Post-reality politics: Obama the Muslim, FDR the Jew
By Roger Bybee at Nov 23, 2010
Lies aimed at total de-legitimation:
FDR the "Jew" and Obama the "Muslim"
Chip Berlet, a progressive scholar with Political Research Associates who analyzes the Right with great insight and is an invaluable source for the Left, recently referred to "post-reality politics."
"Post-reality" is certainly a perfect description for the media's role in the current period, where the mainstream corporate media so often act as unfaltering amplifiers for the allegations of the crazed Right. That's why all the Right's concerted efforts to portray President Obama as an alien, illegitimate force--supposedly born in Kenya, sponsoring "death panels," and actually a Muslim--gained such traction through uncritical repetition.
The incessant news features about each new charge against the president were clearly part of a concerted campaign to utterly de-legitimate him. Ironically, trying to fundamentally discredit Obama by labeling him a Muslim bears a strong parallel to the way that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was often said by 1930's rightists to be a Jew. Perhaps, then, "post-reality politics" is not entirely new.
How else could a good American explain the utterly un-American doctrines that "Rosenberg" or Rosenfeld" and "The Jew York Times" were imposing on the nation?
In the 1930's, when anti-Semitism was rife and fanned by American heroes like Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh (by the way, don't miss reading Philip Roth's book The Plot Against America imaging Lindbergh defeating FDR in 1938), Jews were little more popular than Muslims now.
The latest round of strategic religious branding, fed by FOX News and other outlets against Obama and against Roosevelt in the 30's were intended to color all their policies as dangerously extreme and downright alien to America.
In the case of Roosevelt, a group of CEOs organized in the Liberty League actually approached US Marines Major General Smedley D. Butler and asked him to wage a coup against Roosevelt. As Berlet and co-author Matthew N. Lyons point out in Right-Wing Populism in America, Butler's account was verified by a congressional investigation but the prominent executives were not prosecuted..
With Obama, an attempt at a military coup seems unlikely, in part because his policies on Iraq and Afghanistan have differed so little from the top brass. But the systematic erosion of his legitimacy has encouraged a spike in threats against his life and an upsurge in militia activity.--and these should not be taken lightly.
Moreover, the far Right seems to have successfully blunted most of his initiatives with the kind of scurrilous post-reality attacks that FDR was able to successfully. FDR knew how to effectively and continuously fight back against the "economic royalists," and Obama apparently does not.
You may also e interested in Berlet speaking on the right-wing populist threat:
ccsrwm.berkeley.edu Fractures, Alliances And Mobilizations In The Age Of Obama: Emerging Analyses Of The 'Tea Party Movement ...