The return of a Henry Wallace Democrat.
Advocates have a rule when making a case: Don’t pile on. But the columns against President Trump for firing FBI Director James Comey are piling on and spilling over the top — and are losing their punch.
Here’s a list of titles from just one day of the Washington Post:
- Comey’s firing was about Russia (duh!). Why can’t Republicans admit it?
- The White House’s laughable spin about Comey now lies in smoking ruins
- Trump is at war with the nation he is supposed to lead
- Everything is backward with Trump
- It’s impossible not to compare today to Watergate. And our officials are falling short
- Trump seems to be staging a coverup. So what’s the crime?
But for sheer cake-taking, cup-retiring nonsense, it will be difficult to top the column the New York Times ran two days after Comey’s firing: “American Fascism, in 1944 and Today” written by Henry Scott Wallace. Wallace is the grandson of Henry A. Wallace, vice president of the United States during President Franklin Roosevelt’s third term. (He also made a fortune developing a very successful hybrid seed company.)
We don’t know for certain if Wallace was a communist. According to Conrad Black, writing in National Review, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover told Roosevelt that Wallace was close to communists in Hollywood and “had inappropriate connections with overseas communists, including in the Soviet Union.”
In 1944, Wallace toured the Soviet Union with communist Owen Lattimore and was taken to a labor camp where he was told, and apparently believed, that all the work was done by volunteers.
Black also writes: “Eminent Cold War historian John Lewis Gaddis has written that ‘there is Soviet documentation that Wallace was regularly reporting to the Kremlin in 1945 and 1946 while he was in the Truman administration,’ and that later, when Truman was considering a secret effort to approach the Soviets, his effort was ‘blown wide open by Wallace when he was running for president on the Progressive Party ticket’ in 1948. This was after Truman fired Wallace for giving an address in Madison Square Garden attacking the Truman administration for excessive anti-communist zeal.”
It’s fair to conclude that Wallace was either a fool or communist knave.
Grandson Wallace says the New York Times asked his grandfather in 1944 to write about whether there were fascists in America. Grandson Wallace writes: “His article… described a breed of super-nationalist who pursues political power by deceiving Americans and playing to their fears, but is really interested only in protecting his own wealth and privilege.” And then the clincher: “In my view, he predicted President Trump.”
Is it possible to keep a straight face reading that? Young Wallace has now made the whole Trump experience worthwhile — even if Trump had not nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
“To be clear,” young Wallace retreats just a bit, “I don’t think the precise term ‘fascism’ — as in Mussolini and Hitler — is fairly applied to Mr. Trump” (i.e., no gas chambers). But by then, the damage is done.
What young Wallace actually meant, he says (raising the question, why didn’t he say it to begin with?), was that: “Mussolini was a proponent of ‘corporatism,’ defined by some as ‘a merger of state and corporate power.’ And through that lens, using that term, my grandfather’s warning looks prescient.”
“They [hucksters spouting popular themes] invariably put ‘money and power ahead of human beings,’ he continued. ‘They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest.’”
Does that really describe the Donald Trump who beat up the Carrier Corporation when they threatened to move some of their manufacturing facilities from the U.S.? And who has threatened massive tariffs on corporations that move their manufacturing facilities abroad? Whatever the wisdom of that policy, it would seem, at least on its face, to be a policy that puts “human beings” ahead of “money and power.”
“And what is the ultimate goal [of these fascists]?” young Wallace asks. “Their final objective,” the grandfather wrote, “toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.”
Grandson: “That sounds like Mussolini and his embrace of ‘corporatism’ — the marriage of government and corporate power. And it also sounds like President Trump.”
No it doesn’t. What absolute rot. It sounds like your average anti-Trump, liberal, progressive Democrat hugely enjoying himself at the expense of his intellectual reputation — assuming he had one.
We don’t know for sure if Henry A. Wallace was a communist. We can be reasonably certain that his grandson is a windbag enjoying his 15 minutes of fame in the New York Times by piling on.
Email Daniel Oliver at Daniel.Oliver@TheCandidAmerican.com.
Henry Wallace (Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons)