Tuesday, May 06, 2008

History's Rhyme

In this post almost three years ago, when inflation and economic distress weren't exactly hot topics in the news, I drew parallels to another period in history when their destructive effects fed populist rage about "greedy money changers" and inspired a nation's collective madness.

During the past few days, one of this country's most popular leaders has emphasized her willingness to use nuclear weapons to "totally obliterate" another nation, ominously promised to "go right at OPEC", and -- yes -- railed against "Wall Street money brokers."

It's tempting to write all this off as silly-season pandering. But Hillary Clinton is nothing if not intuitive; she knows the fear and anger out there are not transitory by-products of the campaign trail or a specific candidate. In her say-anything drive to win, she's not only giving shape to the public's impulses, but legitimizing their worst manifestations -- thus the grudging respect from the titular Right, which has spent the last seven years trying to do the same thing. Regardless of who wins in November, I suspect future political and social historians will focus on the outbreak of a virulent, early twenty-first century strain of jingoistic populism in which latter-day lebensraum ("go right at OPEC") meets pitchfork-wielding townsfolk ("Wall Street money brokers") meets post-9/11 hysteria ("totally obliterate").

At least this time the newsreels won't be in black and white.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Wall Street money brokers"

One step away from blaming the Juden?

(I guess she is not advertising that her daughter works for a Wall Street hedge fund and that her biggest contributors come from Wall Street)

5/06/2008 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only will the newsreels be in color, they'll likely be in HD!

And yeah, this is pretty insane. We've now got two of three possible presidential candidates talking in ways that are not going to help make international relations better, especially in the middle east. Ugh.

5/06/2008 3:25 PM  
Anonymous NeilS said...

I don't think this is really all that new. What is new is the 'enemy'.

For most of the last half of the 20th century politicians have been railing against godless communisim. Conservatives lost their stride when the USSR imploded.

They have a second wind now that they have found a new enemy: islamofacism, whatever the hell that is.

5/07/2008 1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


100 years from now, the newsreels will probably be in 3D, and students in history classes will be falling asleep as their teacher struggles to make the 2D footage (color or no) relevant to them :)

5/07/2008 3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Wall Street money brokers"

One step away from blaming the Juden?

Not to worry. The Juden are fine with Ol' Hill. Her "obliterate Iran" talk is just code for "I'll do anything for Israel, regardless how damaging it may be to America."

5/08/2008 12:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the Hillary would just take on the Federal Reserve and the banking cartel then she would have my respect. The legalized theft through inflation via fractional reserve banking should have been abolished long ago.

5/08/2008 9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know if what I hear is representative of Americans in general but I've heard an awful lot of talk about how we should just take control of the Middle East oil.

I've also heard disappointment about the war in that we should have bombed Iraq back to the Stone Age, thereby conducting war as it should be fought.

Arabs and Persians seem to be the new Juden.

5/08/2008 10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leave it to Hilary Milhouse Clinton to fall back on her youthful roots.

5/09/2008 12:26 AM  

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