Urging that “we've got to close the gap a little bit between the rhetoric and the reality,” President Obama stated during his January 29 question and answer session with House Republicans that “if you were to listen to the debate” over health care reform “you'd think that this thing was some Bolshevik plot.” Throughout Obama's administration thus far, conservative media have embraced such rhetoric, routinely attacking Obama's agenda as socialist, communist or fascist and telling audiences that Obama and health care reform are a threat to America itself.
Obama calls out GOP for outrageous rhetoric in health care debate
During the January 29 Q&A session with House Republicans, Obama stated, “You've given yourselves very little room to work in a bipartisan fashion because what you've been telling your constituents is, this guy is doing all kinds of crazy stuff that's going to destroy America”:
OBAMA: And so we were in the process of scrubbing this and making sure that it's tight. But at its core, if you look at the basic proposal that we've put forward: it has an exchange so that businesses and the self-employed can buy into a pool and can get bargaining power the same way big companies do; the insurance reforms that I've already discussed, making sure that there's choice and competition for those who don't have health insurance. The component parts of this thing are pretty similar to what Howard Baker, Bob Dole, and Tom Daschle proposed at the beginning of this debate last year.
Now, you may not agree with Bob Dole and Howard Baker, and, certainly you don't agree with Tom Daschle on much, but that's not a radical bunch. But if you were to listen to the debate and, frankly, how some of you went after this bill, you'd think that this thing was some Bolshevik plot. No, I mean, that's how you guys -- (applause) -- that's how you guys presented it.
And so I'm thinking to myself, well, how is it that a plan that is pretty centrist -- no, look, I mean, I'm just saying, I know you guys disagree, but if you look at the facts of this bill, most independent observers would say this is actually what many Republicans -- is similar to what many Republicans proposed to Bill Clinton when he was doing his debate on health care.
So all I'm saying is, we've got to close the gap a little bit between the rhetoric and the reality. I'm not suggesting that we're going to agree on everything, whether it's on health care or energy or what have you, but if the way these issues are being presented by the Republicans is that this is some wild-eyed plot to impose huge government in every aspect of our lives, what happens is you guys then don't have a lot of room to negotiate with me.
I mean, the fact of the matter is, is that many of you, if you voted with the administration on something, are politically vulnerable in your own base, in your own party. You've given yourselves very little room to work in a bipartisan fashion because what you've been telling your constituents is, this guy is doing all kinds of crazy stuff that's going to destroy America.
Conservative media frequently invoke socialism, communism, fascism to attack Obama's agenda
Media Matters for America has documented numerous instances in which conservative media invoked socialism, communism and fascism to vilify health care reform, president Obama and congressional Democrats. For example:
- Limbaugh's website claims of Obama: “His education plan is Maoist ... and he is otherwise a Bolshevik. ... [H]e would be a Stalinist if he thought he could get away with it”
- Beck on O'Reilly Factor: “We are really truly stepping beyond socialism and starting to look at fascism”; compares proposals to Nazi Germany
- Limbaugh orders that there be no compromise on health reform: “You don't compromise with socialists”
- Hannity: Obama administration is pushing “the single biggest power grab and move towards socialism in the history of the country”
- Limbaugh compares Obama health care plan to Nazi policies
- Beck: “I was wrong. Our government is not marching down the road towards communism or socialism... they're marching us to a brand of non-violent fascism... towards 1984”
- Limbaugh: “Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, also ruled by dictate”
- Beck says Obama can be considered a socialist, because Marxism and progressivism are “the same thing”
- Dick Morris' self-confessed conspiracy theory: Obama “wants his plan to fail...so that he can make the case for bank nationalization and vindicate his dream of a socialist economy”
- Days after decrying those who say Democrats are “trying to turn us into communist Russia,” Beck claimed Obama “has Marxist tendencies”
- Rush pulls out numerous smears to attack health care reform -- “Nazis,” “Cuba,” “totalitarian systems”
- In column criticizing health care reform, Cal Thomas invokes the Holocaust: “Great horrors don't begin in gas chambers”
- Limbaugh fearmongers about health-care reform: you will be sent to “some reeducation camp if you don't lose weight”
- Pat Robertson declares health reform bills “dangerous,” “rushed through” by president “with a socialist bent”
- Williams: Health reform proponents may not support Mao's murders, but they support that “level of government control”
- Limbaugh wants to be precise: “fascism is a more apt illustration of what Obama is establishing”
- In CNBC host Cramer's “U.S.S.A.”: “Comrade” Obama is a “Bolshevik” who is “taking cues from Lenin”
- NRO's Geraghty: Obama's health care plan is “really more Trotskyite in nature”
- Wash. Times invokes Nazism, publishes Hitler photo while criticizing health-care provisions in stimulus
- “Mr. Independent” Dobbs repeatedly smears Obama, progressives as “socialist”
- Quinn agrees with caller that Democrats “took over the country without firing a shot,” adds “so did Hitler”
- Savage: Obama “is a neo-marxist fascist dictator in the making”
- Quinn attacks “our undocumented president” who is “a communist”
- UPDATED REPORT: Conservative media push 75-year-old “socialized medicine” smear against health care reform
Conservative media assert that Obama, health care reform threaten America
Media Matters has also complied examples of conservative media asserting that Democrats and health care reform could destroy the United States"
- Limbaugh as truth-telling Obama: “So don't you understand, I'm in the process of destroying your country”
- Beck insists audience “must not allow” health care bill to pass, warns it would mean “the end of America as you know it”
- Limbaugh says Founders “rose up against a tyranny that is nothing compared to” health bill, liberalism is “un-American”
- Beck: Health care reform “is the end of the American Constitution”
- Limbaugh: “Human beings will die earlier than normal” under “freedom killing” and “life threatening” health-care reform
- Morris says “Obama will lose the Congress in '10. The problem is we may not have a country by then”
- Quinn: “Your republic died in November of 2008” in “a takeover by the 1960s Bolsheviks”
- Quinn on health care reform: “the end of the republic ... the final nail in the coffin of the individual, free human being”