Our libertarian Catholic friend Kathy Shaidle alerts us to Hitler Watch, a new web page launched by the History News Network. The nonpartisan Hitler Watch tracks the metaphoric uses to which the name of the Fuehrer has been put by politicians and pundits of late.
And guess–just guess!–who wins the “just like Hitler” bakeoff hands down! Yes, out of 17 recent Hitler similes posted on Hitler Watch to date, some 11 involve people who insist that U.S. President George W. Bush is just like the little man with the mustache who overran Europe and murdered 6 million Jews. Or if not Hitler himself, like the Nazis who crawled in his wake.
The Hitler similists include: Al Gore, who, according to Charles Krauthammer, “publicly spoke of the administration establishing a ‘Bush Gulag’ around the world and using ‘digital Brown Shirts’ to intimidate the media”; George Soros, who denied to CNN comparing Bush to Hitler, but says that living under the Bush administration reminds him of his days spent living under the Hitler administration; and Julian Bond, who, according to Bloomberg News, said in a June 2 speech to the NAACP that Republicans’ “idea of equal rights is the American flag and the Confederate swastika flying side by side.”
And of course there’s the inimitable Bush-bashing MoveOn.org, whose founders finally apologized for posting Bush-is-Hitler ads on its website. Nonetheless, as Hitler Watch quotes from a transcript obtained by Matt Drudge of a recent Move On banquet, the organization’s members still delight in painting the president as, if not Hitler, as a Hitler wannabe. The Move Onners applauded uproariously at these remarks from comedienne Margaret Cho:
“Despite all of this stupid bullsh– that the Republican National Committee, or whatever the f— they call them, that they were saying that they’re all angry about how two of these ads were comparing Bush to Hitler? I mean, out of thousands of submissions, they find two. They’re like fu–ing looking for Hitler in a hawstack. You now? I mean, George Bush is not Hitler. He would be if he fu–ing applied himself.” (big, extended applause) “I mean he just isn’t.”
Sure, right-wingers do a bit of their own Hitlerizing, as Hitler Watch points out, such as Rush Limbaugh’s sobriquet “femi-Nazis” for the radical wing of the women’s movement. And a New York Post column called Howard Dean “Herr Howard.” But those incidents pale in comparison to this most recent post on Hitler Watch in which Robert F. Kennedy Jr. defends to Fox News’s Sean Hannity last week his likening of Bush’s and Hitler’s administrations in his new anti-Bush book Crimes Against Nature: “[F]ascism is the control of government by business.” Here’s an excerpt from Hitler Watch’s transcript of the Hannity-Kennedy interview:
“HANNITY: You said, ‘these elected governments use the provocation of terrorist attacks, continued wars’ — you’re talking about Nazism and fascism on page 193, OK?
“KENNEDY: No, no, no now you’re…
“HANNITY: Wait a minute, right here I have it in the book, 193 and 194, and you talk about Spain, Germany and Italy reacting to the economic crises.
“HANNITY: And then you say the following: ‘These governments use provocation of terrorist attacks, continual wars, invocations of patriotism and homeland security to privatize the commons, tame the press, muzzle criticism by opponents, turn the government over to corporate control.
“‘”It’s always a simple matter to drag people along,” noted Hitler’s sidekick Herman Goering, whether it’s a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked, denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism, and expose the country to danger — and exposing the country to danger. And it works the same in any country,’ is what you say.
“Then you go on to say — you’re talking about fascism and Nazism — and the next line in this book of yours says, the White House has clearly grasped this lesson. That is disgraceful to make that comparison.
“KENNEDY: Well, you know, Sean in this — you know, look at the comparisons. Look at our — what is — look at the terror alert, for example, that we — that was…
“HANNITY: Nazism and fascism? That we’re using the tactics of fascists and Nazists? That’s what you’re saying about your president? You can’t disagree without being that obnoxious?
“KENNEDY: We can disagree with each other, Sean, and that’s something that we ought to be able to do without calling each other names.
“HANNITY: You’re the one calling them fascists and Nazis, comparing them to fascists and Nazis.
“KENNEDY: Well, I never called the president a fascist or a Nazi.
“HANNITY: You found a nice round-about way to compare his tactics to the fascists and the Nazis.”