Sowell compared Obama to Hitler, Mao, other dictators, and Jim Jones

Video ››› ››› ANDREW WALZER

Thomas Sowell's syndicated column compared Sen. Barack Obama to Bolshevik revolutionaries, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Jim Jones, and "[o]ther despotic regimes in China, Cuba, and Iran," all leaders who Sowell claimed resemble Obama in that they rose to power on a message of "change" or due to "inspiring rhetoric and a confident style" more than "specifics." Sowell also falsely claimed that Obama "was against a law forbidding physicians to kill a baby that was born alive despite an attempt to abort it."

In an October 22 syndicated column, Thomas Sowell compared Sen. Barack Obama to Bolshevik revolutionaries, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Jim Jones, and "[o]ther despotic regimes in China, Cuba, and Iran," all leaders who Sowell claimed resemble Obama in that they rose to power on a message of "change" or due to "inspiring rhetoric and a confident style" more than "specifics." Sowell also falsely claimed in the column that Obama "was against a law forbidding physicians to kill a baby that was born alive despite an attempt to abort it."

After claiming that "[s]ome of Senator Obama's most fervent supporters could not tell you what he has actually done," Sowell wrote: "The magic word 'change' makes specifics unnecessary. If things are going bad, some think that what is needed is blank-check 'change.' But history shows any number of countries in crises worse than ours, where 'change' turned problems into catastrophes." Citing the example of what happened in "czarist Russia," Sowell stated: "[T]hey went for 'change.' That 'change' brought on a totalitarian regime that made the czars' despotism look like child's play. The Communists killed more people in one year than the czars killed in more than 90 years, not counting the millions who died in a government-created famine in the 1930s." He added: "Other despotic regimes in China, Cuba, and Iran were similarly replaced by people who promised 'change' that turned out to be even worse than what went before."

Sowell then compared Obama to Jones, Hitler, and Mao, stating:

Yet many today seem to assume that if things are bad, "change" will make them better. Specifics don't interest them nearly as much as inspiring rhetoric and a confident style. But many 20th-century leaders with inspiring rhetoric and great self-confidence led their followers or their countries into utter disasters.

These ranged from Jim Jones who led hundreds to their deaths in Jonestown to Hitler and Mao who led millions to their deaths.

Later, purporting to provide one of the few "specifics ... we know about Barack Obama's track record," Sowell asserted: "We know that he was against a law forbidding physicians to kill a baby that was born alive despite an attempt to abort it." But in making this claim, Sowell misrepresented the legislation Obama voted against, a bill amending the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975 that Obama and other opponents said posed a threat to abortion rights and was, they said, unnecessary because Illinois law already prohibited the conduct being addressed by the bill.

Indeed, as Media Matters for America noted, when tasked by the Illinois attorney general's office with investigating allegations that fetuses born alive at an Illinois hospital were abandoned without treatment, the Illinois Department of Public Health reportedly said it was unable to substantiate the allegations but said that if the allegations had proved true, the conduct alleged would have been a violation of then-existing Illinois law.

From Sowell's October 22 column:

Of the four people running for president and vice president on the Republican and Democratic tickets, the one we know the least about is the one leading in the polls -- Barack Obama.

Some of Senator Obama's most fervent supporters could not tell you what he has actually done on such issues as crime, education, or financial institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- much less what he plans to do to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear nation supplying nuclear weapons to the international terrorist networks that it has supplied with other weapons.

The magic word "change" makes specifics unnecessary. If things are going bad, some think that what is needed is blank-check "change."

But history shows any number of countries in crises worse than ours, where "change" turned problems into catastrophes.

In czarist Russia, for example, the economy was worse than ours is today and the First World War was going far worse for the Russians than anything we have faced in Iraq. Moreover, Russians had nothing like the rights of Americans today. So they went for "change."

That "change" brought on a totalitarian regime that made the czars' despotism look like child's play. The Communists killed more people in one year than the czars killed in more than 90 years, not counting the millions who died in a government-created famine in the 1930s.

Other despotic regimes in China, Cuba, and Iran were similarly replaced by people who promised "change" that turned out to be even worse than what went before.

Yet many today seem to assume that if things are bad, "change" will make them better. Specifics don't interest them nearly as much as inspiring rhetoric and a confident style. But many 20th-century leaders with inspiring rhetoric and great self-confidence led their followers or their countries into utter disasters.

These ranged from Jim Jones who led hundreds to their deaths in Jonestown to Hitler and Mao who led millions to their deaths.

What specifics do we know about Barack Obama's track record that might give us some clue as to what kinds of "changes" to expect if he is elected?

We know that he opposed the practice of putting violent young felons on trial as adults. We know that he was against a law forbidding physicians to kill a baby that was born alive despite an attempt to abort it.

Person
Thomas Sowell
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Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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