Commentary: Obama, Hitler and wingnuts — Oh my!

The Kansas City StarJuly 24, 2010 

President Obama, Adolf Hitler and Chairman Mao. Three peas in a pod, right?

Some of the nuttier nutjobs in wingnut nation say just that on a billboard along U.S. 71 between Peculiar and Belton.

"In troubled times, the fearful and naive are always drawn to charismatic radicals," say the words beneath photos of Hitler, Mao and Obama.

All are labeled as representatives of various brands of socialism — national, Marxist and Democratic, respectively — and shown to have all called for "Change!"

If you visit certain websites, or listen to talk radio, then you know that this passes for profound logic in some circles.

After all, Mao ordered millions of his own people murdered. Hitler committed genocide and started a world war that left tens of millions of corpses.

Whereas Obama pushed through national health care, bailed out the auto industry and slapped new rules on Wall Street.

Lots of similarities.

Yes, well, most rational thinkers — including many wingnuts, I would imagine — see it for the obscene, idiotic notion that it is.

"Not only are comparisons such as this both misguided and malicious, but they trivialize, distort and desecrate the history and memory of the Holocaust," says Jean Zeldin, at the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education in Overland Park. "It is time to stop invoking Nazi analogies in order to promote hatred and hostility and to further political agendas."

The billboard on U.S. 71 is sponsored by anonymous cowards who run a website named after the Revolutionary War hero known as the Swamp Fox: www.francismarion.biz.

To guard their identities, they insist on trading e-mails through a filter. Yet the geniuses also list a snail mail address in Cumming, Ga., if you want to send them money. A simple Nexis search matched that address with a name and phone number.

I left a message, but the guy never called back.

News broke recently of a similar sign with a similar slogan in Mason City, Iowa, only with Lenin in place of Mao. It became the subject of national notoriety because of the sponsor: a branch of the Tea Party.

After some elements of the national Tea Party movement condemned the sign, however, the sponsoring North Iowa Tea Party had the sign papered over with a public service ad.

Of the sign's critics, the leader of the north Iowa chapter said: "They were right from the standpoint that the image was not a positive reflection on the tea people."

"Not a positive reflection."

How genteel.

But why espouse loony-toon positions in the first place? A little more thought would spare the rest of us from all the brain garbage.

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