You always know you've struck gold when liberals react with hysteria and rage to something you've said. So I knew President Bush's speech at the Knesset last week was a barn burner before even I read it. Liberals haven't been this worked up since Rev. Jerry Falwell criticized a cartoon sponge.
Calling the fight against terrorism "the defining challenge of our time" -- which already confused liberals who think the defining struggle of our time is against Wal-Mart -- Bush said:
"Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."
The way liberals squealed, you'd think someone had mentioned Obama's ears. Summoning all their womanly anger, today's Neville Chamberlains denounced Bush, saying this was an unjustified attack on Obambi and, furthermore, that it's absurd to compare B. Hussein Obama's willingness to "talk" to Ahmadinejad to Neville Chamberlain's capitulation to Hitler.
Unlike liberals, I will honestly report their point before I attack it.
The New York Times editorialized: "Sen. Obama has called for talking with Iran and Syria," but has not "suggested surrendering to these countries' demands, which is, after all, what appeasement is."
"Hardball's" Chris Matthews gloated all week about nailing a conservative talk radio host with this brilliant riposte: "You don't understand there's a difference between talking to the enemy and appeasing. What Neville Chamberlain did wrong ... is not talking to Hitler, but giving him half of Czechoslovakia."
Liberals think all real tyrants ended with Hitler and act as if they would have known all along not to appease him. Next time is always different for people who refuse to learn from history. As Air America's Mark Green said: "Look, Hitler was Hitler." (Which, I admit, threw me for a loop: I thought Air America's position is that Bush is Hitler.)
This is nonsense. Ahmadinejad looks a lot like Hitler did when Chamberlain agreed to meet with him at Munich, except that Hitler didn't buy his suits from ratty thrift shops. Much of England reacted just as today's Democrats would because, like today's Democrats, they feared nothing more than another war. (Lloyd George lied, kids died!)
Lots of Britons cheered when Chamberlain returned from Munich and announced "peace in our time." Without the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, what on earth makes Chris Matthews think he would not be among them?
As Bush said at the Knesset, "There are good and decent people who cannot fathom the darkness in these men and try to explain away their words." That was Chamberlain. And that is today's Democratic Party.
What Matthews and the Times are saying is this: We can have a Munich, but we promise to be tougher than Chamberlain was. Therein lies the flaw in their logic. Yes, in the abstract, it is technically possible to "talk" without giving up Czechoslovakia (or in today's case, Iraq or Israel).
But in reality, when talking to a lunatic without having first bombed him into submission, the only possible result is appeasement. Any talk with Hitler, or a McHitler like Ahmadinejad, that does not include handing over Czechoslovakia or Israel, like a game show parting gift, is going to be a relatively brief chat.
Churchill knew that before Chamberlain went to Munich. But a lot of Britons then, like a lot of Americans today, refused to see that blindingly obvious point.
Liberals think the way to deal with dangerous tyrants is to send in a sensitive president who will make Ahmadinejad fall in love with him. They imagine Obama becoming Ahmadinejad's psychotherapist, like Barbra Streisand in "The Prince of Tides."
President Bush described such people perfectly with his reference to Sen. William Edgar Borah, the one who said World War II could have been avoided if only he could have talked to Hitler.
Liberals refuse to learn from history because they put their hands over their ears and tell themselves over and over again: "Hitler was different."