Are Nazi and Hitler comparisons -- and invoking Holocaust imagery -- ever acceptable in political discourse? Of course I think the answer is no, period. And we've always made clear that such comparisons are not okay for anyone, on either side of the aisle.
But these days the G.O.P. base has gone all-in when it comes to Hitler references and calling our president a Nazi. At times it seems funny on the surface, with the de facto leader of the insane birthers movement on the Colbert Report comparing the Obama Administration to Nazi Germany -- and of course Rush Limbaugh has long since gotten in on the act.
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But it's not funny; it's profoundly troubling, and it takes us several steps beyond just a coarsening of our political discourse. At these too-well-organized "mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore" town hall meetings around the country this August, more and more of these disturbing Nazi comparisons are cropping up -- and they all seem to be coming from the heart of the Republican base. And it has to stop.
I strive to stick to my principles on this one, and my organization calls out folks on both sides of the aisle who engage in inappropriate Holocaust comparisons and Nazi rhetoric. But the shoe is clearly on the Republican foot right now, and it has been for quite some time. So my final question is this: when is the Republican Party going to formally say "enough is enough" with the wildly disturbing Nazi invective being hurled by its base?
Follow David A. Harris on Twitter: www.twitter.com/NJDC