The Baltimore Sun's Voter Guide 2016

Heil, Obama?

Joyce E. Thomann is one of the latest people to discover that just because an idea occurs to you, it doesn't necessarily make that idea worth sharing with the world.

The president of Republican Women of Anne Arundel County learned that truism the hard way after she opined on her organization's Web site that "Obama and Hitler have a great deal in common in my view. Obama and Hitler use the 'blitzkrieg' method to overwhelm their enemies."

What followed was thoroughly predictable, as Thomann's words were denounced by fellow members of her group, local candidates to whom she had contributed money, and observers nationwide after the Obama-Hitler comparison was picked up by the Huffington Post.

The shame of it is, not only were Thomann's comments asinine and offensive, they didn't even score points for originality. Indeed, the Obama/Hitler nexus has been a staple of conservative debate for years now -- and not just on the fringes but deep in the mainstream.




Examples abound:

Columnist Jonah Goldberg on the Glenn Beck show: "I mean, again, you know, I'm not calling Barack Obama a Hitler and I'm not calling him Nazis and all the rest. But, you know, in fascism, we saw the people's car. We call it the Volkswagen, where the state said what we're going to do is we're going to take over the auto industry -- government and business and unions are going to get together and we're going to create cars to fill a political need rather than a market need and give people these cars."

Author Ben Stein, also on Glenn Beck, said that he did not "like the idea of Senator Obama giving his [nomination] acceptance speech in front of 75,000 wildly cheering people. ... Seventy-five-thousand people at an outdoor sports palace, well, that's something the Fuehrer would have done."

Ann Coulter, commenting about Obama's book, "Dreams From my Father,"  in a column titled "Obama's Dimestore 'Mein Kampf'": "Has anybody read this book? Inasmuch as the book reveals Obama to be a flabbergasting lunatic, I gather the answer is no. Obama is about to be our next president: You might want to take a peek. If only people had read 'Mein Kampf' … "

Thomann might have done well to keep in mind the adage, well-known among participants in Internet chat groups, that in any discussion, the first person to compare his or her opponent to Hitler or the Nazis automatically loses the argument.

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