Tuesday, September 8th, 2009
I have to credit my wife with this one: on her way home yesterday, she heard a talk show host railing against all the “czars” the Obama administration has appointed, and a caller offering a creative twist.
In case you missed it, this is one of today’s more popular conspiracy theories: the Obama administration is appointing a record number of czars, conspiracy enthusiasts – a car czar, an energy czar, a manufacturing czar, a green jobs czar and so on. Their conclusion: the president is planning to assume dictatorial powers.
I kid you not; I get email about this stuff every day, along with almost daily notes from a very earnest lady who offers Biblical explanations for why President Obama is the Antichrist, or the Beast of Revelation, or Satan himself, I can never quite keep it straight.
Of course subscribers to the czar conspiracy theory miss the point that the “czar” title is a creation of the press, not the administration, and that these high-level advisers are just that – advisers, who report to the president, just like the senior advisers of past presidents.
But hey, why let a trivial detail like that get in the way of a good conspiracy theory?
Anyway, the caller was agreeing just how terrible this whole czar business is, and then added this: “There’s something almost Soviet about it.”
No kidding. Soviet czars.
Turns out the idea of communist czars is widespread in wingnut territory. Some of the czars, we learn in the conspiracy media, are proud socialists, like Carol M. Browner, the assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change. Others, we learn, are advocates of mass sterilization and compulsory euthanasia. I’m suspecting fluoridation will get into the discussion sooner or later, and maybe Area 51.
In the almost -as-crazy department, a local Washington area school district is one of many that has decided to give parents the right to opt their kids out of hearing Obama’s speech on Tuesday, when he plans to urge school children to stay in school and study hard – subversive ideas if I’ve heard heard any. The implication of the school policy: listening to this president could somehow infect their kids with dangerous ideas.
Agree with his policies or not, it’s hard to imagine why Obama should be singled out this way only nine months into his administration. That great socialist Ronald Reagan made similar addresses; so did the first President Bush.
Nuttiness may be the most charitable answer.
I’ve written critically about those in the Jewish community who don’t just think Obama’s Mideast policies are wrong, but that he hates Israel and is part of a conspiracy to destroy it.
Guess what: it’s not just the Jews.