Joe Biden Strikes Fear Into The Hearts Of Authoritarians At Home
Much has already been made about President Biden’s 9/1/2022 speech on the topic of rampant authoritarianism within the Republican Party. However, the best sign that it was both good and factually accurate is that it angered the people at Townhall. The day after the speech was given, Townhall published an article written by their entire staff running the headline “Biden’s Tyrannical Speech Shows Their Plan.” Here is how they describe the speech:
Flanked by U.S. Marines and standing before an ominous blood-red background right out of the Stalin-Hitler playbook, President “Unity” gave his most divisive screed yet, calling “MAGA Republicans” extremists who “embrace anger,” “thrive on chaos,” and live in “the shadow of lies.”
Mind you, this is part of a larger attack on a specific sub-section of Republicans, who Biden has recently accurately declared fascists. It should be noted that even in Biden’s recent speech — the one where we’re being told he declared everybody he didn’t agree with a fascist — Biden made it clear he was not talking about all Republicans, just the Republicans specifically dedicated to Donald Trump:
Now, I want to be very clear up front: Not every Republican, not even the majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans. Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology. I know because I’ve been able to work with these mainstream Republicans. But there is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country.
Biden was even heckled by some people blasting airhorns during the speech, and he was fine with it. The only time he mentioned them was when he said he believed it was their right to do it, even if they were being extremely rude to those who actually wanted to listen:
Notwithstanding those folks you hear on the other side there. They’re entitled to be outrageous. This is a democracy. But history and common sense — (applause) — good manners is nothing they’ve ever suffered from.
Of course, while many of mad that Joe Biden called them fascist, they are responding by calling Joe Biden one. David Harsanyi decided to spend his 9/2/2022 column for Townhall asking “Who Are You Calling a Fascist, Mr. President?” According to Harsanyi:
The other day, President Joe Biden accused voters of the opposition party of turning to “semi-fascism.” This is probably the first time in American history a president has openly attacked the opposing party’s constituents in this way.
Maybe because this is the first time the President has dealt with an opposing party full of semi-fascist politicians. And this especially angers Harsanyi because it’s Biden’s party who are the real fascists, although he would never say so if he were President:
Well, is it not the left that champions government intervention in the economy, with never-ending regulations, subsidies and mandates that effectively allow for controlling the means of production? Leftists — some incrementally, some less so — are the proponents of nationalizing the health care system, the energy sector and education.
Of course, every government regulates its economy in the ways described above, and most have some form of public education. Universal healthcare is also a policy that has been implemented in every other developed nation, and none of them could be described as fascist. (Hitler wasn’t even the person who nationalized the healthcare of Germany, that was Bismarck about a century before.) What is described above is supposed to be the left, but in practice a good chunk of the examples describe everybody to the left economically of Ron Paul and Murray Rothbard.
Mind you, the notion that the left is the actual ideology of fascism is one that Republicans have been trying to spread for years, with little success among actual historians. Dinesh D’Souza basically made this the center of his 2018 movie Death of a Nation and the topic of his ironically named 2017 book The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left.
Historically. fascism has best been described as the right-wing response to the unstoppable momentum of a left-wing movement. Journalist and member of the Communist Party of the UK R. Palme Dutt once called fascism “capitalism in decay,” a quote that is often misattributed to Communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin. In Germany, the Nazi Party actually positioned itself as a more moderate alternative to the incredibly popular Communist Party and Social Democrat, although not nearly as far-right as the German National People’s Party. (Alfred Hugenberg, the leader of the German National People’s Party, which formed a coalition with the Nazi Party so it could get the majority needed to give Hitler total power, actually thought Hitler was both too moderate and easy to control, and hopped to be essentially Hitler’s puppet master while handing him power. Hugenberg, it should also be noted, had an objectively better mustache than Hitler did.)
In 2016, Donald Trump took actual left-wing anger against the political establishment after eight years of a weak Democrat not implementing the changes the country needed, and used it to win the presidency. Trump’s “America First” (which was a phrase used by American Nazis during the 1930s to show support for Germany) policies and criticism of both the Republican Party establishment and the war machine were undoubtlably more left-wing than anybody else running under the Republican name. It should not surprise people that many of the Q-Anon crowd as well as a large chunk of the early Alt-Right actually began by supporting Bernie Sanders, the actual left-wing choice for President in 2016. Trump also appealed to many people who would have probably voted for Bernie had they been able to get over their fear of him being a socialist (he’s not a socialist, he’s a social democrat — but that’s another topic).
In that regard, I do think Donald Trump’s rise could be called not unlike the rise of fascists — but that’s only one similarity of many. Donald Trump is the same man who had a book of Hitler speeches next to his bed that his ex-wife reports he read nightly. We also know that he said Hitler did “a lot of good” while talking to John Kelly during his administration. This is not to say that every Trump supporter is a fascist, but this is to say that most fascists in the United States are Trump supporters and Trump is at least somewhat aware of this.
Either way, Joe Biden called them out, and I think that’s nothing but a good thing. If Republicans want to defend themselves, they should be forced to explain why they nominated somebody who likes fascists as much as Trump did in the first place. Joe Biden said something that can be objectively proven, and I take no issue with that.