FORMER WAPO LEGEND CARL BERNSTEIN INADVERTENTLY EXPLAINS TRUMP’S RISE. Carl Bernstein Rejects Comparing Trump to ‘Principled’ Barry Goldwater: “I think Donald Trump is an authoritarian. He’s not an ideologue, he’s not a principled man in the way that Goldwater was….I think that the times are different and I think the people are altogether different,” Bernstein tells CNN’s Don Lemon. Earlier this week, as Mediaite notes, Bernstein “told CNN’s Brian Stelter that Trump is ‘a new kind of fascist in our culture’ with an ‘authoritarian demagogic point of view.’”
I’d much rather a proto-libertarian such as Barry Goldwater as president than a center-left celebrity candidate such as Trump. But to paraphrase the famous sign seen at Tea Party rallies in 2009 which read “It Doesn’t Matter What This Sign Says, You’ll Call It Racism Anyway,” it doesn’t matter who the GOP runs, you’ll call him a Nazi anyway. Celebrities from Louis CK to Sarah Silverman are pulling out all of the fascist references to Trump (Silverman even appeared with a brown uniform and tiny mustache to criticize Trump on Conan O’Brien’s show last week.) But no less a figure than Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News in 1964 insinuated that Goldwater the champion of small government, whose father was Jewish was a Nazi, as left-leaning Cronkite biographer Douglas Brinkley wrote in 2012:
As managing editor of the CBS Evening News, Cronkite seemed to relish pricking Goldwater from time to time for sport. In late July, he introduced a report from CBS correspondent Daniel Schorr, a hard-and-fast liberal working from Munich. With an almost tongue-in-cheek smile, Cronkite said, “Whether or not Senator Goldwater wins the nomination, he is going places, the first place being Germany.” Schorr then went on a tear, saying, “It looks as though Senator Goldwater, if nominated, will be starting his campaign in Bavaria, the center of Germany’s right wing.” The backstory was merely that Goldwater had accepted an invitation from Lieutenant General William Quinn for a quick holiday at Berchtesgaden, a U.S. Army recreational center in Germany. But Schorr made the takeaway point that Berchtesgaden was once “Hitler’s stomping ground.” Goldwater, trying to show off his NATO bona fides, had granted an interview with Der Spiegel in which he mentioned a possible trip to Germany soon. Some Democratic opposition researcher floated the idea that Goldwater was infatuated with the Nazis. It was ugly stuff.
Indeed it was; but then, every Republican presidential candidate, from Thomas Dewey (smeared as a Nazi by no less than Harry Truman) to the present will be attacked by the left in this fashion, no matter his temperament, or his small government, libertarian bona fides. Speaking of temperament, perhaps Bernstein would have preferred a more milquetoast CEO as president than Trump – say, Mitt Romney. But in 2012, the Daily Beast ran one of Bernstein’s columns titled “Carl Bernstein on Mitt Romney’s Radicalism,” which, as Accuracy in Media noted at the time:
The article is based on anonymous sources who claim to be associated with the “moderate” wing of the GOP and are warning about the “crazy right” that might entice Mitt Romney to govern as an extremist as president. “Plainly put,” Bernstein says, “today’s Republican Party (and its Tea Party wing) represent the first bona fide radical political party to rise to dominance in Washington in nearly 100 years.”
At a time when we have a Democratic Party in power in the White House, led by a politician with links to communists and terrorists in Hawaii and Chicago, the Bernstein article has to be seen as ridiculous on its face. But Bernstein represents the mentality of much of the media who see the far-left orientation of the national Democratic Party as nothing unusual or worth commenting on.
Bernstein’s 2,100-word article is full of bizarre statements about Romney and the GOP.
Alluding to the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement, Bernstein writes, “It represents as extreme a shift in political philosophy as any of the radical ideologies that have prevailed in our history.”
Tea Party members oppose Big Government, excessive federal spending and debt. Bernstein is claiming that it is somehow “radical” to want to return to the founding principles of the United States and save America from financial bankruptcy and economic ruin. Who is the real radical?
To ask the question is to answer it. As Glenn noted earlier, in regards to David Brooks, “The Tea Party movement — which you also failed to understand, and thus mostly despised — was a bourgeois, well-mannered effort (remember how Tea Party protests left the Mall cleaner than before they arrived?) to fix America. It was treated with contempt, smeared as racist, and blocked by a bipartisan coalition of business-as-usual elites. So now you have Trump, who’s not so well-mannered, and his followers, who are not so well-mannered, and you don’t like it.”
Exit quote: “The lowest form of popular culture – lack of information, misinformation, disinformation, and a contempt for the truth or the reality of most people’s lives – has overrun real journalism. Today, ordinary Americans are being stuffed with garbage.”
UPDATE: In his 1944 State of the Union address, FDR smeared the laissez–faire Coolidge era of the 1920s as “the spirit of fascism:”
One of the great American industrialists of our day—a man who has rendered yeoman service to his country in this crisis-recently emphasized the grave dangers of “rightist reaction” in this Nation. All clear-thinking businessmen share his concern. Indeed, if such reaction should develop—if history were to repeat itself and we were to return to the so-called “normalcy” of the 1920′s—then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home.
And of course, Nixon was far from immune from receiving “Reductio ad Hitlerum:” “In 1971, the year before the Watergate scandal, President Richard Nixon was described by his Democratic rival George McGovern as a warmonger like Hitler. ‘Except for Adolf Hitler’s extermination of the Jewish people, the American bombardment of defenseless peasants in Indochina is the most barbaric act of modern times,’ said McGovern. After the arrests of the five agents who broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters, McGovern said Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate break-in was ‘the kind of thing you expect under a person like Hitler.’”
UPDATE (5/1/20): Since I’ve rounded up numerous examples of Republican presidents and candidates being slurred as National Socialists by the left in this post, I’m adding a link to “Democrats and Their Reductio ad Hitlerum Slander” by Steve Hayward of Power Line, which sets the clock back from ’44 to 1940:
By now we are used to Democrats calling Trump literally Hitler, just as they did for George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, etc., but [Fred Siegel in his 1984 book, Troubled Journey: From Pearl Harbor to Ronald Reagan] points out that this favorite liberal calumny began at least as early as 1940:
If Republicans diehards insisted that Roosevelt was “that Bolshevik in the White House,” ideological New Dealers returned the favor by denouncing conservative Republicans as fascists. Henry Wallace, the point man for the New Dealers, fought the 1940 election with the slogan “Keep Hitler out of the White House.” Wallace conceded that “every Republican is not an appeaser. But you can be sure that every Nazi, every Hitlerite, and every appeaser is a Republican.” Wallace glossed over the isolationism of leading Democrats like Burton Wheeler who were left-leaning at home yet impassioned appeasers. [Siegel might have included Joseph Kennedy here.] . . .
At their harshest, fervent New Dealers dropped the qualifiers and pronounced Wendell Willkie, Roosevelt’s middle-of-the-road Republican opponent, “the man Hitler wants elected president.”
Things really got rolling with the 1944 election, where the Democrats’ reductio ad Hitlerum argument was directed at Thomas E. Dewey.
Read on for the rest, which is a sneak preview of the attack Dewey would receive from Harry Truman as the 1948 election approached the wire.