Always ready to throw kerosene on a cultural blaze, Republican quote-meister Newt Gingrich has decreed that those sponsoring a mosque in lower Manhattan are like Nazis.
"Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the holocaust museum in Washington," Gingrich insisted. So, explains Professor Gingrich (he used to teach at West Georgia College), the mosque should not be built.
Great stuff, eh? Muslims equal Nazis! So Americans are justified in hating Muslims, too! This is so liberating and empowering.
But wait. This analogy stuff is powerful. Gingrich knows that, which is why he uses it. Like any powerful tool, though, it can get away from even a seasoned practitioner of the analogical arts like Gingrich.
If al Qaeda were trying to put up a mosque in lower Manhattan, his analogy would be perfect. Then the people who viciously and unjustly caused widespread death and agony would be the ones creating a new building that seemed to mock the suffering of their victims.
But al Qaeda is not putting up the mosque. It's the Cordoba Initiative, a charitable organization which is dedicated to cultivating "multi-cultural and multi-faith understanding across minds and borders." Among its goals is to assist in the advancement of women in Muslim cultures
"Multi-culturual and multi-faith understanding" -- doesn't sound like the folks behind 9/11 to me.
So Gingrich's analogy is, well, completely wrong. But there is one that works.
Building the mosque in Lower Manhattan is like having a Lutheran peace group build a community center two blocks away from the Holocaust Museum. Any problem with that?
Gingrich needs to be careful. Like Glenn Beck, he could be coming down with a case of "Nazi Tourettes."