(Hamilton Fish III - once observed distributing copies of The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion out of his Senate office)
Let it never be said that the Lunatic Fringe is the sole property of the past decade. It's not. Prior to World War 2 we had the likes of Hamilton Fish III who not only was a vocal opponent of FDR's New Deal, he was also a vocal opponent of FDR in general. With the Lend-Lease bill before Congress, Fish charged the country was slipping into Totalitarianism with FDR bracing to assume the Dictatorship of the country and all was headed into irreversible disaster.
Hamilton Fish: “ It is evident that the tide of totalitarianism in government which has swept over many lands has not only reached our shores, but has gone far to destroy constitutional barriers. Which, once broken down, are not likely to be restored.”
Hamilton Fish: “ A great debate is now being waged in the Congress and throughout the nation as to whether the Congress should surrender to the President its constitutional power to declare war. And in the same bill give away blank check control of the purse. The issue is very clear, and I believe that once the American people understand that the Lend-Lease bill in its present form is not primarily to aid Great Britain, but to set up a dictatorship in America, they will demand its repudiation and defeat.”
Fish was an avowed isolationist. Aligning himself with the anti-war movement, he was closely associated with a number of Pro-German sympathies in the 1930s to just prior to the outbreak of our involvement in the War. He became friends with Joachim von Ribbentop, Foreign Minister in the Hitler regime and was accused on several occasions of having pro-Nazi leanings, even to the point of distributing copies of The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion out of his Senate office and making anti-Semitic remarks with regards to Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler's Germany.
Fish is an all-but-forgotten figure now. It's doubtful anyone in the last two generations has actually heard him. He was defeated in his re-election bid and faded into the background after World War 2 and died in 1991. But as this address from January 21, 1941 indicates, he had a following and some people took the paranoia very seriously.
Paranoia, it seems, is timeless.