Jesse Jackson once told the editorial board of the Chicago Sun-Times: "The Christian Coalition was a strong force in [Nazi] Germany. It laid down a suitable, scientific, theological rationale for the tragedy in Germany. The Christian Coalition was very much in evidence there." He told British television: "In South Africa the status quo was called racism. We rebelled against it. In Germany it was called fascism. Now in Britain and the U.S., it is called conservatism." During the Florida recount, the man of "Hymietown" fame was concerned that Republicans were targeting survivors of the Holocaust "again."
"When I compare this to what happened in Germany," New York Rep. Charles Rangel observed during the debates over the Contract with America, "I hope that you will see the similarities to what is happening to us . . Hitler wasn't even talking about doing these things." And when Newt Gingrich tried to reach out to liberal Democrats by inviting them to social functions, New York Rep. Major Owens was outraged. "These are people who are practicing genocide with a smile; they're worse than Hitler," he said.
In his book "Earth in the Balance," Al Gore insisted that those who ignore global warming were akin to those who failed to pay heed to the "broken glass of Kristalnacht." More recently, the former vice president said Bush campaign workers who e-mail journalists are "digital brownshirts."
Meanwhile, a host of liberal and leftist intellectuals and journalists routinely compare Bush's America to Hitler's Germany in far more direct ways than the Bush ad. Last September, Vanity Fair ran a photo of Richard Perle alongside a photo of Josef Goebbels. Sheldin Wolin wrote in the Nation that the GOP was Nazifying before our eyes. And of course, one cannot swing a digital cat on the internet without finding pictures of George Bush in Nazi garb and Hitler's twee mustache.
I could go on for pages with this sort of thing (in part because I'm writing a book about fascism). For more than seven decades, the left has insisted that the more you disagree with them the more like a Nazi you are. Careers have been ruined because of this slander, public policy warped. So yes, by all means let's condemn facile Hitler comparisons on the right, too. But liberals can spare us their sudden outrage. It rings awfully hollow.