A new way to track the GOP crackup is to count the number of major Republican White House contenders who say that if you don't elect them America will become a fascist country. Amazingly, both Rick Santorum and Ron Paul did it this weekend. As Alec MacGillis notes, on Feb. 19 Santorum told a crowd of 3,000 at a Georgia megachurch,
Your country needs you. It’s not as clear a challenge. Obviously, World War II was pretty obvious. At some point, they knew. But remember, the Greatest Generation, for a year and a half, sat on the sidelines while Europe was under darkness, where our closest ally, Britain, was being bombed and leveled, while Japan was spreading its cancer all throughout Southeast Asia. America sat from 1940, when France fell, to December of ’41, and did almost nothing.
One day before, Ron Paul told a crowd of about 2,000 at Union Station in Kansas City, Mo., that "we’re slipping into a fascist system where it’s a combination of government and big business and authoritarian rule and the suppression of the individual rights of each and every American citizen." The next day Paul said much the same thing to CNN's Candy Crowley. The irony is rich, given that for years Paul allowed newsletters to go out under his name that attempted to build political support through the time-honored fascist method of stirring up racist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic hatreds.
Will Romney follow suit? Or will he act like some lily-livered northeastern moderate and say only that his campaign is about "saving the soul of America"?
I'd like to think that even Jonah "Liberal Fascism" Goldberg (currently vacationing in the president's home state of Hawaii, according to his Twitter feed; honestly, whatever happened to privacy?) finds all this talk unbecoming in anyone who seeks America's highest office. That's surely too much to hope for.