The Other Charlotte and I have commented several times in this space on the Hitler thing–the widespread and extremely distressing habit in some quarters of comparing George W. Bush to Hitler and conservatives to Nazis.

The sheer nastiness of this is breathtaking, but have we become so inured to the comparison that we don’t realize how bizarre it is? This has got to be an unprecedented low in political rhetoric. Doug Anderson, a guest columnist at a Seattle newspaper, has some interesting ideas on the root of this phenomenon.

“Sure, Goebbels got up in front of people and spoke, but that’s about it for his resemblance to U.S. politicians,” writes Anderson. Anderson says he hasn’t spotted any Brown Shirts either.

So what gives?

Anderson thinks that the origin of the rage now dominating the left comes from a refusal to accept the harsh realities of the post-Sept. 11 world. 

“Yes, we’ve got an enemy; he is lethal and he doesn’t care about your sympathy or ideas and if he could get at you where you sit, latte in hand, he would,” writes Anderson. It’s easier to be mad at the messenger who tells you this than it is to face the external threat of an enemy who really is a lot like Hitler.

This has the ring of truth. Anderson is partisan, but I thought that what he had to say is intriguing enough that I posted it anyway. (Many thanks to Lucianne Goldberg for pointing out this article.)