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Saturday, June 12, 2004

Mike Godwin Rules Presidential Race

Godwin's Law
Godwin's Law "prov. [Usenet] 'As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.' There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress. Godwin's Law thus practically guarantees the existence of an upper bound on thread length in those groups. However there is also a widely- recognized codicil that any intentional triggering of Godwin's Law in order to invoke its thread-ending effects will be unsuccessful."

After the Chicago Sun-Times printed Andrew Greely's Is U.S. like Germany of the '30s?, it was, of course, time to look at the current comparisons of Bush to Hitler from the perspectives of the growing popularity of the usage and attempt to judge the effect of the attacks.

Greely writes, "[Bush] is not another Hitler. Yet there is a certain parallelism. They have in common a demagogic appeal to the worst side of a country's heritage in a crisis. Bush is doubtless sincere in his vision of what is best for America. So too was Hitler. The crew around the president -- Donald Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft, Karl Rove, the ''neo-cons'' like Paul Wolfowitz -- are not as crazy perhaps as Himmler and Goering and Goebbels. Yet like them, they are practitioners of the Big Lie -- weapons of mass destruction, Iraq democracy, only a few ''bad apples.''"

Moveon removed two ads from their "Bush in 30 seconds" contest, (the Memory Hole was kind enough to post them) starting the first Bush/Hitler flame war of the year. Another round in Drudge's Bush/Hitler attacks on moveon, was directed against the video, "Bush is not a Nazi so stop saying that". There is a page of links to the links between Bush/Hitler. Let's not forget the Bush/Hitler/Skull and Bones connection. There's even a huge heretic comparison of Bush - Hitler and the Gallery of Bush = Hitler Allusions. Via Headblast I found an Article from the Russian paper Pravda simply titled, Bush vs. Hitler with this dandy of a paragraph:

"In fact, several disturbing analogies exist between George W. Bush and history's most infamous fascist, Adolph Hitler: Both men assumed power in defiance of the will of the majority; both men used "great lies" to pursue their warmongering agendas; both men preyed upon humanity's basest instincts to disseminate those "great lies"; both men were appeased by the British government, Hitler through Neville Chamberlain and Bush through Tony Blair; both men were willing to use national tragedies to justify the destruction of civil liberties, Hitler through the burning of the Reichstag and Bush through the September 11th terrorist attacks; both men were/are suspected of either participating in, or ignoring warnings about the imminence of, these tragedies in order to enhance their political stature and power; both men demonstrated no compunction about exploiting a culture of death for political self-aggrandizement, Hitler through his well-publicized genocide campaigns, and Bush who, while governor of Texas, routinely denied DNA tests to death row inmates, even though such tests could prevent wrongful executions; both men were willing to appeal to racism, Hitler through his quest for a "master race," and Bush through his condemnation of affirmative action policies, which primarily benefit racial minorities. While denouncing such policies as "preferential treatment," Bush predictably displayed no such aversion to the preferential treatment enjoyed by wealthy white people, like himself, through a system of nepotism and cronyism; both men reveled in war and exploited the military to satiate their personal ambitions and vendettas; both men used war to enrich their political cronies; both men demonstrated contempt for international law and the concerns of the world community; and both men believed they were/are on some holy crusade inspired by a "divine province" that placed them into power."

The Effect of the Bush/Hitler comparison

The website caught some flak for the quote, "Once again, the comparison of Bush with Hitler strikes terror in the hearts of Republicans - because they know how close it cuts to the truth." I think that quote is way off base. The freepers salivate over opportunities to suggest liberal criticism is over the top. Many spend all day sitting around refreshing drudge just waiting for commentary from a liberal so they can pull their freak-out routine.

When German Justice minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin compared Bush to Hitler, the White House responded by calling the attack "outrageous and inexplicable". Which I think is good position for Republicans, any Hitler reference is hard-hitting enough to require a response to what is realistically a straw-man argument. The debate is then about an abstract comparison instead of a criticism over the concrete ways Bush is fucking up.

During the moveon fiasco, GOP Chairman Ed Gillipse was able to make the talk show rounds screaming about two ads out of 1500 and essentially deny moveon the grassroots story hoped for with the release of the finalists.

I'm still waiting for somebody to convince me that calling Bush a Nazi does anything to weaken his standing. But I'll publish this blog anyway just to add one more to google's list of half a million sites using Bush and Hitler. Thank Godwin.

- Bob Brigham
Online + Campaigns + Politics + Elections + San Francisco + News + Blogs + Presidential + Battleground + Senate + Congress

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