Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Nazi Analogy Nazis

This morning in my local daily, I see that Kathleen Parker invokes Godwin's Law without actually mentioning it:

For my two cents, anyone who invokes Hitler or Nazis should be disqualified from public debate for muddled thinking and lack of originality.

This is in response to Rep. Steve Cohen's rhetorical, er, overkill, which may or may not be a case of overreach, depending on what side of the aisle your guys have to cross over from to show some civility tonight.

And for my tuppence, Cohen could have left Mr. Goebbels out of it and still made his point. Whether he's disqualified from public discourse is another question, but even he probably has noticed that the Nazi analogy attracted more attention than his actual point. Still, it also seems to me that accusing people - in this case, not without foundation - of employing the "Big Lie Technique" is not exactly the same as calling someone a Nazi.

It's hard to get too outraged at Tea Party placards of Obama with a toothbrush moustache, since all our recent GOP presidents routinely received the same treatment (except maybe Jerry Ford, who just didn't fit the part). At the same time, it's a bit amusing to hear such objections from the party that used actual Nazis as campaign aides.

The last word on this topic should come from our national treasure, Jon Stewart, who reduces right-wingers' credibility on this topic to confetti. I was going to say "takes the only leg they have to stand on here and roasts it on a spit," but I think you could make the case that that's somewhat disturbing imagery.

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