A month into his reign that began on January 30, 1933, things are not going so well for Adolf Hitler. He has already made his first roundups, of known Communists and left-wing labor leaders. But, the Depression is still on, he still has Reichs President Paul von Hindenburg to deal with, the army is on the fence (in fact, many of the Old Prussians can’t stand the “Little Corporal,” an enlisted man and an Austrian to boot), and there is still a functioning Reichstag (Parliament) to deal with. It does not have the Communist elected deputies, but does have enough Socialists and other Nazi-opponents to deny him the two-thirds majority he needs to change the Constitution. What to do?
He gets a half-wit ex-Communist to either really set the fire or let himself get set up as the scapegoat. He blames everything on the “Communist terrorists.” He then manipulates the remaining membership of the Reichstag in his favor by scaring off some of the Socialists who are still there and intimidating a few other opponents, and gets the “Enabling Act,” giving him dictatorial powers, passed by the two-thirds vote it needs, since it is a Constitutional amendment. The rest is history.
In 2000, the U.S. Right-Wing and their industrial partners such as Big Oil and the military-industrial complex, succeed in getting a President in place, by a one-vote election-theft. But by the spring of 2001, there are problems: 1) They know that their man didn’t really win, and further, he is a minority President (a fact the media have completely ignored. Interesting: the Nazis never got more than 37% of the vote in any open election in pre-Nazi Germany.) 2) Their guy is a weakling (just like Hindenburg was). 3) There is a recession underway. 4) They have lost control of the Congress through the defection of Sen. Jim Jeffords.
Since that happened, none of their programs, from energy/environmental policy to more tax-cuts for the wealthy and the large corporations, are going through. 5) They had been able to fend off the implementation of a moderate Democratic agenda during the Clinton years (and even such a moderate agenda is thoroughly inimitable to their goals) because of the never-ending War on Clinton. But the country liked his program and his politics, and there is no guarantee that the next Democratic President would be so uniquely attackable, because of his/her personal foibles, as was Clinton. Their man would likely last just four years, unless the ballgame was changed entirely.
What to do? Meet their needs, of course. At what cost? At whatever cost, just as long the whole thing is kept secret. The needs to be met included the following: 1) Replacing a weak chief executive with a strong one, either literally or functionally. 2) Finding an excuse for the recession, so that this one wouldn’t get blamed on this Bush and the Republicans, as was the last one. 3) Bypassing or having a compliant Congress on important measures (since they couldn’t possibly win votes on stuff such as invading Afghanistan to secure a route for the oil pipeline from the Caspian to the Arabian Sea through Pakistan that Cheney was working on, or securing major, retroactive tax cuts for the large corporations, or trashing the environment). 4) Being able to ignore the judiciary (which, despite their efforts since the Reagan years, still had some judges who know what the Constitution is). 5) Eliminating Constitutional rights by Presidential decree, but even more important, establishing that the President could commit such a revolutionary act by decree. 6) Giving the President the possibility of presiding over a “permanent war” against terrorism. And so, how nice for them and the person who now more and more it seems was their real President, Cheney, that the 9/11 tragedy just “happened” to come along, explicit warnings beforehand or no.
And so. A Chancellor in trouble, with what would have been declining poll numbers, and the Reichstag Fire “happens.” A President in trouble, with known declining poll numbers and 9/11 “happens.” And now we have another President in trouble with declining poll numbers. This one is being savaged by both the Left and the Right. So what does he do, what will he do? A Reichstag Fire and dictatorship? Hardly likely. A 9/11 and getting as close to a dictatorship as possible, only to fail in the end? Hardly likely. Fight on as best he can to deal with the major foreign and domestic policy issues he faces, many of them presented to him on a platter all tied up in a neat bow by the Georgites. President Obama simply will try his best to solve the problems he is presented with in some responsible way.
Will his solutions in certain cases and failed attempts in others be perfect in anybody’s eyes? Hardly. First of all he has a thoroughly united thoroughly disloyal opposition that is not only desperate to have him fail but also is doing everything it can to ensure that outcome. Second of all, he does not have a united party behind him. Third of all, like every American politician, he is beholden to certain major sectors of the U.S. Power Elite and thus can only do so much even if he wanted to do more (and he might not, to be sure). Fourth of all, we do not know, and neither does he, what booby traps have been set for him by the Georgites in every Federal government agency, from the CIA to the Department of Agriculture. But we can rest assured that there will be neither a Reichstag Fire nor a 9/11 (at least of his setting) and that establishing a dictatorship is not on his agenda. For that, my friends (and you know who you are) we should all be thankful.
This column is based in part on a column of mine “On the Reichstag Fire and 9/11” published on June 3, 2004 on The Political Junkies.net.
Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor of 30 books. In addition to being a Columnist for Buzz Flash, Dr. Jonas is also a Contributing Author for TPJmagazine; a Featured Writer for Dandelion Salad; a Special Contributing Editor for Cyrano’s Journal Online; a Contributing Columnist for the Project for the Old American Century (POAC); and a Contributor to The Planetary Movement.