Newt Gingrich and the long nose of liesAs you may know, Newt Gingrich is on a book tour selling his latest book, To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine. In his book, he writes that the administration is “a corrupt bureaucracy which uses manipulation, bribery, and dishonesty to steamroll the will of the people and destroy America’s core values.” He goes on to say, “The secular socialist machine represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did.” Of course, I wondered what he could possibly mean by comparing Obama’s administration to two of the worst regimes known to modern man.

Intrigued by Newt’s claim, I Googled the phrase “comparison of Obama and Hitler.”  I received over 600,000 “hits.” After reading the first page of links, I felt like I was strolling down Paranoid Lane in the State of Delusion. The claims made by different bloggers/writers clearly had not been fact checked but it was obvious that the claims had widespread, conservative acceptance. Moreover, their “claims” seemed to have formed the basis of Newt’s book.

One writer said, “What if I were to tell you that Obama wants to dismantle conservative talk radio through the imposition of a new ‘Fairness Doctrine.’ That he wants to curtail the First Amendment rights of those who may disagree with his policies via internet blogs, cable news networks, or advocacy ads. That most major network television and most newspapers will only sing his phrases [sic] like state-run media in communist countries?”

Apparently, this writer did not bother to check his facts. If he had bothered to do so, he would have found that in June 2008, Obama:  “[Did not] support re-imposing the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters … [and] considers this debate to be a distraction from the conversation we should be having about opening up the airwaves and modern communications to as many diverse viewpoints as possible….” “In February 2009, a White House spokesperson said that President Obama continues to oppose the revival of the Doctrine.”

Another writer made the following charge: “The Obama Justice Department is doing everything it can to limit your Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms….  That Obama’s Attorney General wants to eliminate the sale of virtually all handguns and ammunition, which most citizens choose for self-defense.” In actuality, the Obama administration has done nothing to limit the sale of guns or ammo. Moreover, the only plans announced by Attorney General Holder (May 21, 2010) was a desire to reinstitute the ban on assault weapons which expired under Bush in 2004 (but which Bush was willing to sign if it came to his desk). Besides, the US Supreme Court has addressed this issue, in favor of private gun ownership, and will address this issue again in the near future.

Of course, anyone who believes Obama is leading us down the communist/fascist/socialist path agrees with this writer:  “And the Obama plan is to eliminate states rights guaranteed by the Tenth Amendment and give the federal government sweeping new powers over policies currently under the province of local and state governments and voted on by the people. “  Fortunately, Obama has been in the process of reversing Bush policies that did exactly what the writer was fearful of in his statement above.  In May 2009, website TMP reported:  “For years, California and a number of states had sought to enact car emission standards, yet had been blocked by the Bush Environmental Protection Agency which refused to allow those standards to go into effect. Obama not only embraced those state standards in action this week but affirmed the right of states in the future to enact additional environmental standards beyond any federal minimum standards.” Obama went on, they report, to establish a sweeping new policy for all heads of federal executive departments and agencies.  That policy says, in part: “The Federal Government’s role in promoting the general welfare and guarding individual liberties is critical, but State law and national law often operate concurrently to provide independent safeguards for the public. Throughout our history, State and local governments have frequently protected health, safety, and the environment more aggressively than has the national Government.”

I could go on but you can see that the outrageous claims are being made up – and are not rooted in fact, or reality. Conspiracies are built into full-blown theories from small kernels of truth, embellished with fear and misunderstanding. Such thinking is able to gain traction because the conspiracies play into conservative fears – restrictions on guns, loss of control over government, gross limitations on free speech, and other restrictions on individual liberties.  There seems to be little recognition, or acceptance, that the Patriot Act is a far more severe loss of individual liberty and freedom than anything Obama could ever do to lead us down the path so feared by conservatives.

I suspect that Newt’s socialist machine is referring to Social Security, Medicare, workers compensation, unemployment benefits, and other government programs that establish a safety net for seniors, the disabled, the poor, the unemployed, and so forth. Something will have to be done to address the financial burden these programs impose on our future but they are well-accepted programs – whether considered socialistic, communistic, or not. To rail against them after they have become part of the mainstream makes you wonder where Newt is headed with his complaints. Personally, I think his only purpose is to fan flames and keep people “hot” for the November midterm elections. Oh, and to sell his book. Extreme rhetoric and beliefs might appeal to the conservative base but neither are winning messages in a general election.

Interestingly, no less a conservative than Ron Paul has said that to call Obama a socialist is wrong. That is what he told the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in April of 2010. I wish he had reminded his listeners that our government is working just as our founding fathers intended. We, the people, still control our government. Every person in DC is constitutionality and legitimately elected to serve, just as established by our founding fathers. If the country elects the people who serve, how can America’s core values be destroyed? It is time to stop demonizing and start having constructive dialogues.

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Jim Fitzgerald

Jim Fitzgerald

A clinically trained psychologist, Jim had a private practice in Cobb County for almost 30 years. For the last ten years he has been a Professor of Psychology at Goddard College in Plainfield, VT, but lives in the North Georgia Mountains.