The Fourth Reich
Bloggers ponder Donald Rumsfeld's latest anti-fascist rhetoric and react to California's emissions cap.
The Fourth Reich: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld riled his critics by invoking the failed pre-World War II struggle against Nazism in a discussion of the "new type of fascism" allegedly facing America. Speaking to the American Legion in Salt Lake City, he suggested that "many have still not learned history's lessons" and "believe that somehow vicious extremists can be appeased."
"This is a speech that should have been given long ago, by the President himself," writes conservative blogger Sister Toldjah, who approves the fascism analogy: "They're not just interested in hurting and killing the 'infidels' - they're interested in forcing people to convert to Islam, and on an even bigger scale, turning democratic Western nations into Islamic states. That is what fascism is." But liberal blogger Lori at Truth & Progress considers the speech a desperate move by Republicans afraid of losing their majority: "When you can't use logic and reality, the rhetorical tools of shame and fear are all you've got."
The Associated Press originally reported that Rumsfeld "accused" his critics of appeasement, but an edited version of the story is more carefully worded. Conservative bloggers maul the AP for getting it wrong the first time. McQ at QandO compares the speech and the AP report side by side and marvels at the rest of the media's credulity: "CNN repeats the story unedited and obviously, unchecked. Forbes as well. Ditto for ABC and Fox. And you wonder how myths and memes get started?"
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann responded to Rumsfeld's remarks with a six-and-a-half-minute soliloquy of his own, flipping the SecDef's historical analogy and comparing the Bush administration to Neville Chamberlain's England: "It knew that the hard evidence it received, which contradicted its own policies, its own conclusions — its own omniscience — needed to be dismissed."
Steven D at the liberal blog Booman Tribune calls Olbermann's commentary "a seminal event in broadcast journalism history," while AllahPundit at Michelle Malkin's video blog HotAir deems it an "instant classic of nutroots porn" that exemplifies "one of the fringe left's favorite delusions, the notion that pretending the threat doesn't exist is the bravest and most effective way of fighting it. In the Olberverse, Russ Feingold is Winston Churchill."
Cassandra at Villainous Company takes issue with Olbermann's historical allusion: "First of all, the Bush administration has made no attempt to silence its critics. None of them have been carted off to Gitmo, locked up in airless cells, nor had their inner Korans flushed. On the contrary, they have talked - nonstop, it often seems - for five years." Olbermann's analogy strikes Michael van der Galien at The Moderate Voice as nearly as absurd as Rumsfeld's speech. "To compare Chamberlain to Bush / Rumsfeld is so completely ridiculous that I think someone told him that Democrats should 'give the Republicans a piece of their own'. He took that a little bit too literally."
Passing gas laws: California's legislature is close to approving an emissions cap that would cut statewide greenhouse gas pollution by 25 percent to reduce it to 1990 levels by 2020. Bloggers wonder if the rest of the country will follow.
John Whitehead at Environmental Economics fears that businesses may just "leave high regulatory cost California and relocate their factories in 'pollution havens' elsewhere, much like the effect of state air and water quality regulations before they were federalized in the 1970s." Treehugger's Alex Pasternack isn't panicking: "Okay, but if such caps inspire other states--and the national government--to follow suit, there will be nowhere for the greenhouse gas emissions to go but down."
Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.