The Republican National Committee seems to be feeling a bit threatened by Moveon.org's Bush in 30 Seconds contest, and demands that the organization apologize for submissions to their contest comparing Bush to Hitler. I saw the ad in question in the preliminary voting and gave it a low rating, but not because the comparison is inappropriate. Rather, I ranked it low because I thought the ad was heavy-handed and that it would not convince anyone who might be considering voting for Bush.
Comparing a politician you disagree with to Hitler is a cliche of letter-to-the-editor writing, not some totally beyond-the-pale bit of hate speech which the RNC would like us to see it as. As I remarked above, the main problem with such comparisons is that they are so common as to be unconvincing. This issue has come up before. The last time objections to Bush-Hitler comparisons impinged on my consciousness, I did some thinking about the matter and made some comparisons of my own. It seems to me that the right's determination to kill this meme arises from insecurity. It would be helpful to their cause if the Bush administration would stop reusing Nazi operation names. The RNC would be less outraged if there were no comparisons to be made.
But OK, I guess the RNC wants contrasts between Bush and Hitler, not comparisons. So lets oblige them: Hitler probably had syphilis, whereas Bush probably doesn't. Hitler killed millions. Bush hasn't. (Shall we insert a Bushian yet?) Hitler was a much better public speaker. Shall we continue?
UPDATE: Avadon Carol has a good post on this topic. She gives more specific cliched usages of Nazi comparisons than I did (e. g. feminazi). Also, Liberal Oasis has a nice analysis of the RNC's fuss. If you've come to my weblog looking for more liberal outrages to get upset about, check out Liberal Oasis's Bush in 41.2 Seconds. (Via Avadon Carol.) Judging by its blunt language, I expect that it was made for an Internet-only release and is not intended for television.
FURTHER UPDATE: Matt Druge, of all people, directs our attention to a longer web video, Bush Is Not a Nazi, So Stop Saying That. Thanks Matt, I enjoyed that. (Though I liked this one, on a different topic, better.)
Just for the record, let me state clearly that I think that Bush is not a National Socialist. However, I would not go so far as to say that he's not a fascist.
Let me give you wingnuts a piece of advice: The harder you push this one, the more creative energy is going to be spent by people with a video camera and a computer making little films that compare Bush to Hitler. This is a free speech issue. And if you try to suppress opinions of people who sincerely believe that there is some similarity between Bush and Hitler, there will soon be thousands upon thousands of Bush/Hilter videos circulating on the Internet. There are a lot of people out there who are sincerely and legitimately concerned that this country is sliding toward fascism. Labelling us extremists and attempting to supress expression of those concerns will do nothing good for the country.
Hitler was Hitler for decades before killing millions. If we learned anything from the Nazi era it should be to stop fascism before it gain control. Many of those comparing Bush to Hitler are not simply out to defame him, but rather want to halt AmericaÅfs emergent fascism.