You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

May 11, 2005

Tom DeLay And His Funny, Funny Friends

UPDATE: See here for a response from Tiomoid of Angle, author of "Stomping Out the Reds."

With Tom DeLay's recent troubles, it's a good time to remember something from the long ago past of 2003.

At the end of July, 2003 the College Republican National Committee held their 55th National Convention. According to CRNC's mission statement, it's "the largest and most active student political organization in the nation," with over 100,000 members at 1,000 colleges. Previous high-ranking CRNC staff include Karl Rove, Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist.

As you see on the schedule (pdf file), DeLay was the convention's keynote speaker, and was introduced by Jack Abramoff.

As the Washington Post gossip column mentioned at the time, later that day the outgoing CRNC chairman Scott Stewart led the delegates in singing a song called "Stomping Out the Reds." Stewart told the Post that "Stomping Out the Reds" and other songs they sang were "hilarious" because they were so dated and over-the-top.

I could get behind "dated" and "over the top." However, I'm not as sure about the "hilarious" part. That's because "Stomping Out the Reds" is literally sung from the point of view of Nazi Germany. Here are the lyrics; note the reference to "panzers":

To the tune of "Bringing in the Sheaves"

Meet the Left in action, put them all in traction,
Get great satisfaction, bashing in their heads!
Hear each girl and boy sing, triumph loudly voicing,
We'll advance rejoicing, stomping out the Reds!

Stomping out the Reds, stomping out the Reds,
We'll advance rejoicing, stomping out the Reds!

Lib'rals who pooh-pooh them, radicals who woo them,
Pinkoes who debut them, all are dunderheads!
Gladly we'll embrue them, hew and barbecue them,
Passing bullets through them, stomping out the Reds!

Stomping out the Reds, stomping out the Reds,
Passing Bullets through them, stomping out the Reds!

Bayonets bright gleaming, panzers forward streaming steaming,
Hear the Commies screaming, underneath our treads!
Scorn their masses teeming, and their traitors' scheming,
We're the West redeeming, stomping out the Reds!

Stomping out the Reds, stomping out the Reds,
We're the west redeeming, stomping out the Reds!

Now, I could be the one in the wrong here. It could be it's really, really funny when our nation's future Roves enthusiastically sing a song celebrating fascism at a conference featuring the people who run the country. (Other conference attendees included Alberto Gonzales, David Horowitz, Grover Norquist and Karl Rove. Rove received the Lee Atwater Leadership Award just before the singing of "Stomping Out the Reds.")

It may be particularly funny to sing such a song when the powerful people in attendance have been keeping US citizens in custody without charge. I bet Winston Churchill would laugh about all this. Wouldn't he?

The power of the executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious, and the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.
—Winston Churchill, November 21, 1943

Hmm. Well, it's probably just that Churchill and I and most human beings who've ever lived don't have a good sense of humor.

Still, it's interesting to wonder what the reaction would be if something analogous were done by progressives—except it's hard to imagine what that analogous something would be. We'd have to live in an America with a far left wing government that had invaded several countries and was imprisoning US citizens without trial. Then many officials of that government would have to attend a conference of their younger counterparts at which they sang a song celebrating the slaughter of fascists by Stalinist Russia.

The song would also have to be arguably anti-semitic, since "Stomping Out the Reds" mentions "barbecuing" the "Commies" and "traitors." (One of Hitler's rationales for the Holocaust, of course, was that Jews were natural-born traitors who were using communism to sap Germany's vital fluids.) Perhaps the alternate universe song could have approvingly mentioned the Doctor's Plot.

If our current media existed in this alternate universe, I suspect they'd have found the song and the presence of high government officials at the conference to be noteworthy. Here in this universe, however, barely anyone paid attention. The harshest criticism was found in the Washington Post story: it referred to the songsters as "exuberant."


"Stomping Out the Reds" is the creation of the Party of the Right Tiomoid of Angle, Yale '78 and editor of the songbook of the Party of the Right; the POR is one of the six political parties in Yale's Political Union. The POR was founded by William F. Buckley, which may have something to do with why "Stomping Out the Reds" is so well written.

The outgoing CRNC chairman Scott Stewart graduated from Yale in 1998 after transferring from Brigham Young.

Doug Henwood of the Left Business Observer went to Yale and was a member of the Party of the Right. He's written about them and their unwholesome affection for all things Nazi here and here. (I first learned about "Stomping Out the Reds" from Henwood's mailing list, lbo-talk.)

The 56th Biannual CRNC conference is coming up next month. There's still time to register!

The Michigan State Republicans enjoyed "Stomping Out the Reds" so much they put the lyrics and a video of it online. Below are two screen captures of the video; the first shows the people singing at the head table, and the second shows audience members enjoying it in all its hilariousness.

If you look closely at the second picture and watch the video, you'll see it seems the lyrics appear in the banquet program. Ah, to be young and exuberant and... blond.

Posted at May 11, 2005 10:53 PM | TrackBack

It's just jolly fun, Jonathan. An ideological cleansing would be hard to pull off.

Posted by: Harry at May 12, 2005 04:07 AM

Somehow it is impossible to be clever with regards to your post. We are fucked.

Posted by: Elayne at May 12, 2005 07:17 AM

It takes balls to write and promote a political parody of a popular, old-school hymn, equating working faithfully for the heavenly kingdom with slaughtering dissidents. Wait, I don't mean balls. I mean "the indisputable blessing of the Almighty." And I don't mean "parody" so much as "clarification."

But come on, Jon! You're missing the trees for the forest! Look at that second verse. Sophisticated rhymes like "pooh-pooh," "debut," "embrue" and "barbecue" -- why, Cole Porter himself might have written this song! (Also a Yalie, of course, although given the era in which he lived he probably didn't think fascist anthems were either "hilarious" or "outdated." He didn't have the benefit of our historical perspective.)

Posted by: inkywretch at May 12, 2005 10:33 AM

You have to give the wingnuts credit for versatility and pure gall -- at the dinner honoring Tom DeLay this week, they actually sang "If I Had A Hammer" as an ode to DeLay.

Just as all facts always support the Glorious Movement (and all that don't are by definition untrue), all songs support it too -- Nazi songs, Pete Seeger songs. Maybe they could find a medley of Slobodan Milosevic and John Lennon tunes for their next sing-along.

Posted by: Whistler Blue at May 13, 2005 06:32 PM

Here is the reality of the "right" wing - this is what they are REALLY thinking.

What makes this truly "laughable" in a sick way is is that the bastards are all cowards themselves - all their talk of guns and tanks and slaughter is all BS - they were ALL cowardly bastards when it was THEIR turn!

I didn't see any of them in Nam!

They want guns? They want to kill? Send them all to Iraq, and bring the kids home!

Posted by: F. Taylor at May 14, 2005 01:06 PM

PS: Winnie Churchill was also a right-wing fascist bastard who talked out of both sides of his mouth. When he made the above pious pronouncement, the Special Powers Acts were in full bloom in Ireland, even as they have been to modern times.

Diplock Courts are no different from what he describes above.
It is a wonder that Britain and Churchill fought Germany - they are cousins in both blood and philosophy. (Think not? Who invented the goose-step and concentration camps? Hint: NOT Germany!)

Posted by: F. Taylor at May 14, 2005 01:10 PM

Great post. Just an observation, your hyperlinks are very hard to see in both Firefox and IE.

Posted by: SJS at May 15, 2005 02:06 AM


Thanks for the comment. Other people have told me this before, and I've been meaning to change it for a while.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at May 15, 2005 05:37 AM

It looks better today, or maybe it was just my tired old eyes. I spend so much time in front of this damn thing I'm sure I'm going blind.

Posted by: SJS at May 15, 2005 03:42 PM

I don't recall such agitation over the parodies of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld being cast far and wide during the election.

Could it be that Liberals only find parodies and jokes funny when Republicans are the butt.

What a shame!!

Posted by: Steve at May 17, 2005 02:29 PM

I hope at some point in his life, Steve may understand the meaning of the word "parody."

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at September 24, 2005 08:04 AM

This song is awesome. We do love it at MSU and if anything its too moderate.

Posted by: Burn Reds at November 28, 2005 04:08 PM