Dubya got another chance to play a hero the other day. He is now claiming to be the only thing that stands between Americans and subjugation by "Islamofascists." My goodness, but that child does have a fertile imagination, doesn't he? This time, the occasion was a speech in Wisconsin but the speech actually covered old ground for the Boy President.
Fascism is a dead political philosophy. Fascism used perpetual war as a tool for maintaining its power domestically and for building an empire. Largely limited to Italy, fascism was a 20th century excuse to seize colonies (after most of the good ones had been taken in earlier times). Fascists used government-driven economic stimulation of industry, especially militarily useful industries, to artificially prop up the economy -- for as long as the wars could justify the enormous expense. Italy's Benito Mussolini was the first fascist dictator. He took advantage of turbulent times to expand his power. Sound familiar? "Fascism was a product of a general feeling of anxiety and fear among the middle-class of postwar Italy, arising out of a convergence of interrelated economic, political, and cultural pressures. Italy had no long-term tradition of parliamentary compromise, and public discourse took on an inflammatory tone on all sides." Again, sound familiar? The fascist party in Italy was supported by the wealthy classes which saw it as a bulwark against worker unrest and socialism. "In foreign policy, Mussolini soon shifted from the pacifist anti-imperialism of his lead-up to power, to an extreme form of aggressive nationalism." OK, for the last time, does it ring any bells?
This is a case of the pot calling the kettle fascist.
Despite these historical distinctions, Bush & Co. have decided that calling radical Islamic terrorists "fascists" will rally the civilian troops. Yet never being satisfied with killing the horse, the Bushies insist on beating it with every rhetorical stick they can find.
Thus, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld compared those who think he is dangerously incompetent with Neville Chamberlain's "appeasement" of Hitler before WWII. He compared today's criticism of his catastrophic blunders in the Middle East to the 1930s when "moral confusion set in among the Western democracies."
Secretary of State Condi Rice compared those who oppose Bush's war in Iraq to Yankees who opposed the American Civil War and who, therefore, would have allowed slavery to continue. At least someone in the administration is talking about a civil war. Just not the right civil war.
Clinging to the oars of Bush's lifeboat, Sen. Rick Santorum was heard to gurgle that "We're at war with Islamic fascism. Afghanistan and Iraq and southern Lebanon and every country around the world is a front."
And Vice President Cheney offered up the non sequitur argument "I know some have suggested that by liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein, we simply stirred up a hornet's nest. They overlook a fundamental fact: We were not in Iraq on September 11th, 2001, and the terrorists hit us anyway."
Sticks and stones, along with Improvised Explosive Devices, may break your bones but Republicans believe that words will get them re-elected.