John Leo

Anyone who calls the Bush people fascists will get no argument from Princeton Prof. Sheldon Wolin, who says, “We are facing forms of domination that exceed the old vocabulary.” So if you feel like calling somebody a fascist, go right ahead. Historian Eric Foner of Columbia compared Bush to the Japanese warlords of World War II who launched a pre-emptive war at Pearl Harbor. Since other name-callers on the left are so Nazi-minded, this qualifies as a fresh idea.

By last fall, most of the outstanding villains of history had been pressed into service as forerunners of George Bush. Napoleon is a heavy favorite. “The only difference between George W. Bush and Napoleon Bonaparte is 10 inches,” Debby Morse wrote in the San Francisco Examiner. She compared John Ashcroft to Napoleon’s ruthless police chief Joseph Fouché. History Prof. David Applebaum of Rowan University compared Bush to Robespierre as well as to Napoleon. And many have speculated on whether Laura Bush seems like Josephine. Radical journalist Alexander Cockburn wasn’t sure about Bush as Napoleon, “though surely Josephine’s heart beats beneath Laura’s delicious bosom.”

Bush is Dr. Frankenstein, according to the cartoon “Bushenstein” featured on the Democratic National Committee Web site. Anti-Bush columnist Paul Krugman apparently disagrees. The cover on the British edition of his current book of columns shows Bush as Frankenstein’s monster, not as Frankenstein himself. The frontier for Bush insults keeps shifting. One day the president is Attila the Hun, the next day he is Ted Bundy. A posting on The Unknown (an apparently unhinged news site) said that Bush is a charming lunatic, just like Hitler, Ted Bundy, Mussolini, and Hannibal Lecter. One lefty said Bush is Caligula, while another insists he is the new Nero (“Nero burned Rome, Hitler burned the Reichstag, Bush burned the World Trade Center”). Don’t you love the way these people argue?

John Leo

John Leo is editor of and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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