Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hitler and the US Election

I put this video up yesterday because it made me laugh, but then I poked around on YouTube videos that were linked to it, so I thought I'd expand the post.

Apparently, Hillary just acts like Hitler in parody (that is, no one thinks the video above is anything but a joke, but Obama's polices (like nuclear disarmament and health care)are actually equivalent to Hitler:

Though, since the person who created this video clearly cannot spell, s/he can be excused I suppose for not seeming to understand what Hitler actually did. (What with our President setting such a shoddy example both on grammar and on historical analogies of late, who can blame the average citizen?)

Ann Coulter has made more direct claims in recent weeks. In April, she asserted that Barack Obama is "a racist" based on her reading of his autobiography, "Dreams o My Father," which expresses anger at racism, and which she compares to Mein Kampf.

Then there was the brou-ha in February over Tom Sullivan's remarks in response to a caller to his right-wing radio show, who said that Obama's speaking style seemed reminiscent of Hitler:

"I understand that Hitler is hated by, and should be, by most everybody in civilized society. ... But the point being, you must remember something. Adolf Hitler was able to gather a country of people and get them excited about whatever it was that he was talking to them about. He was a very fiery, enigmatic -- I'm not sure -- I mean, he was -- I mean, he really got the people all thrilled..."
I can see why this rankles, but frankly I was more troubled by Keith Olberman's response - he criticized Sullivan for making even the slightest comparison between Obama and Hitler:

But they are comparable in some ways, aren't they? Both human beings. Both mortal. Both male human beings, or Pete's sake - feminist theorists argue this along can explain a little. Both working their way into political inluence against a background of hardship. And yes, both eloquent public speakers who excite an response from their audience through the use of redundance and emotive cliches. I'm willing to say it, as someone who will be pleased to support Obama in November's election, and I think it's silly for left-wing pundits to be so scared by the comparison on these completely irrelevant criteria. Obama is a gifted orator who makes many people share his vision, and that is not a curse, it is what will enable him to exercise leadership and unite the country in precisely the way he promises. Hitler had the same gift, as have many great leaders.

The crucial difference is the use to which such power is put. The idea that liberals should be frightened of or reactionary toward such comparisons is ludicrous.

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