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Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

GOP Fear-Mongers Twist Obama Proposal

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.

2 comments on “GOP Fear-Mongers Twist Obama Proposal

  1. Joe Corso on

    Your point is well-taken, but let’s also be realistic and note how remarkably few missteps Obama made in two years of almost non-stop public speaking.
    That said, it would indeed be smart for Obama and/or his people to clarify this thing pronto, before it becomes even more of a right-wing rallying point than it already is.

  2. ducdebrabant on

    Broun is a nut and an opportunist, but Obama created this confusion himself. When you say “national security,” I don’t think of the CCC or the WPA; I don’t think of a lot of burly out-of-work guys building bridges. I think of a domestic national security organization — in or out of uniform — searching cargo holds or sweeping buildings or conducting some kind of surveillance. That’s enough to prick up my ears right there. And when you add that they are supposed to be AS WELL-FUNDED AS THE MILITARY …. well, I want an immediate clarification.
    Now, because I am not a paranoid rightwinger, I’m pretty sure Obama didn’t mean what it sounded like he was saying. I just feel that I know him better than that. But after 8 years of Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, Gonzalez, Rove and Rumsfeld, you don’t propose a vast new national security organization with a budget of billions and billions without people on both the left and the right wondering what the hell you’re talking about. And I want to know from Obama spokespeople why he said “national security” if he only meant infrastructure replacement. Sure, our national security depends on our infrastructure, but it’s still a reach.


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