Huffpost Politics
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Brian Ross Headshot

Apparently, You CAN Fool All of the People All of the Time

Posted: Updated:

Obama is a fascist, socialist, commie pervert who will spread Nazistic Communist Socialism throughout America by way of his black helicopters on loan from the UN and he is not really the president, being a foreigner and all, now is he?

Health care is the first major test of the better-educated center attempting to take the country's future back from the largely ignorant, largely Southern fringe who were manipulated by a handful of smart and ill-intended Republicans and their puppeteers from the Big Money special interests into doing their bidding over the last twenty years.

They use conventional media outlets and the Internet to try to retain control of the power that largely white, largely Northeastern power brokers have enjoyed for more than two centuries, by energizing scared white folk afraid of losing their grip on power to the black 'foreign' guy in the White House.

91 percent of the 2600 or so yahoos at ConservativeHQ.com polled seem to think that Obama is either a Nazi or a Communist, or both. It is not scientific, but hey, these folks do not believe in science, so vote away!

Small polls from right wing sources like America's Watchtower show the Obama-Socialist connection at 68 percent, to a Newsmax.com web poll with about 32,000 respondents calling Obama a Socialist at 84.95 percent.

The more sane and scientific AP Poll, which does not allow for yahoo-stuffing of ballot boxes on the web, shows that, as of the end of July, 2009, only 6 percent of the public would describe Obama as "liberal," with fewer than that, less than 3 percent, labeling him as a Socialist.

They are a vocal 3 percent, though. Last week ThinkProgress.org reported:

Approximately 91 percent of weekday talk radio programming is conservative, and just nine percent is progressive. However, "43 percent of regular talk radio listeners identify as conservative, while 23 percent identify as liberal and 30 percent as moderate."

Everywhere snake-oil hucksters are peddling bootlegged Bigot Bourbon: A fear-inducing blend of white-power paranoia and a barrage of ads and editorials on everything from health care to the appointment of Mark Lloyd, who wrote "The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio," to the Chief Diversity Officer/Associate General Counsel post at the FCC.

Even major publications like Investors Business Daily, which makes the conservative Wall Street Journal look positively liberal, are whipping up tasty innuendo souffles for the ignorant.

A long editorial entitled "Barack Obama's Stealth Socialism," the first in a series of op-ed pieces painting Obama as a Socialist, is filled with the same kind of garbage innuendo reporting that was around during the campaign:

"In his latest memoir he shares that he'd like to "recast" the welfare net that FDR and LBJ cast while rolling back what he derisively calls the "winner-take-all" market economy that Ronald Reagan reignited (with record gains in living standards for all)."

The white-power angst intensifies as he states:

"Obama doesn't stop with socialized health care. He wants to socialize your entire human resources department -- from payrolls to pensions. His social-microengineering even extends to mandating all employers provide seven paid sick days per year to salary and hourly workers alike."

and:

"The seeds of his far-left ideology were planted in his formative years as a teenager in Hawaii -- and they were far more radical than any biography or profile in the media has portrayed."

The editorial features paragraph after paragraph of guilt-by-association innuendo similar to the Bill Ayers attacks of the campaign:

"After college, where he palled around with Marxist professors and took in socialist conferences "for inspiration," Obama followed in Davis' footsteps, becoming a "community organizer" in Chicago.

His boss there was Gerald Kellman, whose identity Obama also tries to hide in his book. Turns out Kellman's a disciple of the late Saul "The Red" Alinsky, a hard-boiled Chicago socialist who wrote the "Rules for Radicals" and agitated for social revolution in America."

IBD's editor did report the findings of the AP poll near the bottom of the piece, but it is buried in dozens of embellishments so deep that it appears as an insignificant attempt at balance.

This is the most mainstream, non-Fix-News rant of hundreds of these, fear-inspiring falsehood features found from the thousands circulating out in the digital ether.

For a country with compulsory education to the 12th grade, you would think that we would not be, as a people, so damn ignorant in the 21st century.

You can teach people that two-plus-two is four, but Ann Coulter can write a book saying that it is five, with some fanciful tale of demonic liberals changing the math curriculum to keep you from reading the Bible, and you will find millions of Americans who let their beliefs bypass fact correcting their kids homework and attending PTA meetings histrionically demanding new textbooks.

P.T. Barnum's famously cynical thought on Americans, "There's a sucker born every minute," and H.L. Mencken's legendary quip, that ""[n]o one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public," still sadly hold true.

The Gallup organization reported in July of 1999 that 24 percent of those surveyed could not tell you which country we separated from during the War of Independence. 18 percent of Americans believe that the Earth revolves around the Sun.

In June of 1997, a CNN/Time poll found that 87 percent of people thought that the government was holding out on them regarding the truth about alien life forms visiting our planet.

Most stunningly, even after continual and concrete evidence has been laid out to put to rest the notion that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, more than half of Southerners polled believe that Obama is not a native citizen of this country.

The Birthers barely exist in the Northeast, with slightly more in the Midwest and West, but the numbers suggest that traditional racism and white power fears are alive and well in the South.

Trusted polling agencies like Gallup can put up polls like the one on August 20, 2009 which showed that, in spite of the commercials that tell you that the state will have the right to kill you, citizens in countries with universal health coverage are generally more satisfied than citizens in countries without universal health care.

There is a large segment of the population, though, that, no matter how well you document it, will not let a good fact get in the way of their fears.

We are a fear-driven culture. Generations of advertising has been worked around two things: Fear and desire. You can sell a cheeseburger or a car or lip gloss using desire. You sell erectile dysfunction, insurance, financial services and politics, traditionally, by using FUD, fear, uncertainty and doubt to motivate the public.

The forces opposing change barrage the airwaves with this fear mongering:

Most embarrassing is the sheer ignorance we display on health care. Watch this BBC report debunking the lies about British National Health for the Americans interviewed at town halls, and their comments:

Obama is trying something which has not been seen since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: An appeal using information and inspiration, not fear.

Many people think they know FDR's famous quote rallying Americans to put aside their fears in an Inaugural Address, but in its totality, its wisdom is as important today as it was then:

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

To advance, we have to put aside our fears.

If the special interests win this round, they will be back, and change will be dead.

Unfortunately, they have both the money to get out their message, and the Pavlovian conditioning of generations of Americans on their side.

Register To Vote