By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
When I wrote earlier today that people should as a general matter avoid Nazi and Hitler comparisons, I didn't realize that today Rush Limbaugh would be comparing the Democrats to ... the Nazis and Hitler. Media Matter has the video. Watch it and chuckle or cry or whatever. It's mind-numbingly nonsensical (and got a pretty good going-over on Hardball tonight).
People should start asking GOP office-holders if Democrat/Nazi comparisons are justifiable. Let's see if any defy El Rushbo on this one.
But then think about the assertion. Or the idea that the White House is compiling some sort of enemies list from forwarded emails. Or the fantastical notion that the healthcare reform bill is going to empower the government to murder old people. Political rhetoric is building to a hysterical, nigh-apocalyptic pitch that's scary.
(Tim Mak of NewMajority has an interesting take on why conservative talk radio is angrier and more extreme than it has ever been: Revenues have declined 30-40 percent over the last two years. They need to get crazier just to keep raking in bucks.)
Mob rule triumphing over civil discourse is not a good thing. And neither is the festering, smoldering anger fueling the town hall demonstrations. "Wouldn’t Republicans and conservatives do better to criticize Democrats for what they actually are and actually do—rather than indulge in paranoid fantasies that are too laughable to frighten?" David Frum blogged this morning. But what happens when we reach a point where people are whipped up enough that they actually start believing this stuff? Wingnut demagogues can denounce violence (as being tactically inefficient, anyway), but that's a hollow message if they spend the rest of their time suggesting that Nazis have seized power.