It's barely one week into August and already Nancy Pelosi and Rush Limbaugh are attacking their respective foes with "swastika" imagery and "Nazi" rhetoric. With Labor Day especially late this year, it's looking like it will be a very long hot summer.
Based on the early moments, both sides deserve to lose: They are both guilty of violating the addendum to Godwin's Law. The Law itself basically says that "As a [given] discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches." But, as we noted, this public battle is still in its early stages. That's where the corollary to Godwin comes in: Whoever makes the Hitler/Nazi comparison has officially "lost" the debate.
Well, first Pelosi stated that she saw some health care protesters at a townhall meeting were "carrying swastikas." In fact, it turned out that an anti-reform protesters was carrying a sign with the universal "no" sign -- a circle with a red slash over a swastika. So, Pelosi managed to -- accidentally? -- charge protesters with advocating "fascism," when they were protesting against it (or what they saw as a form of it in proposed health-care plans).
That gave Limbaugh the opportunity to run down the many ways that the Democratic agenda -- and especially the health-care initiative are Nazi-ish:
Well, the Nazis were against big business -- they hated big business. And of course we all know that they were opposed to Jewish capitalism. They were insanely, irrationally against pollution. They were for two years mandatory voluntary service to Germany. They had a whole bunch of make-work projects to keep people working, one of which was the Autobahn. They were against cruelty and vivisection of animals, but in the radical sense of devaluing human life, they banned smoking. They were totally against that. They were for abortion and euthanasia of the undesirables, as we all know, and they were for cradle-to-grave nationalized healthcare.
Of course, there are any number of radical ideologies that one can point to and find similarities in American policies. Gee, Iran and Iraq went to war for eight years. The United States invaded Iraq -- so it must be like the Iranian theocracy (yes, of course, some liberals actually said that of the Iraq War and the religious right that supported George W. Bush).
Now, in the backdrop of all this is the question of which side is getting aggressive in the town hall meetings. The White House started out calling them mobs. Violence later broke out in a couple of places. Conservatives accused SEIU union members of beating up an African-American anti-reform protester.
The temperatures are getting higher in early August -- and there are big stakes at play here. If some form of national health care is passed, there is no turning back. Once a program is created, it becomes almost impossible to remove it.
Regardless of superficial "platform" comparisons of Nazis and liberal Democrats, let's not forget what the Nazis are known for: Concentration camps, pogroms, launching a plan to conquer Europe -- and eventually the rest of the world. Murdering six million in the Holocaust -- plus millions more in the full war! That's the true Nazi "record." For any Americans, regardless of their party or ideology, to call -- or imply -- other Americans are "Nazis" because of a policy dispute is despicable.
Both sides deserve to "lose" this debate.