THE BLOG

Europhobia

03/04/2009 08:03 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Washington, DC -- As the Obama administration begins moving America forward, the screams of anguish from its opponents are becoming a tad hysterical. There was George Will's stunningly inaccurate attack on Energy Secretary Steve Chu, in which Will claimed that Chu, who has a Nobel Prize (something that Will, so far as I know, has yet to earn), was misrepresenting climate science by saying that global warming could melt most of California's icepack. Will's flat-earth argument -- there hasn't been any global warming!

When thousands of student climate activists came to Washington to push for adoption of President Obama's call for doing something -- now -- about climate change, Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe and Fox News both claimed that the big snowstorm that arrived at the same time was proof that global warming was a hoax.

And, at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the self-proclaimed leader of the Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh, reiterated his belief that Barack Obama is trying to destroy freedom in America and that he wants the president to fail:

"What is so strange about being honest and saying, I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation? Why would I want that to succeed?"

(One of the hot sessions at CPAC was "The Real Cost of Global Warming Hysteria," where Inhofe claimed, among other choice tidbits, that Mars suffers from global warming too, "in spite of its lack of SUVs.")

Socialism is back as an attack term -- which, if you look at the superlative capitalist credentials of Obama's economic team, is more than a little funny. Tim Geithner and Larry Summers are now socialists?

What are these folks so afraid of? Revealingly, before the election, the reactionary right was desperately raising money to stop Barack Obama by claiming that if he was elected he would, yes, turn the United States into -- France and Germany. How? Well, for starters, by making it easier for workers to join unions with the Employee Free Choice Act. Bernie Marcus, who founded Home Depot, claimed that doing so would be the end of the country. "This is the demise of a civilization," said Marcus. "This is how a civilization disappears. I am sitting here as an elder statesman and I'm watching this happen and I don't believe it." He asked for corporate donations of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars to prevent America from turning "into France."

Billionaire hotel magnate Sheldon Adelson chimed in by saying that "radical Islam and employee free choice are the two fundamental threats to society."(Adelson may not have realized that at least one way of reading his quote is that he would like to bring back indentured servitude. I thought conservatives were in favor of freedom.)

"Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff," said former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. "The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics may be dead, but a Union of American Socialist Republics is being born."

The cofounder of Crate and Barrel declared that "America will be like Germany and France." And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell lamented, "If you want to turn America into Europe, there is nothing faster."

Now back when France was opposing the invasion of Iraq it was understandable that the Bush administration's allies desperately wanted to denigrate France. But Germany? All of Europe? These are countries that Americans spend billions of dollars just to visit as tourists! They are centers of thriving capitalism.