A liberal Washington Post columnist laments today of the loss of civility in the public discourse. Strange that he is suddenly outraged that Americans would dare call Obama a socialist or a fascist, given that Bush-Hitler comparisons were widespread during the previous administration.
Liberals in the media spent the summer and early fall bemoaning signs at town hall protests and tea party rallies calling Obama a socialist or communist comparing him to Hitler (incidentally, many of these signs were actually created by supporters of uber-leftist Lyndon LaRouche, as reported by Seton Motley here and here). These pundits had no such admonitions for signs at anti-war rallies during the Bush administration comparing him to Hitler and the Devil, and calling the president a fascist.
So the Post's E.J. Dionne's complaints about the loss of civility in the debate over federal politics fit right in with the narrative liberal pundits have been pushing since last year: comparing an American president to a murderous dictator is unacceptable...if that president is a Democrat.
Wrote Dionne in The New Republic yesterday,
The most surprising and disappointing aspect of our politics is how little pushback there has been against the vile, extremist rhetoric that has characterized such a large part of the anti-Obama movement.
President Obama's administration has largely ignored those accusing him of "fascism" and "communism," presumably believing that restraint in defense of dignity is no vice.
Dionne quotes former Congressman Jim Leach, R-Iowa, to illustrate the horrific degradation of the national discourse:
There is, after all, a difference between holding a particular tax or spending or health care view, and asserting that an American who supports another approach or is a member of a different political party is an advocate of an 'ism' of hate that encompasses gulags and concentration camps.
Might that same characterization have applied when MoveOn.org considered airing an ad contrasting images of Bush and Hitler, and stating "What were war crimes in 1945 is foreign policy in 2003"? Searches on Google News and Nexis show no complaints from Dionne about the petty Bush-is-a-Nazi attacks that pervaded his presidency.
The five latter years of the Bush presidency were rife with Nazi comparisons. As Byron York reported in 2003,
"It's going a bit far to compare the Bush of 2003 to the Hitler of 1933," writes Dave Lindorff in "Bush and Hitler: The Strategy of Fear," which appeared in February on the far-left site Counterpunch.org. "Bush simply is not the orator that Hitler was. But comparisons of the Bush administration's fear- mongering tactics to those practiced so successfully and with such terrible results by Hitler and Goebbels are not at all out of line."
Liberal author Wayne Madsen, reported York, accused Bush of "borrowing liberally from Hitler's play book," and said that the Nazi dictator "would be proud that an American president is emulating him in so many ways."
The American Thinker also documented scores of Bush-Nazi comparisons. NPR's Garrison Keillor called Republicans "brownshirts in pinstripes." George Soros said Bush "reminds me of the Germans," as "my experiences under Nazi and Soviet rule have sensitized me."
Hugh Pearson, writing in Newsday, compared the 2004 Republican National Convention to "Nazi rallies held in Germany," Republicans who display American flags to Nazis who were "obsessed with endless displays of swastikas," and the war on terrorism to "pre-emptive war to protect the self-interests of the Third Reich."
Even elected officials have toed the Republicans are like Nazis line. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., referring to the 1994 Republican Revolution, stated, "When I compare this to what happened in Germany, I hope you see the similarities to what is happening to us."
He also compared the GOP's drive for tax cuts to the Ku Klux Klan's racist ideology. "It's about race and a certain costume change. Where once it was the sheets and hoods of the Klan, it's now the black suits and red ties of conservative politicians. It's not 'spic' or 'nigger' anymore. They say, 'Let's cut taxes.' "
One must wonder where Dionne has been for the past decade or so that he is only now starting to notice classless and crude comparisons of an American president to a murderous dictator, and a major political party to violent racists and genocidal regimes.
From protest rallies to advertisements from far-left advocacy groups to statements from Democratic legislators, liberals have never hesitated to smear prominent conservatives as members of this hate group or that murderous regime. Dionne and his fellow lefty pundits only seem to notice such characterizations, or find them objectionable, when they are directed at a Democrat.