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Friday, May 20, 2005

Say what now?

Democrats and liberals occasionally and absurdly equate Bush and the conservatives to Hitler.  It is a ridiculous comparison and, worse, it diminishes the evil that was Hitler.  At the same time, listeners understand the intended reference.  The claim is that conservatives are taking this country on a path that is fascist and totalitarian; and Hitler is pretty much the prime example of fascism and totalitarianism.  So while it is a horrible comparison--and one that, in my mind, should not be used--everyone understands its point.

Similarly, when conservatives refer to Democrats and liberals as Stalinists and Communists, we understand the reference point even as we are horrified by the comparison.

But what in heaven's name is Rick Santorum talking about when opines on the Democrats' stance on the filibuster:

"The audacity of some members to stand up and say 'How dare you break this rule' . . . . It's the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942 saying, 'I'm in Paris. How dare you invade me. How dare you bomb my city? It's mine.'"

I'm mystified.  I could deal with it if it was just offensive; but I don't have the slightest clue what he means.  Please go back to calling me a Stalinist!

Posted by Hillel Levin on May 20, 2005 at 08:59 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink


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Wow, you smart ppl are wordy. But, I can understand baby talk, no matter how old the baby. Don't think it's a talent that I always enjoy, as politicians aren't exactly cute and cuddly. What little Santorum is trying to communicate is that the big scarry Democrats are in his House, all 44 of them and that Jim Jeffords, even the ones that vote with him, and they better leave right now before he get's uncle Cheney. Go easy on him, he's just a kid.

Posted by: nicethugbert | May 21, 2005 5:47:07 PM

amosanon anonymous whoever,
Did you notice that I was responding to the false premise posed in the post itself?

That there is somehow an over-the-top but nonetheless plausible logic to comparinng conservatives to Nazi?

Did you notice?

Posted by: Ray | May 20, 2005 7:11:11 PM

I agree that analogies to Hitler are usually a bad idea, and this one certainly is a bad idea. But I do think that Rick Santorum has a valid underlying point.

The Democrats are claiming that the nuclear option would upset many years of Senate tradition by changing the filibuster. Republicans respond that it is the Democrats who have upset Senate tradition, by using the filibuster in an uprecedented way, and the nuclear option would actually restore the Senate tradition of allowing a vote on judicial nominees with majority support.

The analogy Rick Santorum tries to make is that it was legitimate for the Allies to invate Paris and restore it to the French, because it historically had belonged to the French, and they were therefore only restoring the old order. Likewise, Santorum argues, the Republicans are only proposing to restore the balance in the Senate that always exstisted by tradition -- including the majority's the power to confirum presidential nominees -- a power that existed until the Democrats recently took it away.

One may not agree with Santorum's underlying point. And, again, I agree that this is a very poor choice of analogy. But if some are genuinely confused about what Santorum is trying to say here, I think this is basically it.

Posted by: John Fee | May 20, 2005 12:46:03 PM

Ray: Did you notice that post was *actually* about Santorum comparing Democrats to Hitler?

Posted by: amosanon1 | May 20, 2005 12:34:53 PM

After I thought about this for a minute, it occured to me that there does seem to be a case for calling Leftists, Democrats, what have you "commies" or "Stalinists." For fear of coming across as Archie Bunker, I never call anyone such a name but I am quick to identify socialist ideas as such.

But, has the Republican party or any prominent Right wing group ever supported Nazism or attempted to establish a form of Nazism in America? Of course not.

Has the Democratic party or any prominent Left wing group ever supported socialism or attempted to establish a form of socialism in America. Absolutely, and the struggle continues to this day. Not as Alger Hiss and his cohorts sought to empower a foreign government but simply by the gradual socialization of our existing government.

Now, every time a political party attempts to expand governmental power to benefit their own cause, the other party calls a totalitarian foul. But totalitarianism is not Nazism by definition.

However, every socialist government, even the more peaceful ones, have and do always lean ever more towards totalitarian rule. History bears this out.

Thus there is absolutely no basis for the Left to call conservatives “Nazis” in any form as it is an obvious attempt to smear their opposition with some easily recognizable appellation of evil intent.

Whereas the Democratic party has a long history of harboring socialist ideas and socialists in particular. So it seems a bit more apropos for the Left to be referred to at times as “Commies” or “Stalinists.”

Posted by: Ray | May 20, 2005 12:20:05 PM

I really don't see the context to the Hitler gibe either nor do I understand why so many on the Left and Right are so quick to thrown the Hilter analogy out there as often as they do.

One would think that these various issues where Hitler's name is so often invoked, would be so consuming to the people representing them i.e. legislators, columnists et al, that they could come up with something at least more original than referring to Hitler or calling a certain party a bunch of brownshirts. One would hope that they could actually say something with substance, but barring that, at least something more original.

Posted by: ray | May 20, 2005 9:49:33 AM

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