Tuesday 11 November 2008

Republican's Gestapo gibe at Obama

One of the problems that the Republican Party having lost the Presidency and both Houses of Congress is grappling with the idea that their opponents have democratic legitimacy.

Idiotically, Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia has given an interview comparing the rather uncontroversial idea that the US needs a civiiian corps for reconstruction alongside the army to Hitler's Gestapo.

"We can't be lulled into complacency," Broun said. "You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany. I'm not comparing him to Adolf Hitler. What I'm saying is there is the potential of going down that road."

Well, that's an interesting "non-comparison" for us all.

But, to British observers, the remarks echo a considerably greater politician than Broun will ever be - Winston Churchill's somewhat hysterical remarks during the 1945 General Election campaign about the threat of a Labour government (run by Attlee and Churchill's other colleagues in the wartime coalition).

Churchill said in his pre-election radio broadcast that:

No Socialist Government conducting the entire life and industry of the country could afford to allow free, sharp or violently worded expressions of public discontent. They would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo, no doubt very humanely directed in the √ěrst instance

The following night, Clement Attlee coolly produced perhaps the greatest of all campaign rebuttals:

When I listeded to the Prime Minister's speech last night in which he gave such a travesty of the policy of the Labour party, I realised at once what was his object. He wanted the electors to understand how great was the difference between Winston Churchill, the great leader in war of a united nation, and Mr Churchill the party leader of the Conservatives. He feared lest those who had accepted his leadership in war might be tempted out of gratitude to follow him further. I thank him for having disillusioned them so thoroughly. The voice we heard last night was that of Mr Churchill but the mind was that of Lord Beaverbrook"

Labour won a landslide - and created the National Health Service to provide universal healthcate.

History may repeat itself, but a more democratic way that Rep. Broun fears.

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