Last week, Sarah Palin was burbling on about blood libel. This week, Rep. Steve Cohen a Democrat from Tennessee, said the following nutty thing on the House floor about health-care reform: "They [Republicans] say it's a government takeover of health care, a big lie just like Goebbels." He followed that gem up with:
"The Germans said enough about the Jews and the people believed it and you had the Holocaust."
I would like nothing better than to be self-righteous. I feel I could be that exceedingly well, and with conviction. But it's very difficult to work up a real lather of complacent self-congratulation and sorrowful reproachfulness when it's not just the people whose politics you dislike who are rushing about comparing their opponents to Nazis. The Republicans have a simultaneously terrifyingly effective and rudimentary propaganda machine ("This health-care plan will kill old people and take your guns away. Are you in favour of killing old people and having your guns taken away?"), but it doesn't seem necessary to call it Goebbelsian. Or to suggest that if people believe what the Republicans are saying about health-care reform, we're in for some kind of Holocaust.
Are there really people out there who hear such analogies and think: "My God! The Republicans/Democrats are exactly like the Nazis! And the suffering of the Democrats/Republicans is indeed comparable to that of the Jews! In the next election, I'll be voting for Sarah Palin/Alec Baldwin"? And if there are, could they make a point of belonging only to one political party so that I could choose to support the other one and dedicate more time to feeling monstrously smug?
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