Beyond the shared enthusiasm of the Führer and all US Presidents (with the possible exception of Warren Harding) for mass murder as an appropriate expression of national policy, I’ve never seen any particularly close affinity between Adolf Hitler and the current White House incumbent, but the Republican National Committee seems peculiarly sensitive on the matter.
At the end of the first week in January the RNC lashed out furiously at the Democratic website MoveOn.org for including in its competition for robust campaign ads for 2004 a couple that offered Bush/Hitler comparisons.
One shows Hitler, speaking in German, with a voiceover translating the lines as “We have taken new measures to protect our homeland…. I believe I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.” Then, as Hitler continues to speak, the voiceover says, “God told me to strike Al Qaeda, and I struck them.” The visage of A. Hitler becomes that of G. Bush.
As a way of enticing undecided voters to vote against George Bush next November, both ads seem a trifle heavy-handed, which is probably why MoveOn.org’s audience didn’t include them among the fifteen finalists. But this didn’t stop the RNC’s screaming. Somewhat cravenly, MoveOn’s Wes Boyd then said his group “regrets” the brief appearance of the two ads on the MoveOn website. They’re gone now, though as of January 6 you could find the scripts of the offending two on the RNC’s site.
Hitler/Bush comparisons began their current vogue after an article by Dave Lindorff appeared last February on CounterPunch.org, the website edited by Jeffrey St. Clair and me, to which Lindorff is a regular and valued contributor.
In a full-bore attack on Bush-as-warmonger, Lindorff swept into an impassioned finale, declaring that
we must begin exposing George W. Bush and his War Party for what they are: craven usurpers aiming at nothing less than the undermining of all those things that most of us hold dear.
It’s going a bit far to compare the Bush of 2003 to the Hitler of 1933. Bush simply is not the orator that Hitler was. But comparisons of the Bush Administration’s fear mongering tactics to those practiced so successfully and with such terrible results by Hitler and Goebbels on the German people and their Weimar Republic are not at all out of line.
I thought Lindorff’s measured assessment of the two leaders’ rhetorical talents indicated appropriate objectivity, but our CounterPunch inbox was soon crammed with furious denunciations of Lindorff from Bush supporters. Then in July one of the Wall Street Journal‘s mad dogs in residence, James Taranto, did us a favor by taking a passing jab at CounterPunch as “an outfit whose staple is stuff comparing Bush to Hitler.” There were other useful attacks in National Review and the Washington Times.