Other writers have impressively discussed the flaws in the State of the Union speech last night. But neither Bryan Preston nor Barry Rubin has focused on the emotional appeals of Obama’s plea for national unity, nor on the underlying whiff of fascism (or authoritarianism) that was apparent to my nose as a student of fascist movements and their characteristic propaganda tropes—that are collectivist in the extreme.
All fascist movements have been heavily military in spirit. Although Obama proudly presents himself as an anti-imperialist and lover of peace, surely without expansionist ambitions, he started and ended his speech not only with tributes to the military branch of government, but the clear directive that all governing institutions, and indeed, individual citizens, should copy the military model. What is that model but a tightly bonded hierarchical entity led top down by generals, themselves subject to the control of the executive branch, especially the President/Leader? Indeed the bulk of his speech was filled with orders on how the government should control all those aspects of the economy that worry us. Government spending would have to go up, along with bureaucratic controls to enforce Obama’s directives. This statism is also common to fascist movements.
The reader may resist my analogy, for it could be objected that Nazism, especially, was a racial state, and that antisemitism in its most virulent form was practiced by the Third Reich. Here is how I answer that objection. Obama, in tandem with parts of the Occupy Wall Street movement, has been blaming Wall Street and millionaires and billionaires for both causing the economic downturn through massive malfeasance, and from not paying “their fair share” through tax laws that blatantly favor them, laws that were instituted because of their thuggish influence on Bush 43. Obama actually blamed “the money power” during a recent speech, and it was implied in his SOTU address. Everyone knows that code. Finance capital is the culprit, and finance capital is imagined as Jewish. Jews are, in the antisemitic mindset, notoriously avaricious and insular, eschewing Christian charity for generosity solely to other Jews, especially Israel, their home away from home. This language of the crypto-Jewish “one percent” will be deployed throughout the campaign. Obama wants to make them pay up, to pacify Warren Buffett’s suffering secretary, Debbie Bosanek, and her companion taxpayers in the 35.8% bracket. [She must get a high salary!]. This is populism at its crudest, and Hitler and his party were populists from the start.
So what is the true state of the union? As we can see in the Republican presidential campaign, the nation is polarized, with the same sectional differences that existed before the Civil War in place. And more than Red State hostility to “Massachusetts moderates” is the ongoing culture war, in which Democratic or radical women and men may be placing reproductive rights and gay marriage ahead of fiscal solvency and national security. We are a sorely divided nation, ideologically and culturally. Adjurations to look out for one another and to put partisanship aside for the sake of the 99% [people’s community] smell to high heaven in the sensitive, wary nose of this historian.
For more of the warrior stance in Democratic Party strategies see http://clarespark.com/2011/12/10/before-saul-alinsky-rules-for-democratic-politicians/. For more speculation on Obama’s psyche see http://clarespark.com/2010/04/05/is-potus-crazy/. For more on military psychiatry, see http://clarespark.com/2010/04/22/links-to-blogs-on-military-psychiatry/. I may have made too much of the militarism theme in Obama’s speech, but I stand by my analysis. If he didn’t grasp the implications of the military model, he should have. For more documentation of progressive movement appropriations of Nazi mind-management techniques, see http://clarespark.com/2010/04/18/links-to-nazi-sykewar-american-style/. On the anti-Wall Street theme, see http://clarespark.com/2010/09/11/is-wall-street-slaughtering-the-middle-class/. On the ideology of a popular tv show see http://clarespark.com/2009/10/15/the-christianization-of-ziva-david-ncis/.
[Note: I took down the paragraph that linked Obama's energy policy with autarky. I doubt that the desire for energy independence was anything more than a desire to co-opt Republican themes.]