Political Hay

The New American Fascism

It's time to name the perpetrators.

By 4.22.14

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It is the New American Fascism. And make no mistake — the perpetrators are proud of it. Let’s begin with dates and names.

August 7, 2008: The New York Times reports that

Nearly 10,000 of the biggest donors to Republican candidates and causes across the country will probably receive a foreboding “warning” letter in the mail next week. The letter is an opening shot across the bow from an unusual new outside political group on the left that is poised to engage in hardball tactics to prevent similar groups on the right from getting off the ground this fall.

Led by Tom Matzzie, a liberal political operative who has been involved with some prominent left-wing efforts in recent years, the newly formed nonprofit group, Accountable America, is planning to confront donors to conservative groups, hoping to create a chilling effect that will dry up contributions.

October 15, 2009: ESPN reports that Rush Limbaugh will be dropped as a limited partner in a bid to buy the NFL’s St. Louis Rams franchise. ESPN says:

Three-quarters of the league’s 32 owners would have had to approve any sale to Limbaugh and his group. Earlier this week, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay predicted that Limbaugh’s potential bid would be met by significant opposition. Several players have also voiced their displeasure with Limbaugh’s potential ownership position, and NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith, who is black, urged players to speak out against Limbaugh’s bid.

Note: As here, the aforementioned Mr. Smith was, at the time of this controversy, not simply some even-handed player but a seven-time contributor to President Obama or Democrats.

Rush goes on his radio show and responds, saying as quoted in the ESPN story:

“This is not about the NFL, it’s not about the St. Louis Rams, it’s not about me,” Limbaugh said. “This is about the ongoing effort by the left in this country, wherever you find them, in the media, the Democrat Party, or wherever, to destroy conservatism, to prevent the mainstreaming of anyone who is prominent as a conservative.

“Therefore, this is about the future of the United States of America and what kind of country we’re going to have.”

October 16, 2009: As reported here, a petition to the Federal Communications Commission titled “Petition for Inquiry into Hate Speech in the Media and Request to update report on The Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes” is sponsored by liberal Mainline Protestant denominations and the Catholic Bishops. Banding together under the name “So We Might See” the group specifically cites Rush Limbaugh by name in the petition, and supplies links to sites accusing Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck (then the host of a Fox TV show), Lou Dobbs (then hosting a show on CNN), and Michael Savage of hate speech. They request advertisers pull support from Dobbs and Beck. As reported here at the time: 

…. a carefully planned, well-funded systematic assault on talk radio and Fox News that involves at least seven major liberal American religious denominations. All of whom are apparently planning to spread the gospel that talk radio and Fox News personalities are spreading hate speech. This message will be spread to their parishioners’ children, in adult education materials, in sermons and through lay leaders…

And to back it up, they are trying to invoke the legal authority of the FCC. After having a cozy, private lunch with a sympathetic FCC Commissioner on September 30.

A backlash ensues, a funding connection to left-wing funder George Soros is established, several denominations retreat. The Catholic Bishops issue a statement saying they were misrepresented by So We Might See, never sought to attack Limbaugh, Beck, O’Reilly, or Dobbs.

November 10, 2009: Lou Dobbs abruptly quits CNN. The New York Times reports the story and includes this:

More recently, his coverage of immigration provoked protests by Hispanic groups. On Wednesday one of the groups, Presente.org, which had called on CNN to fire the anchor, declared a “victory.”

Roberto Lovato, a co-founder of the group, said, “We are thrilled that Dobbs no longer has this legitimate platform from which to incite fear and hate.”

 June, 2011: True the Vote’s Catherine Engelbrecht, an organizer in Houston Tea Party groups, receives notice from the IRS that her taxes for 2008 and 2009 are to be audited. Engelbrecht begins a still on-going odyssey in which she, her husband and associates are investigated by the IRS, the FBI, the Department of Labor

June 30, 2011: Glenn Beck leaves his Fox TV show. The left-wing activist group Color of Change, founded by ex-Obama White House aide and leftist activist Van Jones, takes credit for his departure, writing on its site: “This campaign has concluded.” The site continues another campaign: to have Fox fire Fox Business star Eric Bolling.

December 8, 2011: Color of Change begins a campaign to intimidate corporate contributors to the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council. Angered by ALEC’s support for issues ranging from Voter ID to Stand Your Ground laws and more, Color of Change says:

We’ve started reaching out to these companies to make sure they know what they’re supporting, and to demand that they stop. Adding your voice to this campaign will help us convince these companies that continuing to support ALEC will hurt their reputation with consumers. We hope that many of them will simply do the right thing and stop supporting ALEC. If they don’t, we’ll be prepared to shine a spotlight on them and make sure the world understands what they’re involved in.

In a May, 2012 interview in the NonProfit Quarterly — which ironically titles itself as “promoting an active and engaged democracy” — an activist with Color of Change says:

“We’ve successfully pushed 13 major corporations—major household names like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Procter & Gamble—away from ALEC, and we’re continuing to push on all of ALEC’s corporate sponsors to leave….we have been very clear that we will hold corporations that refuse to leave ALEC publicly accountable.”

February 17, 2012: Pat Buchanan, the conservative commentator and former aide to presidents Nixon and Reagan as well as a former presidential candidate himself, is fired by MSNBC. Writes Buchanan in a column titled “The New Blacklist”:

My days as a political analyst at MSNBC have come to an end.

After 10 enjoyable years, I am departing, after an incessant clamor from the left that to permit me continued access to the microphones of MSNBC would be an outrage against decency, and dangerous.

The calls for my firing began almost immediately with the Oct. 18 publication of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?”

A group called Color of Change, whose mission statement says that it “exists to strengthen Black America’s political voice,” claimed that my book espouses a “white supremacist ideology.” Color of Change took particular umbrage at the title of Chapter 4, “The End of White America.”

Media Matters parroted the party line: He has blasphemed!

February 29, 2012: The Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke controversy begins. Angered over his criticism of Fluke, a campaign from leftist groups like MoveOn.org and Media Matters begins demanding to have Limbaugh advertisers drop the show. Seven do — and a backlash against the fire-Limbaugh campaign begins. One advertiser asks to come back, Limbaugh refuses them. Limbaugh recovers, signs for new contract.

March 20, 2012: Mark Stevens, the CEO of MSCO and a Limbaugh advertiser, comes under attack for not withdrawing his advertising from the Limbaugh show. As noted here, “The leftist MoveOn.org enlisted,” in the campaign against Limbaugh advertisers, is “sending around a missive saying flatly that they were going ‘station by station’ where ‘outraged listeners are organizing to get Rush off the air.…At MSCO, Mark Steven’s employees were being assailed as sluts. Threatening e-mails arrived from senders calling themselves a ‘Citizen of the Internet’ or ‘Policeman of the Internet.’” Stevens, angered at the leftist bullying, takes to Fox’s Stuart Varney show on Fox Business to respond. Stevens calls those bullying advertisers “political terrorists.”

April 20, 2012: Obama for America, the website of the Obama re-election campaign, runs a list of eight major donors to the campaign of Obama opponent and soon-to-be GOP nominee Mitt Romney. It calls one, Frank Vander Sloot of Idaho, a finance co-chair of the Romney campaign, “litigious, combative, and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement.” Vander Sloot is also investigated by an individual connected to the Democratic Party. The news launches an assault on Vander Sloot’s company. He loses 200 customers in the first two weeks of the controversy, going through what he calls a “living hell.”

July 25, 2012: The Idaho Press reports that Vander Sloot has become the target for two federal audits, one by the IRS and the other by the U.S. Department of Labor.

December 18, 2013: Phil Robertson, the Robertson family patriarch of the popular A&E Network’s Duck Dynasty show, is suspended by the network for comments he made on gays and other subjects in an interview with Esquire magazine. The comments reflected Robertson’s well-known beliefs in Christianity. 

The leftist gay organization GLAAD quickly issued a statement demanding that Robertson’s remarks were a “stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to reexamine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.” A backlash ensues and Robertson stays.

February 24, 2014: A group called CredoMobilize is written up by Fox’s Howard Kurtz. Headline? “Heating up: Climate change advocates try to silence Krauthammer.” Credo activists are getting signatures that, in Credo’s own words, urge the editorial boards of the Washington Post and the New York Times to begin “implementing a formal policy of refusing to publish any letters to the editor or other content that denies climate change.” Krauthammer, a target and a skeptic, refuses to go along — and the Post refuses to dump him. Noted here in this space by The American Spectator’s R.Emmett Tyrrell in his column “Krauthammer Against the Tyrants.” Tyrrell’s experience with this kind of thing has just been refreshed in a released Clinton White House-era document illustrating a stunning liberal sense of paranoia, as exhibited here.

February 27, 2014: The Rutgers Faculty Council passes a resolution demanding the school’s Board of Governor’s rescind the offer to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice of an honorary degree. The resolution read in part:

Condoleezza Rice ... played a prominent role in (the Bush) administration’s effort to mislead the American people about the presence of weapons of mass destruction (and) at the very least condoned the Bush administration’s policy of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ such as waterboarding…A Commencement speaker... should embody moral authority and exemplary citizenship (and) an honorary Doctor of Laws degree should not honor someone who participated in a political effort to circumvent the law.

The school declines to go along and Rice remains as the honoree.

March 14, 2014: Sam Adamsbrewery announces that it will not sponsor the Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade because of the parade requirement that no outside agenda is allowed. Gay groups had complained that they “could not abide by those conditions” — so the boycott was on. The same requirement of no outside agendas was applied in New York — and Mayor Bill de Blasio refused to march in the Irish parade. The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue, a parade supporter, is attacked by, as we noted in this space, the “gay thought police.”

April 3, 2014: Mozilla, the Internet search engine, fires CEO Brendan Eich because of a 2008 contribution of $1,000 to California’s Proposition 8 which banned same-sex marriage. The Proposition, taking the same position as then Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama, is passed.

April 8, 2014: Brandeis University announces that it has withdrawn a previously extended offer of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a critic of Islam and herself once a Muslim. Fox News reported that

…Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim advocacy group, said, “It is unconscionable that such a prestigious university would honor someone with such openly hateful views.”

The organization sent a letter to university President Frederick Lawrence on Tuesday requesting that it drop plans to honor Ali. 

April 9, 2014: DropBox, the online site featuring the sharing of photos, documents and videos, announces that it will appoint former Secretary of State Rice to its board of directors. An immediate online protest is launched against CEO Drew Houston, as noted in the New York Times. This site — Drop Dropbox — quickly appears, threatening as follows:

Condoleezza Rice should not be on the Board of Directors of Dropbox and her selection shows that Drew Houston and the senior management at Dropbox are ethically short-sighted. Tell Drew Houston: unless you remove Condoleezza Rice from the Dropbox Board, I, and/or my organization, will stop using Dropbox and move to an alternative cloud storage provider.

CEO Houston issues a statement that says Rice stays.

April 9, 2014: Ammon Bundy,the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy is tasered by federal agents as the fight over the issue of cattle grazing on federal lands escalates. Captured on video here, the news comes in the middle of a fight that has the federal government sending in armed troops with snipers taking aim at protesting Americans. 

So. What do we have here in this longish list of incidents? The targets are, to say the least, diverse. Prospective Republican donors, Rush Limbaugh buying into a football team, Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, Bill O’Reilly, and Rush again with their shows, True the Vote’s Catherine Engelbrecht, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Pepsi, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Procter & Gamble, Pat Buchanan, Limbaugh sponsor Mark Stevens, Romney donor Frank Vander Sloot, Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, Charles Krauthammer, former Secretary of State Condi Rice, the Boston and New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Mozilla’s Brendan Eich, Islamic fundamentalist critic and women’s rights supporter Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Drop Box and, ongoing, the Bundy’s of Nevada ranching fame. The list, make no mistake, is actually a short one. Not mentioned is the targeting of Fox News by the Obama White House or Amnesty International’s attempts to arrest George W. Bush if he travels abroad and on and on and on.

In his classic Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises notes this of the Left. They are:

 …utterly…intolerant zealots…they entirely disregard the possibility that there could arise disagreement with regard to the question of what is right and expedient and what is not. They advocate enlightened despotism…convinced that the enlightened despot will in every detail comply with their own opinion…They are utterly intolerant and are not prepared to allow any discussion. Every advocate (of the Left) ….is a potential dictator. What he plans is to deprive all other men of all their rights, and to establish his own and his friends’ unrestricted omnipotence. He refuses to convince his fellow citizens. He prefers to ‘liquidate’ them. He scorns the ‘bourgeois’ society that worships law and legal procedure. He himself worships violence and bloodshed.

Von Mises is short and sweet about all of this. This is fascism. The “principle of dictatorial oppression of all dissenters.”

Every single person on the list above has, in his or her own life — American lives one and all — been made a target of what is in fact the New Fascism. The direct intent of their opponents — whether groups like Color of Change or GLAAD or CAIR or CredoMobilize is not to disagree or debate. It isn’t to convince. It is about, in Von Mises’s words, “the dictatorial oppression of all dissenters.”

You could be Rush Limbaugh trying to buy an interest in an NFL team. Or Ayaan Hirsi Ali preparing to accept an honorary degree from Brandeis. Or Cliven Bundy grazing cattle. The object is to destroy dissent. And the destroyers can appear anywhere. Inside the NFL, in the upper echelons of a university, a government agency, on a signature-seeking website and who knows where else.

This is fascism straight up. The New American Fascism. It is wrong — and more to the point it is dangerous. At last some people — if not yet enough people — are speaking up. They need help.

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.