Thursday, June 24, 2010

Springtime for Hitler

Back in 2005 someone responded to a MoveOn.org contest for an anti-Bush ad with a comparison of Mr. Bush to Hitler. The ad never ran on the site, but in the last five years it has become the benchmark for right-wing talking points about liberal extremism. And, paradoxically, it seems to have inspired the conservatives to come up with their own version of the History Channel’s “all Hitler all the time” programming. Steve Benen notes,

Far-right rhetoric is routinely exasperating, but this Nazi preoccupation holds a special place in the lexicon. Remember when Obama’s efforts to rescue American auto manufacturing were compared to Hitler? And how many times did Republicans compare health care reform to the Nazis? Or how about the time a Republican congressman compared Obama to Hitler over national-service opportunities? Let’s also not forget Newt Gingrich’s recent assertion that Obama and his backers are actually worse than Nazis.

On its face, the fact that so many conservatives rely on Hitler comparisons so often is a reminder of an unfortunate truth — much of the discourse on the right has gone hopelessly insane.

I think we can assume that anyone who uses the Hitler comparison has basically exhausted all of their talking points and is thereby conceding that they’ve lost the argument.