January 06, 2004

The Mustache is the Massage

A good column from Jonah Goldberg on the ubiquitous Bush = Hitler topos. Of course, this comparison reflects poor judgment and willful (we must assume) ignorance of history; and propagating it is of questionable merit as a political strategy on behalf of any Democratic candidate (with friends like these...) Does it also amount to a kind of Holocaust revisionism or denial, as Goldberg and the Wiesenthal Center say? Only in a sense, and the seriousness of the charge is almost totally undermined by the frivolity of the entire matter; but it's an observation that should (yet probably won't) give these people pause.

Those links to the moveon.org clips come from rnc.org, and moveon.org has complained about the Republican Party's use of them-- a good illustration of how such presentations have practically no other function than potential use as propaganda by the other team. Well-done, fellows. The clips were submitted by individuals, and were not among those selected from a pool of 1500 submissions for consideration as a moveon.org TV ad. The spokesman for moveon.org conceded that they were "in poor taste" and should have been "filtered" out, and he "deeply regretted" that they had "slipped through."

One might have hoped for a disavowal of the substance rather than the mere aesthetics or propriety, but never mind. The point is, if you keep saying it, some of it is bound to slip through. Our world will never lack for folks, of all persuasions, who believe that a stylishly-packaged lie is justified in a good cause; and there certainly is a thriving market for Bush/Hitler iconography.

Hyperbole, I believe, has a legitimate place in political discourse. Comparing Amerikkka to Nazi Germany is a venerable tradition on both bi-polar fringes of American popular culture. There's nothing new about Bush = Hitler, nor anything particularly surprising or novel about those clips-- you've seen it all before if you've had the slightest contact with any of our various counter-cultures over the years. People get a kick out of it, for reasons of their own. But if such clips/tshirts/stickers/etc. really do undermine, by association, the effectiveness of the more legitimate anti-Bush arguments (and I think they do, slightly), "sell it now, filter it out later" won't work. Bush may well be a Bad President, and his domestic policies may be unwise, and the Iraq war may have been a bad idea, but everyone knows, really, that he isn't any kind of Hitler. It's so fun to say it, though, that some people just can't help themselves. They should cut it out. There is not even the slightest chance that they will. So expect more "own goals" of this type, more argument-by-drawn-on-mustache, more leaky screens, and more deep regrets in future.

Posted by Dr. Frank at January 6, 2004 07:43 PM | TrackBack

"...but everyone knows, really, that he isn't any kind of Hitler."

I kinda think you're letting 'everyone' off a little easy. I mean, some people honestly believe they once saw Sasquatch at a diner, and some people honestly believe that Bush and Hitler are morally comparable. They really, really do.

And if they don't... well, that's one strong-brewed cup o' hyperbole.

Posted by: geoff at January 6, 2004 07:53 PM

Okay, for all of you a little vague on the Bush=Nazi conspiracy theory, follow the web-link that I have posted. Note: take all this with a grain of salt because if you probe around enough, somebody could probably link you to Hitler, Stalin , Napolean, Mousselini or some other notorious historical character.


Posted by: Channon at January 7, 2004 01:17 AM

"...but everyone knows, really, that he isn't any kind of Hitler" - yet.

I see the potential for Bush to become like Hitler. The guy used to shoot BBs at his brother and blow up frogs with firecrackers. His mother said he was incorriagable. People say, "boys will be boys", but those are also the signs of a sociopath.

Bush clearly fits the profile of a sociopath: torturing of small animals, constant lying, theft, aggression towards others, cunning (he created the infamous Wilie Horton campaign), lacking a personal sense of responsibility ("Fool me once..."), impulsive, quarrelsome, lack of remorse ("I will never apologize for the United States"), alcoholism and drug use, and pushed into a position of authority. He has a short fuse. Protest zones were created because he cannot handle any type of criticism. The only things he lacks in the profile department is excellent verbal skills and a quick mind, though those who know him say when he is articulate as long as he is discussing a scheme.

He appoints a bunch of whacked out warmongers as his advisors. He mocks the American public for their stupidity. His election is all but reassured because of Diebold and whatever scheme Jeb has cooked up in Florida again - if there is even an election.

While all sorts of pundits are blasting moveon.org for the clips, no one mentions that Grandpa Prescott Bush was sanctioned for Trading with the Enemy eight months after the war started. (The Act was created with his company in mind.) He was directly involved with work camp laborers and funding the Nazi war machine.

"In 1980, when George H.W. Bush was elected vice president, he placed his father's family inherence in a blind trust. The trust was managed by his old friend and quail hunting partner, William "Stamps" Farish III. Bush's choice of Farish to manage the family wealth is quite revealing in that it demonstrates that the former president might know exactly where some of his inheritance originated. Farish's grandfather, William Farish Jr., on March 25th, 1942, pleaded "no contest" to conspiring with Nazi Germany while president of Standard Oil in New Jersey. He was described by Senator Harry Truman in public of approaching "treason" for profiting off the Nazi war machine. Standard Oil, invested millions in IG Farben, who opened a gasoline factory within Auschwitz in 1940. The billions "Stamps" inherited had more blood on it then Bush, so the paper trail of UBC stock would be safe during his 12 years in presidential politics."


And I haven't even started in on Ashcroft's desire to round up all Middle Eastern men in this country.

I don't think the comparison to Hitler is unfair. I say this having lived and worked in West Berlin for three years. I used to each lunch in Einstein's old haunts. I worked in old Nazi buildigs. I saw people with tattoos on their wrists. I passed old buildings marred by bullet holes every day on my way to work. I also received a BA an MA while I was there. I had to read Mein Kampf (banned to Germans) for a history class.

The similarities are incredible. With moveon.org case, I think it's more of a case of shoot the messenger because the parallels are too eery. I don't care if shocks or offends people. It should. Bush is capable of so much worse and unless someone does something to wake up the sheep, our nation will dissolve into ruins. I don't think moveon or the filmakers should apologize for the ignorance of those offended by the ad. I'm offended every day by the scum sitting in the White House, but I don't hear many loud voices apologizing for putting Bush into office.

What does it say about a nation that worries more about a couple of commercials from a web site than the fact that there is a man who is looting the country and sending men and women off to die to enhance his future inheritance?

Posted by: Kelly at January 7, 2004 01:33 AM

Well, Kelly's got me convinced (especially with that firsthand expertise, "having lived and worked in West Berlin for three years" and all). Bush totally *is* Hitler!

Hold me.

Posted by: Blixa at January 7, 2004 02:48 AM

While the Bush Administration is dangerous, I think historical comparisons to Nazi Germany is going a little too far. How about the British Empire?

Posted by: Al at January 7, 2004 03:21 AM

"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."
-Herman Goering

We'll stop comparing Bush to Hitler when they stop acting like Nazis.

Posted by: Smoove B at January 7, 2004 04:32 PM


it is hard to take you seriously. Bush could become Hitler is absurd. He is not constantly lying (though this is a treasured myth of the left) - grasping at straws. You seem to forget that America was attacked (perhaps you were secretly happy?), so there goes the aggression. He's simply a Jacksonian: you start a war with us, we'll finish it. He has a strong sense of personal responsibility. For impulsive, see Dean, not Bush. His policies are carefully thought out (even though I don't agree that they are all good). He USED to be an alcoholic - do you not see the distinction? He was not pushed into a position of authority. Temper? Again, see Dean not Bush. His advisors are solid, and have the sense to see that we are at war (even if you don't). It is lefties, not Bush, who mock the public (are you seriously unaware of this? Wait, you do it YOURSELF: "wake up the sheep" (!?!)). Bush won the election by the rules of the election, but in any case, the recount shows that he would have won even had Gore got his recount anyway. Our enemies are militant Arabs, and mosques are being used for explicitly anti-American screeds, so it is natural to place them under increased scrutiny. But the only people being locked up are lawbreakers. Looting the country is such a ridiculous thing to say. Do you know the difference between a dictator and a president?
But the basic point is, you are evidently completely and totally ignorant of history. Bush = Hitler is so ridiculous and preposterous that anyone who believes it is incapable of reason anyway, anyone who believes it simply ignores those pesky things called facts, and lives and breathes the party line without reflection (but probably breathes murderous threats on dissenters). (And here I am thinking to myself that I have just wasted 10 minutes writing this post.)
By the way, lefties have been equating conservatives with Hitler etc. for decades. It's the same old line, recycled at every election. The country is always just about to be wrecked by conservatives, just on the brink of disaster. But don't worry, we revolutionaries have just the thing! Too bad the sheep are too stupid to see it. (Well, let's just force it down their throats then. Voting? We can't let sheep vote. Bring on the revolution! It worked so well in so many other countries! Oops, guess not. Another fact to suppress.)
If the country is in any danger from totalitarianism, it's from the left, not the right.

Posted by: randy at January 7, 2004 04:33 PM

Well, Kelly, I guess I was wrong: some people really do take the Bush/Hitler equivalency seriously and literally. How about that? I really like your blog and your pictures, but I have to say I don't find the psychological profile, nor the notion that GWB has inherited a Nazi-emulating gene through his patrician bloodline, very persuasive. The message of those ads is that the Bush administration is trying to turn the USA into a totalitarian state on the model of Nazi Germany, that current policies are morally equivalent to the Nazi regime's war crimes, and that we're all doomed. It's not true. (Well, the part about being doomed may well be true; we'll just have to wait and see on that one.) I can't abandon my conviction that the vast, vast majority of those who, for whatever reason, are attracted to this pathological fantasy know deep down that it isn't real.

They are bad ads. People associated with them come off like lunatics. Because they kind of are, unless they're faking it. In which case those who really wish to see Bush defeated next year still ought to do everything they can to keep them as far away as possible from the instruments of mass media. They totally blew it this time in that regard. It's as "mass" as it gets. Expect it to be mentioned every single day on Fox news right up to the election. Fair or not, moveon.org is now indelibly stamped as "the far left organization who held the contest for the best Bush is Hitler ad." They're going to have to change their name or something. (Though it does provide the Democratic candidates with an opportunity for a Sista Soulja play-- if any of the campaigns were smart enough to do this, they could probably turn the screw-up to their advantage, though I'd recommend not holding your breath.)

As I said in my post, the Fascist Amerikkka rhetoric is nothing new; I learned to say all that stuff about Nixon almost before I could walk, and about Reagan some years later. Maybe I underestimate the number of people who, then and now, have considered this Fourth Reich fantasy literally to be reality; but most people realize that it is not reality. (Anyway, it turns out we were wrong about Nixon and Reagan. Third time's the charm, maybe.) Even if there is a great deal wrong with this country, and no matter how strenuously you disagree with the current administration's domestic and foreign policy: we have no death camps; we have no Gestapo; we have no plans to annex the world and transform reality and the human soul through population transfer and mass murder. If you think those things are coming down the pike, you're entitled to your opinion, but I just think you're wrong.

In any case, it's a bad strategy. The purpose of political advertising, as I understand it, is to persuade people to vote for your guy, rather than the opposite.

Posted by: Dr. Frank at January 7, 2004 05:26 PM

The annoying thing, to me, is the almost joyful excitement with which the Republicans (and Drudge, etc.) grab onto these lunatics' opinion/message and proclaim it as the new (disgusting, reprehensible) strategy of the left, when it's really a couple idiots who found a soapbox.

(I would attempt to say "no offense" to any present who think they're included in that grouping, but perhaps they should feel offended.)

It happens on both sides, though, so it's hard to complain too much. The Left really loves hearing Pat Buchanan, David Duke, Jerry Falwell, or whatever new right-wing crazy is out there proclaiming his message as the future of the Republican party.

I'm not sure exactly what you were hoping for, as far as a disavowal of their substance, but the release you linked does say "We do not support the sentiment expressed in the two Hitler submissions." That seems fairly clear to me. (Or was that a recent addition to the release?)

The finalist BushIn30Second.org commercials are worth checking out, though. I think the first, "Child's Pay" would be considered a well-done spot even by those who disagree with its message.

Posted by: Dave Bug at January 7, 2004 06:11 PM

This very thing is what turns me against the Democratic party as a whole. There is always some outlandish agenda or somebody making the most absurd accusations against the Republican party. Hillary Rhodam is the worst offender of this and the horrible part of that is that the Democratic caucus would give her the party nomination in a heartbeat if she were to run. This is most disturbing because how could the whole party get behind somebody who is a known liar, crook and perhaps even murderer such as herself and Bill? The Republican party would never as a whole back Jerry Fallwell or David Duke, but the Democratic party may very well one-day back Jerry Springer (Thank God he was born in England). I'm not saying that I like the Republican party, I just am in the opinion that they are the lesser of two evils. I would most likely vote Libertarian if the party could ever gather a candidate that would legitimately challenge a R or D nominee.

Posted by: Channon at January 7, 2004 06:28 PM

>we have no death camps

Well, yeah, not here, the death camp is at Gitmo.

The Red Cross is allowed little to no access, we have no idea what's happening there. Much like the German citizenry didn't necessarily know what was happening at German death camps.

>we have no Gestapo

For now... *cough*ashcroft*cough*

> we have no plans to annex the world and
> transform reality and the human soul through
> population transfer and mass murder.

How many civilians were killed in Iraq? Someone who kills four or five people is called a mass murderer- we killed thousands, what do we call that? Mission Accomplished.

The Bush administration has a list of countries they want to invade, if Bush is elected in '04 that's the mandate to invade, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity. The only limitation is the number of troops we have. Time to reinstate the draft...

Bush has proven over and over throughout his presidency that he just doesn't possess the candlepower for the job. The man can't even read a newspaper. So, yeah, in that way Bush and Hitler are very different. Hitler wasn't dumb. Demented, twisted, evil, and repugnant yes, but not dumb.

I'd compare Bush to Hitler circa 1939- I don't want to give him the time to develop into a Hitler of 1945.

"I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator," Adolf Hitler.

"God told me to strike at Al Qa'ida and I struck them. And then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did. With the might of God on our side we will triumph," George W. Bush.

That's something I've never understood, killing in the name of God.

Who's God's next target?

Posted by: Smoove B at January 7, 2004 06:34 PM

Someone's giving mustache massages?

Posted by: Duncan at January 7, 2004 06:41 PM

>"There is always some outlandish agenda or
>somebody making the most absurd accusations
>against the Republican party."
>"how could the whole party get behind somebody
>who is a known liar, crook and perhaps even
>murderer such as herself and Bill?"

Surely you see how stupid you sound here.

You just accused the former president and first lady of being murderers, and you're upset that Republicans are unfairly attacked?

You are truly demented.

The fact that you don't even know you're a Republican doubles your idiocy.

Posted by: Smoove B at January 7, 2004 06:43 PM

Time to pass the ether-soaked rag to the next guy, Smoove. You seem to have had your fill. Next you'll be saying that Ashcroft is this season's Himmler, or that Bush's plans for his next term include invading other countries so he can turn them all into Christia--


Posted by: geoff at January 7, 2004 06:45 PM

Some things that make the Bush Administration different from Nazi Germany are the lack of systematized extermination of a population within its borders, territorial expansion, and violent suppression of political opposition.

I say that the Bush Administration if anything is closer to 19th century British imperialism than Nazi Germany. As a world hegemon, it uses economic and militaristic might in diplomacy, it's imperialistic endeavors are achieved through culture and war, and the massive lost of life would be categorized as collateral damage rather than systematized extermination.

Posted by: Al at January 7, 2004 06:52 PM

Yeah, Ann Coulter says we should invade other countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity and somehow I'm the crazy one?

Bite me, geoff.

Posted by: Smoove B at January 7, 2004 06:55 PM

What I wonder is, who was the Hitler Figure, before Hitler? How in the world did frenzied partisans engage in paranoiac, demonizing demagoguery in the Pre-Hitler Age?

Like, a hundred+ years ago, did people go around with signs saying "TAFT = BISMARCK"? "TIPPECANOE = BONAPARTE"? What? And in Germany before the Nazis' rise, what came in the second half of the "HITLER = ______" equation? "HITLER = COOLIDGE"?

Or does the Hitler Figure have to be German? have a moustache? What are the requirements here?

About those moustaches, you gotta feel sorry for guys with 'em. Basically, they can't be President anymore. Who was the last Moustachioed President? Teddy Roosevelt?

Damn Hitler and his evil legacy: ruining moustachioed guys' chances to be President for all time.

Posted by: Blixa at January 7, 2004 07:10 PM

I dunno, some Pharaohs from the Old Testament? Or maybe Dracula.

Posted by: Smoove B at January 7, 2004 07:16 PM

I wasn't aware Ann Coulter was setting policy these days, Smoove B.

Meditation and discussion on elected leaders and facial hair, for anyone who's interested: http://www.plastic.com/article.html;sid=03/11/19/18051958. Did you know that only 9 of the U.S.'s 43 presidents have had facial hair? I love the internet. It tells me things.

Posted by: byrneout at January 7, 2004 07:20 PM


I like it!

Posted by: Blixa at January 7, 2004 07:20 PM

> I wasn't aware Ann Coulter was setting policy
> these days, Smoove B.

You're probably not aware of a lot of things, byrneout.

Posted by: Smoove B at January 7, 2004 07:25 PM

Dave, you're right on all points. The "Child's Pay" ad is a great, effective ad. Hard to disagree with the message either.

As for the disavowal, "we do not support the sentiment" is a bit passive and tepid, and anyway in context I read the statement as saying, in effect, "we do not support the sentiment *because* it's in poor taste," rather than because it's inaccurate. How about: "those clips were totally crazy. what the hell were those people thinking? We're not all crackpots over here, honest." The strongest words are reserved for the RNC for posting them in a misleading context.

That complaint is a fair one, but if someone can "smear" you merely by posting your own material, you're in trouble. (I know they didn't actually produce the material, and they killed it once they realized someone outside their circle was going to see it, but at minimum someone over there should have realized that having their logo on that ad wasn't such a hot idea. They really screwed up.) Now they're trying to walk the line between presenting a mainstream-friendly face and not alieniating those of their constituents, who, whether they believe it literally or not, think all that Nazi stuff is pretty cool-looking and kind of like to have it around. When what they really should be doing is locking them in some kind of soundproof cabinet so they can talk amongst themselves till after the election.

Posted by: Dr. Frank at January 7, 2004 07:26 PM

Things I've learned from this thread:

-Taft, not TR, was the last President to have successfully surmounted the Moustachioed Glass Ceiling

-John Ashcroft has a "desire" to round up all Arabs (and, in related news, some posters here can read minds)

-Bush isn't Hitler, that's such hyperbole, because, you see, it's really Howard Dean or maybe Hillary Rodham who is Hitler

-Gitmo's a "death camp" (for all we know). Heck there could be aliens there (for all we know)

-Ann Coulter sets U.S. foreign policy with the sarcastic zingers in her columns

-Dr. Frank has an admirable amount of patience dealing with this stuff :)

Posted by: Blixa at January 7, 2004 07:41 PM


Posted by: Smoove B at January 7, 2004 07:49 PM

Oh no! That durn BBC is speculatin' again! Em, get Dorothy and the dog into the cellar, lickety-split! We "could" be in for one helluva storm!

Posted by: geoff at January 7, 2004 08:10 PM

Smoove is exactly what gives Dems. a bad name. He is combatitive and results to personal attacks when confronted or contradicted. As far as a Gestapo or any kind of Nazi rule goes, it is impossible because we in America have a checks and balances system, not a Military Dictatorship led by the Fuhrer or Kaiser. The prisoners at Guantanamo bay are prisoners of war and are subject to trial by military court/tribunal and are not in any way shape or form comparable to a Nazi concentration camp. The military has a different judicial system for military matters, but a soldier is not immune to civil law either. If a soldier rapes a civilian, he will be dealt with outside of the military (as well as inside probably), but if he rapes another soldier then the civil courts can not touch him, he is at the will of the military tribunal. Go rent "A Few Good Men" for an example of this. Being liberal is one thing, but going whack-o is another. It's people like Smoove who spawn our Lee Harvey Oswalds,John Hinckleys and Timothy McVeys of the world.

Posted by: Channon at January 7, 2004 08:39 PM

The report didn't originate with the BBC. I'd give you a Fox News link but as you surely know they don't cover the bad news for the Bush administration.

Reprint of the original Courier-Mail Story (since archived on their site):

As you can see the US was floating this idea as a trial balloon. We have no way of knowing whether or not it's been implemented. Your trust in the administration to be good little boys and girls and to do no wrong is gravely misplaced.

Months after these reports they let dozens of the prisoners go. Turned out they weren't terrorists after all. Oops. Well, a speedy trial would have gotten that taken care of. Oh well, screw them, a year in a prison camp probably will make them love us all the more, right? Besides, they lived in a crappy country- probably was fun being in a box getting three squares a day compared to living in some hovel worshipping some kind of pagan God... not like we got here in America- White, bearded, kindly. Yeah, that's what I'm talking about! Can I get an amen?!?

Posted by: Smoove B at January 7, 2004 08:42 PM

Turned out they weren't terrorists after all.

I was under the impression that Gitmo was for holding enemy combatants taken in Afghanistan, not "terrorists". None of them are "terrorists" per se. I mean, some or all of them *could* be terrorists, *too*, I suppose - some of them could be jazz musicians - but that is not why they are being held nor (if discovered not to be terrorists) would that necessarily have gotten them released.

Posted by: Blixa at January 7, 2004 08:46 PM

>it is impossible because we in America have a
>checks and balances system, not a Military
>Dictatorship led by the Fuhrer or Kaiser.

You obviously haven't read what Tommy Franks said recently about the likely suspension/dissolution of the constitution in the event of a major attack.


>The prisoners at Guantanamo bay are prisoners
>of war

No, actually, they're not.

They are enemy combatants, a new designation invented by this president which allows him to ignore the Geneva convention.

It's obvious why you support the president, you don't know what the hell you're talking about. He makes you feel smart, doesn't he?

>He is combatitive and results to personal
>attacks when confronted or contradicted.

>It's people like Smoove who spawn our Lee Harvey
>Oswalds,John Hinckleys and Timothy McVeys of the

Speaking of personal attacks... care to expand on this theory of yours that I inspire all the evil in the world?

I've never killed/injured anyone, that's not something the people you named above or George W. Bush can claim.

I've never even attempted to kill a president.

Gosh, I might run for mayor on that slogan!

Posted by: Smoove B at January 7, 2004 09:00 PM

>I was under the impression that Gitmo was for
>holding enemy combatants taken in Afghanistan,
>not "terrorists".

Well, Rummy thinks they're terrorists.

"These people are committed terrorists."

So, either he's wrong or you are.

If you know better you might want to give him a ring.

Posted by: Smoove B at January 7, 2004 09:07 PM

Smoove B,

We could both be right. They're held at Gitmo as enemy combatants, like I said to you and you said to Channon. They could in theory every last one of them be "committed terrorists", like Rummy's statement implies if/when taken literally. (And I'd bet that at least some of them are - and you wouldn't take that bet.) The two are not mutually exclusive.

I'm not sure, but I would certainly guess that there are at least some there who are not "committed terrorists" and that Rummy's statement was an overgeneralization, not that the fact that Rummy issued an overgeneralizing statement really matters one way or another. I'd certainly be willing to give him a ring and tell him he's overgeneralizing in some of his rhetoric, but should otherwise do everything exactly the same, if that will make you happy. ;-P

Posted by: Blixa at January 7, 2004 10:14 PM

C'mon gimmie a break!!! We all know that in the event of an emergency the MARSHALL LAW can be declared, but I believe the only person to have ever done that was Abraham Lincoln. Smoove is right that I do support Bush because there is nobody better in the running. As far as all of his delusional conspiracy theories go, well I must not comment any more on those, because it's just plain laughable. Time to just take a deep breath and pity those who believe all of this paranoia and National Enquirer rag-bait. I'm putting an end to this, by not responding to any more of his deluded/paranoid rantings, it only encourages him further....geez......

Posted by: Channon at January 7, 2004 11:38 PM

I think the "tactical" concern is overstated. In my opinion, this sort of thing doesn't turn people toward Bush so much as just completely fail to turn people away from him, but that's just my opinion. In any case, Bush = Hitler is crazy. Clearly, Bush = 1 part Mike Hammer, 2 parts Willie Ames.

Posted by: spacetoast at January 8, 2004 12:02 AM

Would that be "8 is enough" era Willie Aames, "Zapped!" era Willie Aames, or "Charles in Charge" era Willie Aames??

C'mon, it makes a difference.

Me, I say "Zapped!"

Posted by: Blixa at January 8, 2004 12:34 AM

oh! oh! I forgot about born-again superhero Willie Aames. Duh! My bad

Posted by: Blixa at January 8, 2004 12:36 AM

Thank you Dr. Frank for making all the people argue with comments...It's a great way to break up my day of listening to people bitch. =)

Posted by: Amy 80 at January 8, 2004 12:43 AM

Spacetoast, you're right that the tactical angle can be overstated, but it seems to me the benefit to the Republicans isn't that it turns people towards Bush, but that it can be produced as "evidence" that those who support the Dean candidacy include a sizable number of extremist weirdoes. (These purported numbers may be considerably inflated, but then inflating such numbers is the business of politics. On the other hand, when you give the Bush = Hitler types the benefit of the doubt and state that most of them aren't crazy enough actually to believe that the soul of Adolf Hitler is literally inhabiting the body of George Bush, that it's hyperbole or some kind of theatre-of-the-absurd stunt in the punk rock/anarchist "fuck shit up" spirit, a couple of them will invariably step forward to assure you soberly that, yes, indeed, that is precisely, literally and entirely just what they mean and believe. Bush is in fact Hitler, we've never been to the moon, the earth is flat, and the Holocaust never happened, etc.)

Portraying normal Democrats as weirdoes from another planet based on the antics of a few colorful individuals has been a part of the GOP strategy ever since I've been paying attention, and they usually get a lot of help from their opponents. This is arguably a more impressive assist than most.

It's just plausible that some swing voters or centrist Democrats might find the Hitler stuff offensive, or weird, enough to make them see the race in a slightly different light and lose some enthusiasm for the "insurgency," or be reluctant to associate themselves with it. Or maybe not. But I assume that's why rnc.org has worked so hard to publicize the clips. I don't think it's a huge factor in the general scheme of things, but it will be a factor every time the name moveon.org is mentioned in the mainstream media from now till they cease to exist. Just watch Fox News the next time Al Gore gives a speech for 'em, if he dares. In that sense, for them, it certainly was a tactical blunder.

Posted by: Dr. Frank at January 8, 2004 01:16 AM

Amy 80, THAT was hilarious. I know what you mean!

Posted by: Channon at January 8, 2004 02:04 AM

Amy 80, THAT was hilarious. I know what you mean!

Posted by: Channon at January 8, 2004 02:05 AM

I also think the "____ = HITLER" game is played out. It can be applied to plenty of outr leaders who get their hands dirty, past and prsent. it all depends on how far you stretch your coiencidences. As much as i don't like Bush, I didn't even smirk at the ad. it just tries to hard. By the way, it's pretty uninspired compared to all the "All Your Base"s and The "Terrible Secret of Space"s out there on the net...

Posted by: mike at January 8, 2004 02:50 AM

I can't frickin' believe I missed out on an internet discussion involving Willie Aames.

That happens, what, once every couple years? Dammit to hell...

Posted by: geoff at January 8, 2004 03:18 AM

Dr. Frank-

My at a glance theory is that for this sort of thing to have an impact on a hypothetical voter, that voter would have to satisfy, for starters, something like the following conditions:

(a) Not have a prior commitment to be catalyzed by this sort of thing (+ be fairly steadfastly centrist).

(b) Feel like it (this sort of thing) was a significantly general sentiment. In practice this would amount to, say, being genuinely put out by it (this sort of thing) on a daily basis.

Otherwise, I think it's too indirect.

Then, I think (a) is pretty easily satisfied by a lot of folks, but (b) shrinks that population significantly. If I were carving it up demographically, I'd probably start with a certain kind of (cantankerously) aged punk rocker who lives in the bay area where "Bush = Hitler" is the Chronicle headline everyday, but I'm not sure where I'd go from there. Anyway, my sense is that (b) is not very big, and that most non-cloistered types don't experience the thing as significantly general. But that's just how it looks to me at a glance and I may indeed be completely mistaken.


I don't distinguish the various periods of Willie Ames. I think of him as kind of a composite in the Opie Cunningham vein.

Posted by: spacetoast at January 8, 2004 05:20 AM

whether they are considered "enemy combatants," "terrorists" or "prisoners of war" is immaterial.

According to the Geneva Convention, when the label is in question, a tribunal is convened to determine their status.

Until that status is determined, they are to be TREATED as prisoners of war.

As prisoners of war, they are entitled to be repatriated at the cessation of hostilities.

Hostilities in Iraq or Afghanistan have not ceased.

Posted by: rob at January 8, 2004 05:42 PM

The truth about gossip which all Mr Frank is, is that is talking about himself, No President Bush who hasn't the slighest thing in common with being a sociopath or likness to Hitler. But on the other hand Mr. Frank does.

A gossip is always talking about him or herself, not someone else. So cure uourself mr. Frank.

If you had every dealth with a real sociopath, you would not be so grandoise and glibe in your frivous and false remarks. One thing that is keeping sociopaths like your getting their jollies is people like you Mr, Frank. I suggest uou get a life and start being honest--that would be a life change for you.

Posted by: Brooke at March 1, 2006 04:09 AM
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