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October 27, 2008

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This is nothing new of course. See Nasser, Gamal Abdel, circa 1955.

Nasser was compared to both Hitler and Chamberlain?

That I did not know.

Nope! Ooops

You write a MA thesis on the subject, and then you see relevancy everywhere.

That's funny stuff. And the best part for them is that the only ones who will lose their jobs over printing such stupidity are the ones who dare leave the orthodox position behind.

I hope you saw Yglesias's response to Kristol's point that Chamberlain had "a fine temperament and a good intellect": "By the same token, I suppose, Adolf Hitler was a hothead who took on the special interests."

Elvis: I actually linked to Matt and not Kristol. So yeah. And that was a great line.

Aha.

I am very good at using the internet.

Perhaps I can help.

I am, as they say, aware of all internet...

I oftenask neo-cons what they think Chamberlain SHOULD have done.

They did not have the ability to engage in an offensive war with Germany in 1938. Their economy was near bankrupt and they were using what they had to rebuild their meager military.

I seem to remember Walter Payton exciting crowds too. People filling stadiums and waving their arms when he was on the field. I think the NFL should strip him of all his records since he was so much like Hitler.

They did not have the ability to engage in an offensive war with Germany in 1938. Their economy was near bankrupt and they were using what they had to rebuild their meager military.

So?

If they had the will to win, they would have won. Only defeatists and appeasers worry about logistics.

The word we're looking for here is "unhinged".

These people have lost all perspective. Anyone who truly, genuinely believes that Obama is comparable to either Chamberlain or Hitler--hell, who believes half the rot going around about Obama right now--is not dealing with the real world. Meaningful dialogue with them is impossible at the moment.

I fondly remember the halcyon days of my youth when it was considered damming enough to compare Obama with Gov. Patrick Duval of Massachusetts.

That was, what, about 6 months ago?

Dunaway: He's Chamberlain! (slap) He's Hitler! (slap) He's Chamberlain! (slap) He's Hitler! (slap) (breaks down crying) He's Chamberlain AND Hitler!

Nicholson, suddenly shocked, backs away. After a moment, he sits down next to her and puts his head in his hands.

Seeing Kristol flailing as the Veep nominee he wanted destroys the campaign of the bellicose Presidential nominee he backs makes me hope that this election will indeed be a Dem landslide and therefore an emotionally crushing experience for Kristol - indeed (even realizing that using this pun, which I have in any event stolen, probably makes me a Bad Jew): I hope that November 4 will be The Night Of Broken Kristol.

"...I hope that November 4 will be The Night Of Broken Kristol."

Few of these folks wouldn't be opinionators and pundits if they didn't have near-psychopathic abilities to rationalize. He'll come up with some self-enoblizing reason for it all. They just weren't conservative enough. Palin should have headed the ticket this time. If only Ronald Reagan were still around. The election was stolen by Democratic vote fraud. Whatever.

"wouldn't be" should be "would be."

"Only defeatists and appeasers worry about logistics."

I thought that was "professionals" - defeatists and appeasers are supposed to fret over tactics, or something....

I thought that was "professionals"

Not in neocon world. In neocon world, such concerns are always wildly off the mark as a matter of course.

TLT: Deval Patrick.

I have to reminisce here. In June of 2006, the Democratic primary was just heating up. While not a foregone conclusion, it was a good bet that the Democratic nominee would defeat Mitt Romney's Lieutenant Governor, a woman named Kerry Healy, in the general. There were four serious candidates in the primary, including this guy Patrick I had not known much about until then.

The JFK school at Harvard held a debate, and I went to see it with an open mind. I was very slightly leaning toward a guy named Gabrielli, a sort of Bloomberg type who had been on the air a lot already on the strength of his personal money. Outside, I noticed about twice as many people holding signs and wearing tee shirts for Patrick as for anyone else. Inside, I was very favorably impressed by Patrick. Thinking back on it, I recognize that his approach was what we would now call Obama-like: smart without being a wise-ass, practical more than passionate, totally non-racial. I began to pay closer attention to his campaign. That got easier to do as his grass-roots support translated into a bigger and bigger media presence. Well before the primary, he had my full support. No doubt that swung the election for him :-)

Governor Patrick has had a rocky start. The MA legislature is more Democratic than the US Congress could ever be. That they have not rubber-stamped Patrick's initiatives surprises nobody. Frankly, and to my shame, I have not followed state issues as closely as I have national ones for the past two years. But partly that's because I have no strong position on, for example, casino gambling. I'm willing to let my Democratic governor and my Democratic legislature sort it out. The one thing I'm sure of is that Deval Patrick is not Kerry Healy. That's good enough for the moment.

--TP

.....that would be kistolnacht.

The idea that a man such as Kristol, with that pasted on smile would "feel" anything at all is simply preposterous. I've seen it called 'preternatural' (sic?).

I suggest the William Krisol Memorial smile naming contest:

Painted on?
Clownish?
Frozen?
Interminable?
Dead-fish like?
Deer in the headlights look?

Kristol's smile is a guilty smile. i interviews, he always looks like he's nervous that he's about to be called-out on his lies.

Kristol is the Uriah Heep of punditry.

Kristol is the Uriah Heep of punditry.

I don't get the reference. Can you elaborate?

Heep is a character from David Copperfield.

he's a scheming, obsequious, angry, little man.

When you don't know how to spell something, or don't know the meaning of a reference, you can try Google, and often Wikipedia.

Uriah Heep:

The character is notable for his cloying humility, obsequiousness, and general insincerity. His references to David as "Master Copperfield" are repeated so often that they quickly seem insincere.
HTH.

Kristol is the Uriah Heep of punditry.

Do you mean that he's a fallen angel, that he fancies himself high and mighty, or that everything he writes is a return to fantasy?

I'm always particularly amused by American conservatives talking about Chamberlain's failure to respond militarily to the German invasion of Czechoslovakia.

What was the US response to the German invasion of Czechoslovakia again? How long did it take before the US was willing to go to war against Germany?

Was it after the invasion of Poland? Hmm, no. Was it after the invasion of Denmark and Norway? Nope. Was it after Germany invaded France, Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg? No... How about Romania? Egypt? Greece? Yugoslavia? No, no, no, no.

Funny that. Gosh, you might think that the US failure to respond to any of those incursions looks a lot like the British failure to respond in 1938. Except, you know, the US had some hope of actually prevailing against the Germans if they declared war on them.

I hadn't noticed it but you're right. They're more deluded than I had appreciated.


"Gosh, you might think that the US failure to respond to any of those incursions looks a lot like the British failure to respond in 1938."

But that's completely besides the point, since the point isn't that the U.S. response to Hitler was better than that of Chamberlain. Given that that isn't anyone's claim, this has nothing to do with anything, and is a non-sequitur.

"...you might think that the US failure to respond to any of those incursions looks a lot like the British failure to respond in 1938."

Yes, you might: who cares? So what?

They did not have the ability to engage in an offensive war with Germany in 1938. Their economy was near bankrupt and they were using what they had to rebuild their meager military.

This is true, but leaves out two important facts. The first is that Germany was at least as unready to wage a serious war in the fall of 1938 as the British and French were. Honestly, they still weren't ready in the fall of 1939, and really only managed to defeat France through a combination of taking huge risks, fortuitous breaks, and French ineptness.

The second omission is that the Czechoslovak military was ready, and was significantly stronger than most people realize. It wasn't strong enough to defeat the Germans by itself, but had a decent chance of holding on if the Allies had pressured Germany along the Rhine.

That said, Chamberlain was also correct that time was on his side. The British and French were rearming faster than the Germans were. Absent considerations that the Czechoslovak military was a stronger partner than the Polish military, stalling was a defensible choice.

"the point isn't that the U.S. response to Hitler was better than that of Chamberlain"

Whose point? US conservatives fetishize the idea that Britain should have gone to war with Germany in 1938, hence the endless invocations of Chamberlain's cowardice.

My point is that they never look at the US response to German aggression in the same light. The US certainly helped Britain prior to the end of 1941, but it did not declare war on Germany even though Germany was busily taking over most of mainland Europe and would plainly pose a threat to the US given enough time. Just as Chamberlain is supposed to have done in 1938, the US let the German threat grow much larger before taking it on.

We can argue about whether in either case the right decisions were made, but they obviously are similar situations.

Jacob, at the time Franklin Roosevelt was US president and he still is THE bogeyman of the Right that allegedly made the US a communist country and sent the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_in_exile>constitution into exile. The Right has no problem with demonizing Roosevelt among themselves, Chamberlain has just more mass appeal than FDR in the coward in face of Hitler role.

Jacob Davies,
You are right on point, but also wrong on the optics (if I may say so). The right wing excoriates Chamberlain *because they can* and because they claim to prefer going to war to trying to negotiate. In fact, of course, the right wing in the US *didn't want war* with Germany adn continued *not to want war* with germany and to prevent the then president from going to war with germany regardless of what germany did. Blaming chamberlain for not preventing war has nothign to do with reality and everything to do with positioning american conversatives vis a vis *diplomacy* when they want to go to war. They don't care about what the US did then, or whether Chamberlain had good alternatives to war, or anything in reality. The care about the imaginary "credit" that accrued to the US/its citizenry for fighting the II world war *even though* they belong to the very party that would have preferred not to fight germany at all. There's a good reason we had to wait until we were bombed by Japan to enter the war--there were lots of isolationists who would have preferred talking to fighting and they were largely republicans.

aimai

"Whose point?"

The point of those who constantly compare every international situation to that of Britain and France confronting, or not confronting, Hitler prior to 1939.

"US conservatives fetishize the idea that Britain should have gone to war with Germany in 1938, hence the endless invocations of Chamberlain's cowardice."

Right. That the U.S. had nothing to do with this has nothing to do with their claims. It's irrelevant. It's a non-sequitur.

You keep saying that. Doesn't seem that way to me.

The conservative criticism of Chamberlain is that by not confronting Germany at its first act of international aggression, Britain let Germany grow to become a much bigger menace.

My point - and aimai elaborates on it - is that just as Britain was making the decision that it could not afford to confront Germany over Czechoslovakia, the US was making the decision that nothing that happened in Europe was something that the US could or should do anything about. Presumably this is what you mean when you say "the U.S. had nothing to do with this has nothing to do with their claims". The US was not in Europe; therefore it was not their problem.

However, it seems apparent to me that in fact what was happening in Europe did prove to be a problem that the US needed to deal with. The counterfactual world in which the US declared war on Germany in 1938, or 1939, or 1940, or 1941 has a lot in common with the counterfactual world in which Britain declared war on Germany after the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938, in that it - per the official "defeatist Chamberlain" line - would have defeated or contained Germany at a much lower cost in lives than what actually transpired through 1945.

It seems that you think that a direct US response to German aggression in 1938 is ridiculous or literally unthinkable, but that's certainly not my impression of the debate that was happening here at the time. It was certainly possible since it actually happened three years later. By which point, just like in the Chamberlain story, Germany had grown to be much more of a menace.

"Presumably this is what you mean when you say 'the U.S. had nothing to do with this has nothing to do with their claims'. The US was not in Europe; therefore it was not their problem."

No, that's not at all what I mean. What I mean is that these conservative sorts are constantly making this incorrect analogy, applying how Chamberlain acted regarding Nazi Germany, and that what anyone else did about Hitler has absolutely nothing to do with their analogy.

However interesting or interesting another topic might be.

Well, but Jacob Davies, Gary Farber is *also* right. The right wing claim is that Chamberlain could have stopped eventual Nazi sucesses by going to war with the nazis early--but at a critical moment he choose negotiations and compromise. When faced with your parallel question "so, what should the US have done" right bloggers and conservatives have *zero* problem asserting that the US should have leaped into the war early--because they count on their readers/auditors failing to grasp that it was, in fact, right leaning isolationists who prevented the US going to war. Not as a matter of mere or sheer cowardice or naivete but as a matter of sympathy with germany. As someone else pointed out up above the conservatives hate and hated FDR and only the fact that they haven't been able to erase public memory of democratic leadership during the war phase prevents them from accusing him of failing to prosecute the war entirely. AS it is they blame him and Truman for failing on every other point they can think of.

aimai

What I mean is that these conservative sorts are constantly making this incorrect analogy, applying how Chamberlain acted regarding Nazi Germany, and that what anyone else did about Hitler has absolutely nothing to do with their analogy.

No, it has nothing to do with their intended inferences, which is itself a different matter. Analogies are, by definition, imperfect; but it's another thing altogether when the main thrust of the analogy is undercut by the larger picture from which the analogy is drawn.

It seems that you think that a direct US response to German aggression in 1938 is ridiculous or literally unthinkable, but that's certainly not my impression of the debate that was happening here at the time.

It was completely ridiculous. The US didn't do anything about Germany in 1938 because it had no practical ability to do anything. The US military was pathetically small and not especially well equipped, either. I don't remember the exact figures, but the US Army was something like the 40th largest in the world, well behind even mediocre European powers. And what troops we had were on the wrong side of the Atlantic without the logistics necessary to bring them to Europe and support them when they got there.

The plain fact of the matter is that in 1938 the US couldn't have done anything about Germany by itself. Even if Roosevelt could have overcome domestic opposition to war- which was unlikely- he just didn't have the power to make it stick. The best the US could have done was serve as a junior partner to the UK and France.

Another point frequently overlooked on the Right is that one of the reasons Chamberlain and so many consevatives of the day did not confront Hitler was that they considered him the lesser evil compared to Stalin and wanted to play them off against each other. And, in fact, when you look at the two men's respective records in 1938, it seems like a perfectly reasonable assumption. Britain went to war, with Chamberlain still Prime Minister, when Stalin and Hitler figured out this game and refused to play it.

A bit off-topic, but not entirely, we have a lot of politically motivated vets coming home.

I love Belle & Sebastian too

Bend wins a t-shirt ;)

"I fondly remember the halcyon days of my youth when it was considered damming enough to compare Obama with Gov. Patrick Duval of Massachusetts...."

Thats was before we starting finding out about B. Hussein's background, you know everything the lib media has done in their power to hide.

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