wanted to make a tu quoque argument about Dem and Republican tactics and their inherent worth. So they said if there is a Bush Derangement Syndrome, then obviously there would also be an Obama Derangement Syndrome.

    That was, of course, only one example. THere were other incidents characterized as thus.

    In truth, Dems are crazy out of power and they are crazy in power. The delusional world that ‘moderates’ occupy is informed by power politics, insane Dem power politics at that.

  • Tiresias

    I don’t know about the Hitler analogy. It’s not much use in the present instance because, whatever else he was, Hitler was actually a very good, very logical, very smart politician with some very solid accomplishments – and he did it all by himself. He was surrounded by a cartoon cast of characters, and lifted Germany out of the mess of the early thirties to the success of the mid-to-late thirties pretty much solo. He mobilized a broken people, got them going, pushed them relentlessly, and turned them into a locomotive. (No, [sigh] I am not a fan of, nor advocating Adolf Hitler!) Today we’re confronted with the man at the center also surrounded by a cast of cartoon characters – but he’s a cartoon character himself. He is becoming famous chiefly for ineptitude. (And is apparently less wise than Paris Hilton has become about the dangers of overexposure.)

    Also, along with the vast differences between the men themselves – we are not the Germans. The Germans produce archetypes: great leaders, and great followers. They always – Hitler was not unique – appeal to the German-ness of the people to get them rallied, upon which, if done successfully, Germany turns into a giant organism with but a single thought. A flock. An anthill. That’s not America. America doesn’t do that. America will never be a flock: we will always be an attempt to herd cats. And American kids are highly unlikely to ever resemble the Hitler Youth. (Hell -we can’t get ’em organized after school to go have fun!)

    I think talking to kids is not indicative of anything good for Obama – and isn’t likely to be productive for him. They may indeed be the last audience left who won’t rudely laugh out loud at him, but they aren’t listening, either. (He’s also, by the way, much too late with this tactic. He should’ve talked to the kids first, before they’d had months of listening to their pissed-off elders on this subject. This train has long since left the station. Yet another example of being a lot less ept than Hitler.)

    The Powerline posts on how this stuff hits the typical high-schooler are right on, I suspect. They’re teen-agers: they don’t know, and they don’t care. And by now they’ve heard enough at home, all of it opposed. Their inclination will be to nap. Most of them do not know who their own congressmen or senators are, who the Supremes are, or who may be occupying the VP chair. Nor do they care.

    They’ll begin to think about it later, maybe – but not in time for Obama.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Tiresias, can I toss back at you what I think you’re saying?

    Hitler, while a monster, was an effective leader. In terms of his demagoguery, it was based strongly on flattery: “You Germans are the most wonderful people in the world, and I will restore you to your rightful place.” The opposite is true for Obama. Obama has proven, to date, to be an ineffective leader. And in terms of his demagoguery, such as it is, it’s based strongly on self-flattery: “You Americans are the debased product of a capitalist slave culture. I am the most wonderful person in the world and you will restore me to my rightful place.”

    That is an amazing insight. Both men are dressed in the trappings of socialism, but their leadership style and the people they lead are completely different.

  • Allen

    I think what people have picked up on is that he really is an empty suit. He isn’t hiding anything because there truly is nothing to hide, and that is what is becoming evident. Even though I didn’t support him, I never expected him to be so mundane. As time goes on that is becoming painfully obvious to more and more people.

    For example he’s going to give a speech to kids in school. The media cries “impressive,” “unprecedented,” and gushes all over it. Obama will then give a completely ordinary speech filled with platitudes like stay in school, work hard, and so on. I can hear the teenagers now, saying “no s*** Sherlock, like we haven’t heard that from our parents a million times.”

    Similarly, he’s going to address a joint session of Congress, over health care. That just makes me laugh at his self-importance. The funnier thing is he won’t say anything new, it will be more of the same. Somehow that’s supposed to move members of Congress who are wondering if they’re going to have a job after the mid-terms?


    Tiresias and Allen,

    I feel a little better, having read your posts.

    My caveat to this discussion is that Obama is 1/3 of the problem and has term limits.
    It is Congress and the Senate that hold the ‘red’ button without term limits.
    It’s the agenda of the other two-thirds, that controls the legislation and money that may be the real issue both in the long and short term.

    I don’t believe it is beyond Pelosi or Reid to diminish the role of the W.H. and press on with their power play of the day. Add to this, the approved appointments (Eric Holder and umpteen czars) and the tide comes in with or without presidential approval. It may have been the movement and thought process in bringing Obama front and center with such a weak resume – the focus on the lens has been turned to blur the background of the real power struggle and they keep adjusting the camera and the lens to suit their goals.

    Having said that…I am not feeling nearly as good.

  • Tiresias


    Yes. Precisely. Hitler was a blazingly effective leader – which Obama is not.

    What is often forgotten is his astuteness, and his alertness to what constituted political reality. Far more so than young Obama seems to be. Never forget: he was a superb realist. He wasn’t just a “Germans are the best” maniac cheerleader.

    An example of him reacting far more realistically even than those around him was his willingness to to write off Germanic peoples and lands he didn’t want to gather allies for what he did want: an empire in the east. “Almost alone of Germans, in 1926-27 Hitler did not complain of the Italianisation policies in Alto Adige (South Tyrol).” He would stubbornly admonish those around him that: “any reconquest of the South Tyrol… [is] impossible.” (R.J.B. Bosworth, Mussolini, London: Arnold, 2002) In fact, when he took power in 1933 he was being roundly denounced by German and Austrian nationalists for appeasing Italy and abandoning Germanic people!

    What this accomplished of course was to secure his southern border, and not bring him into conflict with Mussolini – who was, before they allied, perfectly willing to engage in conflict with him, as he demonstrated as late as 1934 – and as most people in this country forget.*

    And also yes, the American people are not to be conflated with anyone else, but maybe most especially the Germans.

    *Off the point of the immediate discussion, nothing to do with Hitler/Obama but just because it’s edifying, and because people mostly do not know it, (our terrific history education): when Hitler met with Mussolini in Venice in June of 1934, Mussolini flatly told him that any attempt at Anschluss in Austria would be forcibly resisted by Italy, which saw Austria as a buffer. Hitler knew his army at that time couldn’t fight with Mussolini’s, and figured the time was not ripe. So – six weeks later, when Austrian Nazis murdered Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss, Hitler couldn’t believe that they could be such a**holes.

    He was in Bayreuth the night of the assassination, and phoned Berlin to find out what the hell was going on. He was told the German amabassador in Vienna was negotiating for safe passage for the Nazi assassins out of Austria. He yelled down the phone (literally) that the ambassador had no such instructions, countermanded the orders, and fired the ambassador on the spot. He pulled Franz von Papen out of house arrest and flew him in to meet with him – because Papen had been a friend of Dollfuss, and because Papen had warned him (Hitler) about what dangerous nuts the Austrian Nazis were.

    Papen found Hitler in: “a state of hysterical agitation, denouncing feverishly the rashness and stupidity of the Austrian Nazi Party for having involved him in such an appalling situation.” (John Toland, Adolf Hitler, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1976; and Ian Kershaw, Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris, NY: W. W. Norton, 1998)

    Hitler was right to be nervous. Mussolini was enraged, and ordered four divisions to the Brenner. He sent word to Vienna: if Germany invades, Italy will go to war. Then he himself hopped into his plane and took off for Vienna, where he vented his disgust with Hitler and the Nazis to vice chancellor Prince Ernst Rudiger von Starhemberg.

    But the lesson here, the lesson Mussolini ultimately took home with him was: he had mobilized four divisions and sent them to the Austrian border: Britain and France had done… nothing.

    It’s probably safe to say that Hitler, the ultimate clear-eyed realist, might have noticed that, too.

  • Oldflyer

    Neocon had a similar post. She relates Obama to Hugo Chavez. In my opinion, that is a pretty good analogy for now. Of course since we know so little about what motivates him and what his ultimate goals are, it is impossible to tell how far he would go if he were able to start consolidating his power.

    That is the worrisome part; we don’t know.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Yes. Precisely. Hitler was a blazingly effective leader – which Obama is not.

    The time slices are different. Hitler had his own inner circle of individuals applying idea to policy. His single greatest attribute was his fiery and passionate rhetoric.

    Even the core band of Nazis that formed Hitler’s party became rather electrified.

    His earlier game was fraught with imprisonment, lack of popular interest, and deal making on the part of the status quo power brokers. Things changed when he got the powers of the Chancellorship and ordered Emergency Laws into effect.

    Lack of popularity didn’t stop Hitler from taking power. The propaganda media were on Hitler’s side and currently is on Obama’s side.

    If obama fails, it will be because he couldn’t use specific intimidation tactics to get Parliament to vote whatever he wants them to vote. There is resistance and while the economy is bad, not quite bad enough for Obama to declare martial law. He grew up in Chicago, learned how to corrupt the system. But not how to run it.

    He also doesn’t have Hitler’s ruthlessness. He plays within rules, while Hitler went extra-legal. I don’t mean laws about corruption. I mean laws about murder. Kennedy would violate such with impunity, but that’s why his chances for being President was nill.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    “You Americans are the debased product of a capitalist slave culture. I am the most wonderful person in the world and you will restore me to my rightful place.”

    There’s no difference here. Hitler had to inculcate an inferiority complex in the Germans, by speaking on about Versailles and the dishonor it brought to America, along with the economic hits.

    Only by making the people hate an external enemy, France and Britain, could Hitler herd the Germans into national military conquests.

    People won’t support Obama or Hitler’s policies without first being shamed by their current state. It doesn’t matter if this is Versailles or Healthcare.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    The thing is, Hitler was nothing special when it came to grasping how power flows.

    Controlling Youths is something, let’s see here, Putin, Arafat, the Persians, the Chinese, and every other socio-economical system has thought of as a priority.

    You don’t need his example to compare vs Obama’s. It is just that probably the only people Americans know about that would be close to Obama’s methods would be Hitler, and yet they know almost nothing about Hitler except what the Left tells them.

    So essentially the country is ignorant and we should treat it as such, the same way we communicate with ordinary ignorant people. To prevent people from reaching the wrong conclusions, we have to steer them along a safe path. Hitler is too full of Leftist propaganda for that to occur. But amongst truly enlightened individuals, the case study can be a useful one.

    To be a dictator, one must study other dictators. The same is true if one wishes to defeat a dictator.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Hey Book, you should get your children to watch the I Pledge video and then quiz them about what methods of manipulation were used.

    See if they get any, and then give them a run down on a few of the basics that were present.

    The details are subtle but intriguing.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    It’s true that Obama does not tell Americans how wonderful they are *as Americans*. But there is now a very substantial group of people in this country who don’t really identify as Americans and who get a substantial part of their self-esteem from feeling superior to the rest of us. Obama appeals strongly to this group and helps them to feel like a superior in-group.

    Note that Hitler’s primary focus was on Germans as a *race*, not as a *nationality*.

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