On MSNBC, Jonah Goldberg claimed "you can draw a line" from Mussolini to Clinton and Obama

››› ››› BEN ARMBRUSTER

Discussing his most recent book on MSNBC's Morning Joe, National Review Online editor-at-large Jonah Goldberg said that Benito Mussolini is tied to the American liberal movement because he "was a socialist." When co-host Joe Scarborough asked whether he was suggesting "you can draw a line from Mussolini" to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton or to Sen. Barack Obama, Goldberg replied, "Well, I'm saying you can draw a line, but it's not a straight one."

On the January 10 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, discussing his book Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning (Doubleday, January 2008) with co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, National Review Online editor-at-large Jonah Goldberg said that Benito Mussolini is tied to the American liberal movement because he "was a socialist" and that "[t]he Nazis were the National Socialists" who "ran as socialists" and "said over and over again, 'We are socialists.' " Goldberg added that "in the 1920s, American progressives like at The New Republic, still around today, were objectively pro-Mussolini" and that "[y]ou had the founder of The New Republic defending Mussolini against his critics." Scarborough then asked Goldberg: "But you're not suggesting in this book though that you can draw a line from Mussolini to [Sen.] Hillary Clinton [D-NY] or Mussolini to [Sen.] Barack Obama [D-IL], are you?" Goldberg then replied: "Well, I'm saying you can draw a line, but it's not a straight one. It goes all sorts of different places. I'm not saying that today's liberalism is the son of Nazism or the son of Italian fascism. I'm saying it's sort of like the great-grandniece once removed." Goldberg added, "They have some common DNA, some common themes, some family resemblances that come up."

At the end of the interview, Scarborough asked Goldberg to appear again on the show, adding: "[T]his is fascinating and it deserves more than five minutes."

From the January 10 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

SCARBOROUGH: So explain your theory, because obviously, we've always heard that communism and socialism were the precursors to modern American liberalism post-war. How do you tie Mussolini to the liberal movement?

GOLDBERG: Sure. Well, part of the problem is that we now believe that fascism and communism are opposites, that they lie on the opposite ends of the political spectrum, and that's essentially the product of Soviet propaganda. Mussolini was a socialist. He said he was going to live to the end of his days as a socialist. He earned the label "Il Duce" as a socialist. The Nazis were the National Socialists. They ran as socialists. They said over and over again, "We are socialists." And what the reality is, is that fascism and bolshevism, which led to the Soviet Union, were both heresies of socialism. They were different kinds of socialism. One was international socialism, one was National Socialism.

And in the 1920s, American progressives like at The New Republic, still around today, were objectively pro-Mussolini. You had the founder of The New Republic defending Mussolini against his critics. You had Lincoln Steffens, you know, the famous muckraker, who goes to the Soviet Union and says, "I've seen the future, and it works." The year before, he went to Mussolini's Italy and said, "That place was the cat's meow." They did not see at the time that what Lincoln Steffens called "the Russian method and the Italian method," they called them the Russian-Italian method as if they were part and parcel of the same thing.

SCARBOROUGH: But you're not suggesting in this book, though, that you can draw a line from Mussolini to Hillary Clinton or Mussolini to Barack Obama, are you?

GOLDBERG: Well, I'm saying you can draw a line, but it's not a straight one. It goes all sorts of different places. I'm not saying that today's liberalism is the son of Nazism or the son of Italian fascism. I'm saying it's sort of like the great-grandniece once removed.

[laughter]

GOLDBERG: They have some common DNA, some common themes, some family resemblances that come up. But we also have them in the Republican Party today. I think compassionate conservatism is essentially a right-wing progressivism, and it's very scary which way that can go.

BRZEZINSKI: Oh my gosh.

SCARBOROUGH: We have certainly seen that. Jonah --

BRZEZINSKI: He's great.

SCARBOROUGH: -- thank you so much for being with us. NRO [National Review Online] is just, it is must reading every morning for me, and now I'm going to go out and buy the book with the smiley face and the Hitler mustache.

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, I'm glad I contributed to the interview for you.

SCARBOROUGH: I seriously am. I am gonna -- now, I didn't even want to get you in it, Mika. I just thought it would be safer that way.

BRZEZINSKI: Aw, that's really mean.

SCARBOROUGH: Jonah, can you come back sometime and talk to us about this?

GOLDBERG: I would love to come back.

SCARBOROUGH: OK, because we really -- this is fascinating and it deserves more than five minutes.

GOLDBERG: I can do the rank punditry or I can do the book, whatever you like.

BRZEZINSKI: I get the feeling, yeah, he's flexible.

SCARBOROUGH: We like it all. All right, Jonah, thanks a lot. Hey, good luck on the tour.

GOLDBERG: Thank you.

Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Jonah Goldberg
Show/Publication
Morning Joe
Stories/Interests
Propaganda/Noise Machine
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