Barack Obama and Howard Dean are far from ordinary people, or ordinary Democrats. One was the chairman of the Democratic Party and, before that, governor of Vermont. The other is currently the president of the United States. Hopefully, you already knew that.
But you may not have seen what both have said about Republicans recently. It’s crazy.
PowerLine has a video of a Howard Dean speech from last week. In the speech, Dean rants that the Republicans have “sold out” the country, and then rails against voter ID laws (which about 70% of Americans support). Dean says of Republicans, “They are not American!” He says Republicans are “more comfortable in the Ukraine, or Russia and should stay away from our country!”
The crowd cheers him on, enthusiastically. Dean is poking and prodding and screeching to get their bloodlust up.
On Monday of this week, President Obama picks up where Dean left off. According to White House Dossier, the president was speaking at a fundraiser for congressional Democrats. He criticized Republicans in Congress for not doing everything he wants them to do. Here is what he said.
I hate to be blunt about it, but that’s the play. And, by the way, when I say a party has been captured, it’s because I actually want an effective, serious, patriotic, capable, sober-minded Republican Party. And we’ve had that in the past.
Dean: Republicans have sold the country and aren’t Americans. Obama: Republicans aren’t patriotic.
Obama’s and Dean’s messages are too consistent with each other to be considered slips of the tongue or cases of either man just getting carried away. They are talking from the same set of ideas, for the same purpose.
The comments come from two consequential figures who should not be ignored.
While their consistent message betrays desperation, as the Democrats are set to lose the Senate this fall, it also betrays vindictiveness.
This is a kind of othering that precedes pogroms. Dehumanize. Separate. Villify. And then…what?
Demagogues whip crowds into a frenzy, consciously manipulating them and building their rage and their wrath and their desire to act.
And then, what do the demagogues do with the mob they have set to boil?
Even if you’re a progressive, Dean’s and Obama’s comments should frighten you. They’re whipping crowds against Republicans today. What’s to stop them or someone else from coming after you tomorrow?
Related at Klavan on the Culture: Yowarrrgh!