The way things work in our country never ceases to amaze me. Just last week in Israel, President Bush committed what much of our media and all of our leading Democrats considered a great offense; comparing people who seek a rational dialogue with irrational Islamists to Neville Chamberlain and others who sought conciliation with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. To liberals, this is the ultimate insult and one that cannot be taken lying down.
This is most interesting coming from a party whose backers from day one have compared Bush to Hitler himself, and one that spawned a presidential candidate who compared American soldiers to Pol Pot, the purveyors of the Soviet Gulag, and naturally, Hitler. But perhaps the latest and greatest of these accusations comes from another erstwhile presidential candidate, Gary Hart, who warns that “radical forces, usually called neoconservatives, [have] perverted language as recommended by the National Socialist Party in 1930s Germany.”
He claims that the right’s strategy is: “Continue to demonize liberals, blame them for all social and economic problems, and soon enough no one will be willing to admit to being a liberal. Claim that liberals and Democrats are too soft to combat terrorists and soon enough a majority, even in the oldest democracy on earth, will believe it.” Would that this truth were so easy to convey!
If Hart’s charges weren’t so pompously humorless, you’d have to laugh at his calling conservatives “radical perverters of language,” coming as it does from the former darling of a party whose most recent president had us scrambling to define the meaning of the word “is.” It’s no wonder that its current darling, a great speechifier we are told, has had trouble refuting what he perceived as Bush’s attack on his foreign policy, particularly his promise to conduct unconditional talks with Iran.
ALTHOUGH HIS NAME was never mentioned — many think that the president’s real target was the ever-delusional Jimmy Carter — Barack Obama seems to be developing a bad case of what my father used to call “rabbit ears.” In a classic demonstration of, “if the shoe fits, wear it,” he snarled that Bush “accused me and other Democrats of wanting to negotiate with terrorists, and said we were no different from the people who appeased Adolf Hitler.”
Of course, that’s not what the president said, although you’d be hard-pressed to discover that by watching your network news, especially if your flavor of preference is of the NBC variety. The White House took NBC News to task in a letter which points out the network’s deception in an interview graciously granted them by President Bush on this subject. When asked by NBC’s Richard Engel if he was referring to Obama in his remarks to the Israeli Knesset, Bush said:
People need to read the speech. You didn’t get it exactly right, either. What I said was is that we need to take the words of people seriously. And when, you know, a leader of Iran says that they want to destroy Israel, you’ve got to take those words seriously. And if you don’t take them seriously, then it harkens back to a day when we didn’t take other words seriously. It was fitting that I talked about not taking the words of Adolph Hitler seriously on the floor of the Knesset. But I also talked about the need to defend Israel, the need to not negotiate with the likes of al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas. And the need to make sure Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon.
All but one sentence of this response was edited out of the televised interview as was the president’s answer to Engel’s follow-up question in which he stated, “And I have made it clear to the Iranians that there is a seat at the table for them if they would verifiably suspend their enrichment.”
Obama’s shrill and angry reaction to a perceived slight and NBC’s gross bias in distorting President Bush’s message only serve to highlight Obama’s weakness in foreign policy matters and the fact that the media realize this as well. And we right-wing radical forces didn’t even need to pervert any language to do it.