WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson, faced with a vigorous conservative challenge from Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater, resorted to the now-infamous "Daisy" television ad, which juxtaposed a little girl playing in a field of daisies with a nuclear mushroom cloud. Intended to suggest that Goldwater would launch the United States into nuclear war, the ad actually illustrated the desperate tactics liberals have always used to smear their conservative opponents.
The latest installment in their politics of personal destruction comes right on the heels of the aborted "Reagan" miniseries and represents a new low for American liberals. I'm referring to campaign ads comparing President George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler, which were submitted to MoveOn.org. The ads were part of a contest sponsored by the liberal website to see which of their fanatical readers could most creatively trash the president in a 30-second ad. Never mind that Bush's presidency has been dedicated to opposing evil tyrants like Saddam Hussein. In the deranged mentality of the MoveOn.org crowd, Saddam Hussein is a victim and President Bush is a Hitler.
It's worth recalling that MoveOn.org has its origin in the Clinton impeachment saga, when the organization was founded to defend Wild Bill's obstruction of justice and perjury. After endorsing Howard Dean's candidacy last year, MoveOn.org has earned a reputation for denouncing President Bush and conservatives at every opportunity -- and with increasing vitriol and irresponsibility.
The contest submissions, including two ads comparing Bush to Hitler, were posted on MoveOn.org's website, so that their rabid supporters could select a smaller group of ads for a judging panel composed of such Bush haters as Al Franken, Michael Moore and Janeane Garofalo.
One of the ads featured Hitler with his hand raised in salute, which then morphs into footage of President Bush raising his hand at his inauguration. Cries of "Sig Heil! Sig Heil!" are heard in the background of both images, as a sinister voice intones: "What were war crimes in 1945 is foreign policy in 2003." The second ad is equally offensive. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called the ads' comparison of Bush to Hitler "vile and outrageous."
Validating my theory that being a liberal means never having to admit when you're wrong, MoveOn.org has steadfastly defended its anti-Bush contest, which informed contestants that their ad submissions were to be "really creative." Predictably, as hateful and vicious and repugnant as these ads are, none of the Democrat presidential candidates have condemned them, and none of the sensitivity police in the national media have pressed them to.
Though liberals are easily offended, none of the nine presidential candidates found anything sufficiently wrong with them to issue a denunciation along the lines of what Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress, wrote in The Wall Street Journal: "Comparing the commander in chief of a democratic nation to the murderous tyrant Hitler is not only historically specious, it is morally outrageous."
But the outrage of Democrats wishing to lead this country and their friends in the media is reserved only for conservatives. According to the media rulebook, it's OK for Hillary Rodham to demean Mahatma Gandhi as a "gas station attendant," but George W. Bush is condemned for addressing students at Bob Jones University. To the media, it's OK for liberals to compare President Bush to Hitler, but unacceptable for conservatives to censure Bill Clinton for obstruction of justice and perjury. Portraying Ronald Reagan as indifferent to the plight of AIDS patients is fair game, but the media will not tolerate conservative demands that Howard Dean provide proof for his claim that Bush knew of the terror attacks in advance of Sept. 11.
Because they are intellectually bankrupt and bereft of ideas for their own campaigns, Democrats are desperate to smear the president -- it is all that they have. Their vicious rhetoric proves it. Dick Gephardt calls Bush a "miserable failure"; Howard Dean calls the administration that is defeating terrorists "the most dangerous administration in my lifetime"; John Kerry and Wesley Clark have resorted to the vulgar vocabulary of gang members on the campaign trail.
With such constant venom spewing from the mouths of the so-called leaders of the liberal cause, is it any wonder that they have helped to create an environment in which the leader of the free world is compared to Hitler in a 30-second ad?
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.