It happens every time I pop off about “the new south.” Within days, a southern politician will say something so astoundingly lame that the ‘Tobacco Road’ image of the south will be re-confirmed in the minds of millions. The latest comes from Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA10), or “R-Crazy” as Jay Bookman’s blog on Broun in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution puts it.
Here’s what Senator Obama said in a speech he delivered in Colorado on July 2nd:
We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.
The problem is that Senator Obama didn’t flesh out the proposal in the speech, and the paranoid wingnuts got the audio clip and are now circulating it far and wide as indicative of the President-Elect’s “Marxist” agenda, highlighting the scary phrase “civilian national security force.” As Broun said, according to the Associated Press
…That’s exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany and it’s exactly what the Soviet Union did…When he’s proposing to have a national security force that’s answering to him, that is as strong as the U.S. military, he’s showing me signs of being Marxist.
So what did Obama really mean? According to the AP report:
…Spokesman Tommy Vietor said Obama was referring in the speech to a proposal for a civilian reserve corps that could handle postwar reconstruction efforts such as rebuilding infrastructure — an idea endorsed by the Bush administration.
I’m satisfied. But I did get a call from a highly-intelligent friend who was genuinely concerned about what the statement meant. The Obama-team should explain the proposal a little better, perhaps in an article or written statement. I doubt it will just go away without corrective action. The wingnut buzz is threatening to go viral, even with less extreme conservatives. This is the kind of thing that James Vega warned about in his November 5 TDS post.
Oh well, at least the southeast isn’t the only region to elect scare-mongering knuckleheads to congress, as suggested by another Republican, Michelle Bachman’s win in MN-6.