PINE BUSH – The signs were bold — "Impeach Obama" they said, and they got a good number of honks from passing motorists on Main Street in Pine Bush.
Taking a closer look, the women behind the signs were revealed to be Diane Sare and Margaret Scialdone, residents of the area, with strong political feelings.
They belong to the Lyndon LaRouche political organization. LaRouche (see sidebar) has a long history as a political gadfly — and quadrennial presidential candidate — pushing extreme opinions on both ends of the political spectrum.
The prominent signs showed President Obama with a Hitler-style mustache. Asked about the mustache posters, Sare said, "That's from the health care debate."
LaRouche, who initially supported Hillary Clinton's presidential bid, came around to backing Obama when he was first President. But in the health care debate, LaRouche backed a Single Payer government run health care policy; and, as the Democratic party's health care plan advanced, LaRouche said that Americans "must quickly and suddenly change the behavior of this president, for no lesser reason than that your sister might end up in somebody's gas oven."
Lyndon LaRouche, born in New Hampshire in 1922, has had a long career as a loud, but eccentric voice in American politics.
Early on he joined the Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party, then the Sparticist League and then the Labor Committee of the S.D.S. (Students for a Democratic Society). In all of these he was renowned for combative methods and arguments. In 1972 he founded the U.S. Labor Party, which was described as both a "self styled Marxist organization" and a "cult-like, right-wing political organization."
In 1976 he made the first of many runs for President, as the candidate of the US Labor Party. He received 40,043 votes.
He was imprisoned in 1988 for conspiracy to commit mail fraud as well as tax code violations and served six years of a 15 year sentence.
In 2004-05 LaRouche's organization campaigned for John Kerry in the Presidential Election, and later sought to impeach Vice President Cheney.
More recently he has called for the impeachment of President Obama over the administration's failure to press for stringent controls of derivatives trading by U.S. Banks.
To go with the "gas oven" notion came the posters with the Hitlerian mustache.
On the matter of health care, Diane Sare said, "The key is the recess appointment of Donald Berwick on July 7" to be Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.
Berwick has been attacked by conservatives for his advocacy of British methods of cost and effectiveness in the evaluation of medical therapies.
"Berwick is a knight," said Sare. "He worked for Tony Blair and that was his reward, to be knighted."
While it is true that Berwick was honored as an Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in 2005, this is not quite the same thing as a "Knighthood." Honorary knighthoods, given to people who are not part of a nation where Queen Elizabeth II is Head of State, do not use a title such as "Sir" before their name.
Today, the LaRouche organization says that Obama deserves impeachment for his refusal to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, which would separate retail banking from risky, "merchant" banking and derivatives trading, as obtained before 1998.
The Glass-Steagall Act stemmed from the 1932 economic depression and banking crisis. It was repealed by the Republican controlled House and Senate in 1998 and signed by President Clinton.
Diane Sare, roadside in Pine Bush, said that "Goldman Sachs ran the Bush Administration through Henry Paulson. And now, Goldman Sachs is running the Obama Administration through Ben Bernanke."
The LaRouche organization says, "To save our nation, Congress must pass Glass-Steagall and shut down derivatives trading now."