by Rob Grace
The result of the Democratic primary should be no surprise. The victorious candidate strictly adhered to the propaganda techniques recommended by Hitler in Mein Kampf. The loser only dabbled in Hitler’s prescriptions, inconsistently employing the techniques that so well served her opponent.
At the height of the primary, the Obama/Clinton contest was reduced to a battle between two otherwise completely arbitrary words – “Change” and “Ready” – bringing to mind the following nugget of Mein Kampf wisdom:
The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.
Obama unveiled his slogan early, declaring in his candidacy announcement that “the ways of Washington must change” and “in the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it,” and “This campaign has to be about… realizing that few obstacles can withstand the power of millions of voices calling for change.” He hammered this point straight through to last Tuesday’s victory, when he declared that “Change is a foreign policy that doesn't begin and end with a war that should've never been authorized,” and “there are many words to describe” McCain, “but change is not one of them.”
Clinton kicked off her campaign without once using the word “Ready.” She began with a completely different message rooted in the fact that “the conversation in Washington has been just just a little one-sided lately,” distinguishing herself by declaring “Let the conversation begin.”
“Ready” developed over the course of 2007 as Obama emerged as her principal rival. The highlight was the summer of 2007, when Clinton dubbed Obama “irresponsible” and “naïve” and suggested he lacked rudimentary knowledge like “you shouldn't always say everything you think if you're running for president because it has consequences across the world.”
She pushed on well into 2008. Even while tearing up in New Hampshire, she repeated the familiar mantra:
Some of us are right and some of us are wrong. Some of us are ready and some of us are not. Some of us know what we are going to do on day one, and some of us haven’t thought that through enough…
Painting a moral dichotomy, she heeded Hitler’s following advice:
The function of propaganda is… not to weigh and ponder the rights of different people, but exclusively to emphasize the one right which it has set out to argue for. Its task is not to make an objective study of the truth, in so far as it favors the enemy, and then set it before the masses with academic fairness; its task is to serve our own right, always and unflinchingly.
After Super Tuesday, though, the slogan began to morph, and Clinton’s message suffered from the resulting diffuseness. She attacked Obama from various angles, tearing him down in ways that didn’t necessarily feed the “Ready” scheme, with detrimental effects predicted by Hitler when he wrote:
As soon as you sacrifice this slogan and try to be many-sided, the effect will piddle away, for the crowd can neither digest nor retain the material offered. In this way the result is weakened and in the end entirely cancelled out.
She began to neutralize her well-crafted morally dichotomic rhetorical framework, stating proudly:
…you know, no matter what happens in this contest -- and I am honored, I am honored to be here with Barack Obama. I am absolutely honored… Whatever happens, we're going to be fine.
Hitler specifically cautioned against this when he wrote:
As soon as our own propaganda admits so much as a glimmer of right on the other side, the foundation for doubt in our own right has been laid.
As Hitler predicted, the results of Clinton’s following attacks were weakened. When she exclaimed “Shame on you, Barack Obama,” the intended effect was cancelled out.
Even if Clinton had adhered to “Ready,” the strategy had a fundamental flaw. “Ready” functioned similarly to the Central Powers’ World War I propaganda, which Hitler condemned:
… [I]t was absolutely wrong to make the enemy ridiculous, as the Austrian and German comic papers did. It was absolutely wrong because actual contact with an enemy soldier was bound to arouse an entirely different conviction, and the results were devastating…
Similarly, Clinton struggled to explain Obama’s appeal in light of his alleged naiveté and unReadiness.
Obama’s strategy, on the other hand, mimicked the more successful Western Powers’ WWI propaganda that Hitler praised:
…[T]he war propaganda of the English and Americans was psychologically sound. By representing the Germans to their own people as barbarians and Huns, they prepared the individual soldier for the terrors of war, and thus helped to preserve him from disappointments. After this, the most terrible weapon that was used against him seemed only to confirm what his propagandists had told him; it likewise reinforced his faith in the truth of his government's assertions, while on the other hand it increased his rage and hatred against the vile enemy…
The Obama camp demonized Clinton, implicitly and explicitly painting her as a “monster” who was “stooping to anything.” Clinton’s anti-Obama attacks seemed only to confirm the notion that “She was running a 100% negative campaign,” which she was allegedly “all too comfortable with.” She apparently represented all about “Washington politics” that required “Change.”
Obama rode these tactics to electoral victory, just as the Western Powers rode them to military victory almost a century earlier. Clinton, however, fell victim to nearly every trap Hitler warned about, and now stands humbled in the shadow of her opponent’s victory.