Posted on February 23, 2005
Libs specialize in specious comparisons
On the February 2nd broadcast of an MSNBC show called After Hours, which aired later the same night as the president's State of the Union Address, liberal actress and radio host Janeane Garofalo accused congressional Republicans of being Nazis. Or else the Iraqi voters were the ones she was calling Nazis. Anyway, there must have been Nazis around somewhere. Of that much, she was sure.
Garofalo was upset by a group of Republicans who showed up at the president's speech with ink on their fingers, in a show of unity with the Iraqis who had voted in that country's first democratic election. "The inked fingers and the position of them ... signaling in this manner," she said, mimicking a Nazi salute, "as if they have solidarity with the Iraqis who braved physical threats against their lives to vote as if somehow these inked-fingered Republicans have something to do with that."
Put aside the fact that the inked-fingered Republicans have plenty to do with it. It was the gesture that showed why Garofalo's one of the nation's leading liberals, because it displayed her expertise in that treasured liberal art form, the specious comparison. One of the ways in which liberals establish their credentials is in their willingness to make the most preposterous comparisons imaginable, based on the tiniest and most irrelevant fragments of information. The congressmen who paid tribute to the Iraqi voters held their hands in the air, and Nazis held their hands in the air while saluting Hitler. Ergo, congressional Republicans are Nazis. So, therefore, must be those Iraqis who made similar gestures to show that they'd voted.
That's not a bad effort for a relative neophyte, but she could stand to learn a few things from veteran liberals like Jesse Jackson, who in his 1992 convention speech referred to King Herod as "the Dan Quayle of his day." Get it? Quayle had opposed the creation of a particular fictitious baby, therefore he's got a lot in common with the man who ordered the most infamous mass infanticide in history.
Jackson was also the one who compared the butterfly ballot controversy to the "Bloody Sunday" attacks against peaceful voting rights demonstrators 35 years earlier. Both of these were examples of "disenfranchisement," don't you know. So, the way Jackson sees things, genuine victims of violent political suppression are pretty much indistinguishable from confused cranks who don't understand how to vote. It takes a real artist to pull off a comparison like that with a straight face.
The real classics, though, are those comparisons that cut both ways, by apologizing for genuine villains at the same time that they insult the speakers' enemies. One of the most successful among these, and one that is popular among college faculty, is the whitewashing of the Tiananmen Square massacre by comparing it to Kent State. Dead students = dead students. To a liberal, no other information is necessary.
A more recent example is the argument that Osama's terrorists are basically the same as the militia who fought in our Revolutionary War. This moral equivalence was most colorfully explained by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D, Ohio), who identified both parties as "non-nation-state fighters with religious purpose."
The most ubiquitous of the specious liberal comparisons is the one between George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler, who are alike in that they ... um ... probably each gagged on a pretzel at some point in their respective lives. At least that would be enough to satisfy the folks at MoveOn.org.
But why let liberals have all the fun? We can play this game, too.
For example, Benito Mussolini was known to shout and gesticulate wildly during his speeches, to the point where he subjected himself to ridicule -- just like Howard Dean, after the Iowa caucuses.
Since his arrest, Saddam Hussein has been writing poetry. Jesse Jackson rhymes a lot. He also wears a mustache, and has a son in an important governmental position. Coincidence? I think not.
Osama bin Laden is very tall, and he's caused a lot of destruction. Interestingly, nobody has ever seen both him and Janet Reno at the same time.
John Edwards promised that if he and John Kerry had been elected, handicapped people would have gotten out of their wheelchairs and walked. Hitler had a plan to eliminate disabilities also.
Hitler represented Germany, although he wasn't from there. Hillary Clinton represents New York. She's not from there, either.
Last July, the Democrats held their national convention. It was in Massachusetts, where lots of people were gathered, and many accusations were made. Those same things were true of the Salem witch trials.
The NAACP has announced that it is not going to cooperate with the Internal Revenue Service. Al Capone, the Julian Bond of his day, made the same decision.
Mao had a little red book. Bill Clinton has a little black book. Nuff said.
Charles Manson is a Californian who opposes capital punishment and has crazy eyes, not unlike House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
John Wilkes Booth was an actor who opposed a Republican president during a time of war. So is Janeane Garofalo.
If a conservative went around seriously making comparisons like these, he'd be universally derided as a lunatic. The only reason he'd be invited on cable talk shows would be for comic relief. Conversely, a liberal can go on television and make ridiculous statements that would get any non-liberal laughed off the set, and barely even elicit a reaction.
Since there is no constructive reason to correct liberals when they make these inane assertions, most people's inclination is to humor them. ("Yes, Janeane. Nazis did stick their hands in the air. Good observation.") Unfortunately, this lets them walk away thinking they've made some kind of a point, but what else can you do?
You can't just go around contradicting liberals, you know. If you point out that the inked-fingered Republicans are not Nazis, then you are defending the invasion of Iraq. That places you in opposition to the United Nations. I mean, just who do you think you are, Slobodan Milosevic?
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