Film director and totalitarian exile Milos Forman, unloading in the NY Times, has had enough of the right's Soviet-like propaganda machinery, its brutal torture of language, and its potentially catastrophic consequences:
I hear the word "socialist" being tossed around by the likes of Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and others [my emphasis, but note Forman's gentle omission]. President Obama, they warn, is a socialist. The critics cry, "Obamacare is socialism!" They falsely equate Western European-style socialism, and its government provision of social insurance and health care, with Marxist-Leninist totalitarianism. It offends me, and cheapens the experience of millions who lived, and continue to live, under brutal forms of socialism....
[T]he noisy dissonance might become loud enough to wake another Marx, or even worse.
What I find most disturbing about the modern American right--and from what I read of Forman, I think he would agree--is less the right's irresponsible extremism than its extremely irresponsible tactics. By "modern" I mean an era that spans back to Joe McCarthy, who, like Gingrich, Hannity et al, reveled in portraying domestic liberalism as a conspiracy of international socialism. So, from Gingrich (and gently omitted others) to McCarthy there is an unmistakable continuity; however from McCarthy to Gingrich we've experienced a ghastly acceleration of tactical organization and execution.
McCarthy & Co. had in its camp those of the Bircher mentality and a scattering of "wireless" weirdos and in time the McCarthy-sound-alike National Review; but this continent now brims with rightist radio and a coast-to-coast cable Pravda and counterfeit think tanks and a bottomless, villainous money machine willing to spend whatever it takes for it to take, and take more, and in time take it all.
What's more, this extremist collectivity has yet to repel from any dishonorable cliffs or discover any wholly dishonorable boundaries; which is to say, it seems willing to say absolutely anything. Obama is not merely a European-style "socialist"--he's a Stalinist, a Hitlerite, a dark Ledger-like Joker, a death-panelist, a Bhagavad Gita destroyer of worlds. He is not of America, he is un-American, he is anti-American, he hates America ...
The evidence? Obama saved our auto industry, expanded healthcare access, and wants the ultra-wealthy to pay about 50 percent less in marginal taxes than they did under the Eisenhower administration.
Would any of today's right-wing squalor have been beneath Joe McCarthy? Certainly not, although at least the heroic tail-gunner required a few blasts of bourbon and branch water before achieving maximum lunacy, whereas the contemporary right appears gleefully capable of abject unhingement, stone sober. And, as noted, they all sing in unison, and their noise is inescapable.
Of the right, Forman asks too much: "All I am asking is that every player keep in mind the noble melody of our country."