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Commentary Last Updated: Apr 20th, 2009 - 00:46:21

There is an answer to Obama=Hitler
By Laura Flanders
Online Journal Guest Writer

Apr 20, 2009, 00:10

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The presidential campaign had more than a smattering of it. The economic crisis is breeding lots more. Crazy talk comparing Barack Obama to Hitler went mainstream April 15th. It�s nasty and it could get worse, but there is something Barack Obama could do about it if he wanted to.

Last week on GRITtv, the Indypendent�s Arun Gupta talked about the Right�s April 15 �tea parties.� They tapped into real resentments, he said, but manipulated them in a racist way. Just as some mortgage-holders have become the scapegoats for all our economic woes and along the way the borrowers themselves have become �subprime� -- so too, President Obama�s is talked about as not really American, a closet Muslim, a �subprime� president. �There is racial code wording going on,� said Arun.

It was all over the signs at the April 15 rallies: �Obamanation.� �Hang Em High!� �Show us your real birth certificate.� The creepiest declared, �The American Tax Payers are the the Jews for Obama�s ovens.�

None of this is new. The Obama=Hitler comparison�s been out there since early in the presidential campaign. Rev James David Manning from Harlem sermonized on the topic back in June 2008 (there�s a clip on YouTube,) but Manning�s spew never received the Jeremiah Wright treatment; it got him invited onto right-wing radio instead. Some right-wing shock-jocks used their mikes to deliver almost daily diatribes questioning Obama�s religion and his citizenship. Now with Limbaugh in the limelight again, right-wing talkers are enjoying a bump and from fringe to middle is how this stuff moves -- with the help of powerful media.

There�s nothing like economic chaos to feed fear and anger. We know that much. And race-panic has always been an easy sell in the USA. Historically, those who want to divide and conquer unrest have always succeeded by dressing up racism and xenophobia as working-class solidarity.

There is an antidote. President Obama could put 5 million Americans on the federal payroll as FDR would have done; stop foreclosures on people�s homes. Stop federal and state job layoffs, and stop -- please stop -- those screw-us again schemes for unscrupulous bankers.

It�s clearly not his nature, but it better become Obama�s strategy. The best answer to fake working-class solidarity is the real kind.

The �F� Word is a daily commentary from Laura Flanders on GRITtv, seen daily on satellite, cable and public TV and online at

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