Obama as the Joker and Nancy Pelosi as a Nazi

S-STROLLER-large No to fascism!

Where do you bring a poster that says this?

  • To protest a march of Nazis through a Jewish neighborhood?
  • To protest a convention of Holocaust deniers?
  • To protest Adolf Hitler?

Well, no. If you’re part of the psychologically unhinged far right in 21st century America, you bring it to Democratic congresswoman, and Catholic mother of six, Nancy Pelosi’s townhall meetings! You see, you do this because you’ve come to believe that the party of Roosevelt (you know, the guy who led the United States in World War II against fascism ) is actually a fascist party. (Or socialist. You actually are a bit confused about this. But you just know it’s really, really bad. Glenn Beck said so.) 

Oh, and if you are part of the Republican base you apparently are also likely to believe that America’s Democratic Party has given us a Kenyan-born zombie cannibal with a blood smeared mouth for president! No, I’m not kidding. Look:


This poster is popular  among Republican media sources. And what has fueled this outrageously divorced from reality perception? Health care insurance reform! Here’s Andrew Sullivan’s summary of health care insurance reform:

Here is what we are debating: should we demand that insurance companies provide policies to anyone regardless of pre-existing conditions? Should we help the working poor buy that insurance with subsidies? Are competitive exchanges for health insurance S-STROLLER-large a good or bad thing? Would a public option or a co-op help bring down healthcare costs? Does it make sense for the government to study the effectiveness of various treatments as a guide for doctors? These are all worth debating – and if you break it down into these questions, a majority would back them.


This is the Trojan Horse of fascism—health care insurance reform? And Nancy Pelosi is a Nazi, and Barack Obama is the Manchurian candidate? Isn’t the logic of such rhetoric violence upon the objects of the rhetoric? And aren’t we starting to see such violence—from the recent shoot-up of the Holocaust Museum, to the murder of an abortion doctor in a church, to the hostility of townhall disrupters? Ultimately, you can’t actually let Hitler live, can you? You’ve got to do something about it, right? If you really, really believe that Hitler has come to power, you stop him. And you’re a hero for stopping him, right?


Don’t you know that at this very minute, somewhere in America, there are unhinged right-wingers feeding on a steady diet of Obama demonology fantasizing the murder of the president? And you don’t think that the rest of us should be outraged at this sort of disproportionate rhetoric—and its normalization  among the Republican base?


About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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17 Responses to Obama as the Joker and Nancy Pelosi as a Nazi

  1. jonolan says:

    Santi, Santi, Santi…

    Overall in American society this sort of behavior was normalized by the Democrats during GWB’s 1st term. By the end of his 2nd term it had it reached the point of desensitization.

    Is it any wonder that the trend has continued?

    …And Palin’s getting the same treatment from the Left: http://images.starcraftmazter.net/4chan/political%20satire/us08/palin_nazi.jpg

    If you want to be outraged, be outraged over the underlying situation, not just over its use against Obama. 😉

  2. The Real FASCISTS are people like Dick Armey and Rick Scott who are resorting to mob violence to disrupt the democratic process.

    The right-wing fascists are now using Hitler-like tactics to subvert the democratic process.

    See my post too: http://christianliberal.wordpress.com/2009/08/07/scripted-right-wing-violence/

    • jonolan says:

      That’s a funny article you cite, since its source material doesn’t support your position.

      The Tampa “incident” was raucous but non-violent, except for the SEIU – read Left, not Right – members pushing people away from the door of what WASN’T a Town Hall but was instead a closed door meeting between the Congresswoman and the union.

      The St. Louis incident was a case where SEIU union members attacked one of those supposedly “angry, violent mob” types who was passing out flags and beat him to the ground.

      So “right-wing fascists are now using Hitler-like tactics to subvert the democratic process?” I think you need to rethink that premise.

  3. santitafarella says:


    In your response to “Christian Liberal” you made a distinction between the raucous and the violent, and I share that distinction. I agree that the townhalls, for the most part, are more raucous than violent, though I would also insist that you can’t have a rational and calm debate or discussion of much of anything in an environment where more heat than light is being generated, and thus where thinking and dialogue is made virtually impossible. This is not good for democracy. It’s ironic that conservatives who supposedly revere the founding fathers would treat reason and measured response with so much dismissal. Hamilton and Jefferson would regard contemporary Republicans as unbalanced hysterics.


  4. santitafarella says:


    With regard to Bush, I agree that the left turned the rhetorical heat on him to HIGH. But I’m saying that conservatives ought not to use this as an excuse to run the dial to the max on Obama in his first six months in office. If conservatism means anything, it would seem to me to be a commitment to reason and measured response in the face of change—a reluctance to radicalism. I really think that contemporary conservatism is not really conservative at all. I can barely imagine, for example, William Buckley or Edmund Burke or Russell Kirk endorsing such nutty conservatism as we see today.

    I think that David Frum’s website is an example of someone who is a conservative of the old school. Someone who is intellectual and calm. The populist conservatism of the red meat heartland strikes me as something completely different.


    • jonolan says:

      It’s really not a political issue; it’s a societal one. Think of it as cultural inertia. Once the public rhetoric starts down a path, it tends to continue down it.

      The Liberals raised the “rhetorical heat” and normalized very cruel depictions of politicians (GWB) and now that trend continues.

  5. santitafarella says:


    I can’t share your view that liberals “started it” (monsterous propaganda depiction). Demonic and monsterous propaganda posters go way back (historically). Republicans have never been too nice to Gore and Clinton, and I remember a Reagan vampire poster circulated by the Left in the 1980s. You can see demonological propaganda all through the 20th century. Hitler made it for Jews (for example). My point is that demonological projection onto the “other” can readily turn to violence towards that “other.” And so my question is this: Do you want to participate in such gestures, or sanely disavow them? I know they work, and left and right use them, but if Obama is assassinated, do you want to have been one of the people stoking the climate that led to the first African American president’s death? I don’t know how I could live with myself, thinking that I contributed to an unjust climate of paranoia surrounding Obama in the name of political tit-for-tat, and then waking up one day to learn he’s been shot. Isn’t restraint and intellectual proportion, and paying attention to historical circumstances, in accord with conservative values?


  6. jonolan says:


    Not everyone – or even most people – who engage in demonizing someone do it for “political tit-for-tat.” Many, especially in the case of Obama, do it in an attempt to save this country from him and his agenda.

    Isn’t restraint and intellectual proportion, and paying attention to historical circumstances, in accord with conservative values?

    Yes it is. It isn’t in accord with Obama’s values though. His reckless assault on core concepts and systems within America is being railroaded far too fast for any reasoned response or discussion.

    You keep bringing up this “Six Months” things, as if the rapid rise of hatred for Obama’s policies and agenda is proven by this to be racist.

    Name another President who has attempted to change so much and so quickly – much of it without even time to read the legislation in question.

    I’ll be cruelly blunt – if Obama gets assassinated, it’ll be as much his own fault as it will the killer’s.

    Will I be happy about it though? No. The potential fall-out from it seems counter-productive.

  7. santitafarella says:


    Your ideological purity on this is interesting. You’ve really got the “spell” that Obama is an existential threat to the nation. As someone who considers himself a moderate liberal, I haven’t seen anything come out of Obama’s first six months that is more than gradualist liberalism and the ho-hum of bourgeoise democracy. He hasn’t even gotten rid of “don’t ask don’t tell” yet. That’s one I want to see before his first term is over. The hysteria button that’s been pushed on the right looks to me like a form of craziness. Interesting how perceptions differ.

    Cap and trade, health care insurance reform, the economic bailout in a time of deep recession based on Keynes’s economic ideas—this is the stuff of any liberal or moderate administration. I think that the right is living in dreamland. Beware believing your own propaganda. Irony, please.

    Oh, and I must say that it was sick of you to imply that Obama could in any way, shape, or form be half at fault in his own murder. You have completely lost your sense of decency and proportion if you really believe that our first African American president (and as wonderful a man as Obama is personally) could in any way deserve death for his moderate to liberal politics.


  8. jonolan says:

    You can no more see Obama as I do than I can see him as you. This is exemplative of the ideological divide between the residents of America.

    You might want to consider that divide when deciding to ascribe motive to disaffection and hate.

    As for Obama having to share the blame if he get’s killed – A dozen or more states, including Hawaii, with State Sovereignty bills passed into law or in the progress of such, talk of secession, hundreds of thousands if not millions of very angry Americans, etc… Like it or not, Obama is the single most divisive POTUS in American history – in just six months. Six. Months.

    Yeah, he’d have to share the blame, for his folly and hubris if nothing else.

    I believe the 44th person elected as President of the United States is a dire danger to the ongoing welfare of the nature. Sadly, he’s Black which raises a whole other set of issues regarding opposing and/or deposing him.

  9. santitafarella says:


    I favor (at minimum) a public option in health care, and if I were president, I would also consider advocating single payer (where the government sets Medicare style price rates and doctors compete for patients in a free market). Are these hubristic policies worthy of leading to state secession movements and demonization? Obama doesn’t even advocate for single payer. Gays can’t even get him to act on “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”I suppose that conservatives can’t deal with losing an election and seeing their country go in directions that are more egalitarian and ecologically attentive. But it feels like the far right is acting like a group of tantruming children. I’m scared, the world must not ever change, and I get my pop tarts now!


  10. Catalina says:

    The destruction of America’s capital base on Wall Street and the destruction of America’s capacity to pay taxes for future leave America exposed and vulnerable. The Obama and Pelosi legacy: No capital, no new productive jobs and a government that knows virtually nothing about business, company creation, job creation or the need for families to be self sufficient without government aid.

  11. jonolan says:

    When it comes to the idea that some “Angry White Man” made the Obama-Joker image I think the joke’s on you Liberals, Santi.


    Ah schadenfreude; it is to laugh. 😆

  12. santitafarella says:


    I haven’t checked the link yet, but I will in the morning.

    Egg on my face?


  13. santitafarella says:


    Okay, I looked, and read your post. This won’t please you, and I think you’ll regard my response as predictable defensiveness (since I invested time sassing the image, and don’t want to think of that time as wasted), but I’m a Freudian, and I think the unconscious functions, and I don’t think that just white people from, say, Kentucky go around with racial anxiety. Racism is part of the psychological water the world swims in. And so one person makes the image, but a far right wing person intuits the racial paranoia in it, and it goes viral thanks to this anonymous person. No incoherence (to my mind) in what I think the poster says, nor what the incident says about liberals “jumping to a conclusion”. The image could have first bubbled unconsciously from the mind of Gandhi and the image qua image is still racist and utterly paranoid (especially in its current usage). It continues to be so. The fact that it went viral among the far right continues to be a sign of the far right’s emotional perversity.


    • jonolan says:

      Your response doesn’t completely displease me, Santi. It implies that you believe that a non-White can be racist as well; that’s a view that more accurate than what most Liberals hold. It also, since Alkhateeb is “to the Left” of Obama, implies that you accept that Liberals can be racist and that it’s not a phenomenon limited to the Right; again, that’s a view that more accurate than what most Liberals hold.

      I still don’t find the image racist at all, but we’ve already had that argument so there’s no reason to rehash it again at this time since we’re not going to convince each other to change either of our positions.

      Now the paranoia…I can agree that the “rise” of this image is caused by fear and loathing of Obama and what he wants to do to America.

  14. On bennyhreviews I just blame Obama for everything. Oh, and for shameless self publicist I may as well write “visit bennyhreviews”. Haha.

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