Much as I dislike George Bush, I don’t think he’s actually a Nazi. Which makes it doubly odd that he’s such a fan of facist-sounding language (the one that really does my head in is calling America “the homeland”). It seems like a strange kind of cultural illiteracy: Bush adopts certain authoritarian tropes from fascism without quite knowing where they come from. Now, though, we have a much more entertaining version of a sort of similar thing: the Obama campaign’s Maoist æsthetic, which is reason enough to hope that Obama gets the nomination.
Why is Obama using a variant of the Freedom Road Socialist Party‘s logo? Why do posters made by his supporters so often use the two-tone woodblock stylings of 1960s third-worldism? Not, I fear, because Obama actually is a Maoist, but perhaps because of a similar kind of historical amnesia to that of Bush. In the case of the Obama campaign, the æsthetic comes from a vague memory of a time when revolutionary political change really did seem possible, which never quite rises to the level of actually knowing what that movement for change was actually about.