Memo to Pundits and Pols: No More Holocaust Comparisons
Posted on Jul 5, 2006
That’s the advice of a Washington Post reporter, who says that no one should ever compare anything to the Nazis, Hitler or the Holocaust. Even if you’re talking, as Sen. Dick Durbin recently was, about the prisoner mistreatment scandal at Gitmo, it will always backfire. Other examples:
FreeRepublic.com and Accuracy in Media pull the “Anne Frank card” on the N.Y. Times.
CNN Host Glenn Beck uses a Holocaust comparison for the N.Y. Times, too.
Someone should post a sign in the Senate cloakroom or wherever Important People Who Should Know Better will see it. The sign would warn politicians against comparing anything to the Nazis or Hitler or the Holocaust. These comparisons are not a good idea. Repeat : Not a good idea. It will only bring a massive headache, as Sen. Richard Durbin has learned (he’ll take that Tylenol IV drip now, thanks).
Durbin, the Democratic whip, became the latest politician who couldn’t make his point without comparing the matter at hand—the alleged mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba—with the methods of the Nazis (and those of Pol Pot and the Soviet gulags, too).
It prompted yet another episode in what has become a familiar Kabuki in American political discourse: Someone invokes the behavior of Nazis in some non-genocidal context. This is followed by an outcry (in which members of the opposing party are “saddened”), condemnation from the Anti-Defamation League, futile attempts by the speaker to “clarify” his remarks, repeated calls for him to apologize and, inevitably, some acknowledgment of regret, often tearful.