“I would sooner vote for Josef Stalin than I would vote for Donald Trump,” said Mr. Boot, who expressed optimism that Mr. Trump could still be defeated.
I’d like to think that if either party nominated Stalin, I’d make the principled decision to support the other party’s candidate. Maybe I’m giving myself too much credit here.
But I don’t really understand why people talk about Stalin in the context of elections in democratic countries. Stalin was never democratically elected. He didn’t have to appeal to soccer moms or NASCAR dads.
You know who did rise to power in a democracy though? I defy you to read this and not think it sounds a lot like “Bush doesn’t really hate the gays” (when Rove did all the anti-marriage equality stuff in 2004) or “Trump won’t really deport 11 million people” (now) or “the GOP candidate won’t really add trillions to our deficit with that crazy tax plan” (every election of my lifetime).
Out of curiosity, I found the first NYT reference to Adolf Hitler. Nov. 21, 1922. Amazing last three paragraphs. pic.twitter.com/VhBnlSsfNm
— Jon Ostrower (@jonostrower) March 2, 2016
Uh, this is obviously bullshit.
I don’t believe the trains ran on time under Stalin. The ‘corrections’ industry was a ‘buy’.
I now realize my problem was being too honest with the people.
J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford
Saw that early this morning. Creepy.
The Republic, Blah Blah Blah...
Yeah, but if Stalin had to go that route, he would have appealed to both soccer dads AND NASCAR moms…
Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency in 1975. She was an elected leader too. Modi and his government is pushing the envelope right now in India, intimidating those dare to question the ruling party’s tactics and their version of India’s history and Hinduism.
“several reliable, well-informed sources” have been screwing us over for a long time.
I have a pretty entertaining book about Nikita Khrushchev’s visit to the US in the late 1950s called K Blows Top!. When they took a whistle-stop train tour up the West Coast, his American handler was shocked to see K acting like an old-fashioned politician — wading into the crowd, shaking hands, kissing babies, the whole nine yards. But Khrushchev wasn’t nearly as bad a guy as Stalin was (though he murdered his share of innocent people).
And it is in fact true that Khrushchev did want his wife and daughter to visit Disneyland, but the Secret Service didn’t have enough notice and felt they wouldn’t have been able to guard him properly. That would have been one hell of a photo op, though.
My thoughts exactly.
It did not last more than a couple of years.
I don’t see India going back down that path.
Too much diversity in India to be handled by a dictatorship, because enough people would be frozen out of power at some level that there’d be revolts that’d make the current mess in the Middle East look tame.
I remember that visit. Even though he didn’t get to visit Disneyland, he did spend a good chunk of one day on the set of Can-Can IIRC.
That article was published on my Dad’s fifth birthday. He was just the right age for WW2.
So it took Hitler longer, but then, he didn’t have the enthusiastic aid and assistance of today’s media.
Im not just drinking sweet wingnut tears these days; I’m bathing, showering and washing the dog in them.
@The Republic, Blah Blah Blah…:
Well Stalin understood, as John Ellis Bush and Katherine Harris later demonstrated in the 2000 Presidential election, that he who cast the votes doesn’t decide an election, the people who count the votes do.
I always had the impression that as far as a person who climbed the latter in a system like the USSR had he was a good as it got.
Hitler never won a free and fair election in Germany. His party never held a majority of Reichstag seats and he never won either the chancellorship or the presidency. His party actually LOST seats in the last election before he seized power.
What happened was the conservative government under Hindenburg was going to collapse, and the KPD (the Communists) were probably going to form the new government, so in order to co-opt the Nazi’s, Hindenburg used emergency powers to APPOINT Hitler chancellor. Then the Reichstag mysteriously caught fire and the Nazis beat up any socialist deputy who tried to attend Reichstag meetings.
This “Hitler won an election” meme is a zombie lie and a huge pet peeve of mine. He came to power “legally,” that’s the most that can be said.
@p.a.: Mussolini made the trains run on time. Stalin just had them all shot.
Obamas to remain in D.C. after presidency so daughter can finish high school
President Obama cast some light on his post presidency plans Thursday, telling lunch companions in Milwaukee that he plans to remain in Washington so that his youngest daughter can finish high school.
“We’re going to have to stay a couple of years so Sasha can finish. Transferring someone in the middle of high school — tough,” he said while eating lunch at a Milwaukee restaurant.
Beyond that? “We haven’t figured that out yet,” he said.
Sasha, 15, attends Sidwell Friends School in Washington. His elder daughter, Malia, is going off to college this year.
Obama’s remark was more definitive than his earlier statements on the matter. In 2013, Obama told ABC’s Barbara Walters that he might stay in Washington until Sasha goes off to college. “We gotta make sure that she’s doing well,” Obama told Walters. “Sasha will have a big say in where we are.”
Obama would be the first president not to leave Washington since Woodrow Wilson.
Have emergency managers ever worked?
Buried in the previous thread, sigaba found this article about NH “Veterans for Trump” co-chair who’s been arrested for his actions as a 2014 Bundybot.
With an admitted small helping of glee, I forwarded it to my NH bro, who immediately wondered why he isn’t a member of the legislature, but then noticed not only is his wife actually in the legislature, she’s batshit crazy.
Live Free or D’oh!
@Baud: It sorta depends on what you want them to do….
Poor choo-choos. :-(
@gene108: I don’t think BJP has the political power that she had in 1975. BJP doesn’t even control half the state governments at this moment whereas Congress controlled almost all the governments with may be one or two ruled by the Communists.
But the Sangh’s attempt to rewrite India’s history is troubling.
Steve in the ATL
So this Modi guy is a hardcore rightwinger. And who is his new BFF? That rep from Hawaii who just resigned from the DNC because she loves Bernie so much. And her family is notoriously conservative and racist. I wonder what’s really going on there.
Probably Khrushchev and Gorbachev were the best the USSR produced.
Anybody, who survived in Stalin’s inner circle had to be both very bold to get attention and very cautious, at the same time, as not to get on Stalin’s bad side.
If Stalin wanted you to stay up all night drinking, you stayed up all night drinking, telling jokes and making sure to laugh at Stalin’s, even if it wasn’t funny and even if you were drunk enough to start lowering your filters. You somehow had to find the resolve to keep calculating what you were saying and doing.
If Stalin wanted to make sure grains from Ukraine would be shipped to Eastern Europe, to help with the Eastern Bloc relief efforts, post-WW2, you damn well made sure those Ukrainian farmers didn’t get any funny ideas like taking a little bit of grain on the side to feed themselves and their families.
Stalin really set up a strange dynamic of forcing people to try and manage contradictory things simultaneously to stay on his good side.
@Steve in the ATL: Her mother is a Hindu convert, you know what they say about converts.
Steve in the ATL
So the Geneva Bible is the new Skousen Constitution?
Didn’t the Nazi’s hold office in Bavaria? They were a political party that did have some office holders and won some elections.
Really? Hitler and Trump are similar? OK, peak balloon-juice nutter? The systems and majority of people aren’t in the Germany mind set nor tradition. Not that isn’t interesting on how blind the anti-Semitic NYT writer was to Hitler but hardily relevant to tRump.
On the other hand, their are elements in this country that easily fit that profile but again, maybe 27% of the minority thug party – a small number compared to the US population but a very large number in absolute terms since it is measured in millions. Still, this country practiced full blown slavery (but through the State, not by individuals) until the 1940’s of blacks in the South (chain gangs by a system that preyed on young blacks and took millions over the decades from 1867 to the start of 1940.)
This country does have some very sick monsters who the thug party does all in its power to keep as voters. That is more scary than tRump and his honesty of changing the dog whistle into a loud speaker. That is what scares the elite – the mask will be torn and all rational people will see the truth of what they do to keep the elite in control of the uneducated, racist, and religious loons.
Iowa Old Lady
@rikyrah: I love the way he thinks of his family. A lot of powerful people are incapable of that.
I read a few books on Stalin a couple of years ago and I was stunned at how wildly incompetent that guy was at everything but seizing and keeping power in that country. He was like Dubya times 10, but with Gulags.
PS, I read recently where Khrushchev was proudest of changing the political system so if you were on the outs the worst that happened to you is that you ended up managing a 3rd rate factory in the boondocks.
@Baud: Those “several reliable, well-informed sources” were either naïve party apparachiks (who would be purged in the future) or true believers who ratf*ck the Press (some ex-pat drunk or ne’er-do-well) for shits and grins.
That story is in the book. The Khrushchev’s (husband and wife) were both a little shocked at the bare legs, but enjoyed meeting the movie stars. IIRC, at least one of their children ended up emigrating to the US, and possibly all of them.
They tell a story in the book about how Stalin loved to make Khrushchev — who was always short and fat — perform Russian dances in front of his other henchmen. K almost had the last laugh, though. He came very close to doing a major reform of the government and was deposed for his trouble.
@Steve in the ATL:
Not the same thing in India as it is here.
From what I gather, there is not as much difference on economic policy, between the two main national parties, Congress and the BJP.
The BJP is inspired as a political off-shoot of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which has had a checkered history in India’s past.
But as a ruling body, the BJP has not really pushed for to turn India into a Hindu nation, rather than a secular democracy.
@gene108: Yes, in fact they held political office all over Germany. (But, notably, Hitler never held any of these. The German system at the time allowed him to be a member of the Reichstag without having to win a constituent election, it was all party list proportional representation.)
But in the national legislature they never had more than about 40% of the seats (there’s that number again). Hitler refused to join a government unless he was made chancellor though, and the conservatives couldn’t hold a coalition together without him, so Hindenburg gave Hitler what he wanted in exchange for bringing the NSDAP into the government. As part of the deal several other Nazis got key posts– Goering became a minister without portfolio and the minister-president of Prussia, for example. (His office in the Prussian Interior Ministry had a secret tunnel to the Reichstag that became a point of suspicion subsequent to the fire.)
Hell, I’d vote for Stalin over Trump too. Dead authoritarians are way less hassle.
I read some books on Stalin a few years back.
He did one thing, at great expense, that really made him loved by most people and that is dig in and refuse to surrender to the Germans, but otherwise grabbing power was the only thing he did well.
He had no scruples.
Khrushchev was trying to thread a needle, when he took power.
He was trying to establish his legitimacy to the office, among the Soviet people, while trying to take some of the luster off of Stalin’s rule, without undermining the whole system.
He wanted to make changes, and did not want to be hamstrung by Stalinism.
@Napoleon: Try this
Milovan Đilas “Conversations with Stalin”
@Cermet: I agree it’s an obnoxious comparison.
But I’m personally a functionalist, which means among other things, that I don’t think it matters if Hitler really intended to kill all the Jews in 1922 or if he wanted to start a war to dominate Europe. His platform was enough to set in motion a chain of events that even if he’d wanted to stop it, which I’m certain he did not, he would not have been able to.
The problem is bigger than Donald Trump and would exist without him, though he bears responsibility for catalyzing the new dynamic. Once you get people talking about walls and roundup of foreigners, and nativist rhetoric and authoritarian populism, police states are just baked into the cake, regardless of what the guy at the top may have actually intended.
I don’t think Trump wants to be a strongman dictator, but it’s sort of like Life of Brian and how he never wanted to be the messiah. It doesn’t matter what you do or say, the idea when it gets into people’s heads has a life and imperatives of its own.
@gene108: Great subway stations though. Moscow metro rocks.
@Steve in the ATL:
I think this means that by the transitive property of politics* Bernie Sanders loves Narendra Modi.
*Also known as the Wasserman Schultz Theorem.
@gene108: Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse was an RSS member. Their ideology is a threat to India’s very existence. Mr. Modi is an RSS man, he was a pracharak.
I do agree there is no one-one correspondence between BJP and GOP, although there are similarities, especially with the religious right in this country.
You have an only partially accurate version of the events. Wiemar Germany had a fairly standard parliamentary system in which nobody expected for any single party to win an outright majority. Instead, they were expected to form a coalition of parties that could agree on enough issues to form a cabinet. After the elections in July of 1932, they couldn’t even get together a coalition, so Hindenburg kept a cabinet that ruled through emergency presidential decrees. That wasn’t a stable situation, and the chancellor was forced to ask for new elections to avoid a no confidence vote.
The Nazis were actually the top party in both the July and November elections. They weren’t able to form a coalition government after the July elections, but they were able to put a coalition together after the November election, and Hitler became chancellor. For all that Hindenburg gets criticized for letting the Nazis form a government, it’s hard to see what else he could have done. Between them, the extremist parties (Nazis and Communists) had enough seats in parliament that any majority coalition had to include one or the other, and they were going to keep forcing new elections until they either lost enough seats to do so or one of them got included. When anti-democratic parties hold a majority in parliament, it’s very difficult to keep democratic government going.
@gene108: I was scrolling to the bottom to write something along these lines. Stalin played an important role in sustaining the Soviet war effort, which was the reason Allies won. The relocation of industry to the Urals alone was a massive factor.
Also, to reply to your comment on the power dynamics of the USSR under Stalin, which I thought was really well put.
As for Khrushchev, he had a lot of blood on his hands from his role in the Holodomor alone. But it was a pretty blood-soaked lot.
@Napoleon: Read about Idi Amin sometime if you want real incompetence.
@Mnemosyne: Sergei Nikitich Khrushchev (Russian: Серге́й Ники́тич Хрущёв, born in July 2, 1935) is the son of former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. He now resides in the United States where he is a Senior Fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.
@gene108: Yup. Diebold understood that too.
At least Stalin had better hair than Trump.
Found this little nugget about the article:
@Waldo: Agreed. Very important to vet the VP thoroughly, though.
@gene108: Hitler’s party was a minority party, and Hitler himself was not elected to office. The inability of the parliament to form a coalition led to his appointment as chancellor. Since he wasn’t a member of the factions fighting for power (yeah, right) he could govern without bias. Sort of like Trump, a front runner but without a majority.
Paul in KY
@schrodinger’s cat: How the Hell can you ‘convert’ to Hinduism?! My understanding is that you are either born a Hindu or you are not.
No One You Know
@Bob Smith: In the last 24 hours I’ve received copies of a photo comparing common interests and views of Trump and Hitler. For once, “Godwin” does not seem appropriate.
Black swans are now Trumpeter swans.