06 July 2005

The Nazi card

    No soup for you!
      The Soup Nazi
I don't know if I've said this already, but my new favorite political commentator is Keith Olbermann. His MSNBC blog is call Bloggermann, and his posts have a Jon Stewart sensibility that I really appreciate. One recent post I like was this one on the recent Nazi references by U.S. Senators Byrd, Santorum, and Durbin. Personally I don't think they should resign, as Olbermann suggests. But he's dead on here:
The Republicans are not the SS, and the Democrats are not the Gestapo, and Gitmo is not Buchenwald.
I like that he seeks to reign in the extreme rhetoric that makes enlightened debate so difficult these days. And I think both sides are guilty here.

To be sure, we can be to P.C. about the term. I had no problem when Seinfeld introduced the Soup Nazi. I came accross this L.A. Times commentary that speaks to this issue.

I don't know where the line is. Going back to the three Senators, here's my take. I thought Byrd's comments were okay. He was talking about strategies the Nazis used to gain power and drawing (IMHO) fair comparisons to our goverment. As much as I dislike Santorum, I didn't think he was calling Democrats Nazis, he was making an analogy, albeit a stupid one.

Durbin, I think, crossed the line. He made the direct comparison the others did not. By implying that Guantanamo Bay interrogators acted like Nazis, he failed on two levels. First, he was just plain wrong. The worst actions of the interrogators were nothing close to what the Nazis did routinely. Second, in making this comparison he undermined his own cause. He lost credibility on the issue and, in doing so, failed to address the real and dangerous situation in Gitmo.

That's a mistake we can't afford to make.

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