In his book Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning Jonah Goldberg begins by noting the "not even the professionals have figured out what exactly fascism is". One definition, proffered by Emilio Gentile, is:
A mass movement, that combines different classes but is prevalently of the middle classes, which sees itself as having a mission of national regeneration, is in a state of war with its adversaries and seeks a monopoly of power by using terror, parliamentary tactics and compromise to create a new regime, destroying democracy.
Let's consider each of these elements as it may apply to Obama.
Mass movement: anyone noticed those crowds that Obama has been pulling lately? The polls are also pointing to a landslide win for Obama in less than three weeks.
Combines different classes...prevalently of the middle class: this one is a little less clear. His major backers are the elite: self-made billionaires like George Soros, Hollywood's elite and the news men. Yet, he garners significant support from the thousands (millions?) from the middle class in the form of $50 donations.
Mission of national regeneration: This one is the clearest. Take for example, his latest Messianic entreaty:
We will win this election and, you and I together, we're going to change the country and change the world.
I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.
State of war with its adversaries: Obama has adopted Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. Obama wages this war within the confines of the existing political structures and (at least on the face of it) within the confines of law. No Kristallnachts. But Obama's campaign certainly smacks of the "I will do anything to win" and "Give me power, then trust me to do something good" Alinskian edicts.
Parliamentary Tactics: ACORN, an organisation with whom Obama has a close affinity and had a working relationship, stands accused of systematic and widespread voter fraud in the U.S.
The objective of which is to destroy democracy: He hasn't even won yet. However, the reaction of his campaign to valid criticism demonstrates a tendency toward stifling debate and shutting down opposition. Criticism is dubbed racist. Lawsuits are being brought by his campaign against those it deems to broadcast "lies or runs a misleading TV ad".
I am sure I could match up this definition of fascism with the exhibited behaviours and motivation of Kevin Rudd.
I am NOT saying that we are seeing the rise of the next Hitler or Mussolini in either Obama or Rudd. My point is that far from the Republicans or the Liberal Party being the Fascistic party, perhaps it is time (now that Bush is about to leave, and Howard has already been voted out) to reinvigorate this term and attributing it correctly. So, far from accusing Obama or Rudd of being Marxists, we should be accusing them of being Fascists.