Sunday, December 03, 2006

Ave, Malcolm!

Malcolm Pollack, no friend of George Bush and a gent who seems to share some of my own centrist sensibilities, rightfully takes Diane McWhorter to task for having dragged out the "America is going Nazi" canard. An excerpt:

McWhorter mentions, with depressing predictability, Hitler’s invocation of the Reichstag fire as justification of the Enabling Act of 1933, which gave the Führer the dictatorial power he had coveted all along. From that day forward, Hitler exercised absolute control of every aspect of German government. Clear enough. History tends to repeat itself, and the author reminds us that this is exactly what happened to our own government a scant 71 years later, when Trent Lott and the Republican Senate caucus “threatened to override Senate rules and abolish the filibuster in order to thwart the Democrats’ stand against Bush’s most extremist nominees for federal judgeships.”

The parallel is eerily exact, other than that the threat was never even carried out, the president did not assume dictatorial powers, Trent Lott himself was forced to step down as majority leader a few months later due to a gaffe, involving racism, that cost him the respect of the ethnically tolerant American people, free elections were not canceled, and the Republicans themselves lost control of the Senate in the next election cycle. Close enough, though, if you aren’t supposed to list “the ways in which we are not like Nazi Germany.”

Of course, the likeness [doesn’t] end there. Here’s another page that Bush has taken from the Nazi playbook: vilification of the enemy. We note, in passing, that there is some irony in castigating people whom you clearly despise for vilifying the enemy while you yourself are busy comparing them to the Nazis, but let us press on, and consider the charges.

I'm all for reasoned debate about the gaffes we've made. But "reasoned" is the operative term here. If people insist on over-dramatizing to make their points, there can be no debate. And the sad fact about people who drag out exaggerations-- no matter which side they might be on-- is that they're usually too fucking obtuse to see their own obtuseness.

Be sure to read Malcolm's entire post. It's a good one.


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