Saturday, February 02, 2008

Suppressing Hitleritis

The United States suffered numerous outbreaks of Hitleritis the last four years. People infected are known to become feverish, make inane comparisons to Adolf Hitler, or invoke the Nazi menace in some trivial, current day situation. It appears members of the Presidential campaign camps may need to be quarantined, unless a more suitable treatment can be found.

A member of Hillary Clinton's campaign took offense to Barack Obama's Illinois mailing, which showed a young couple sitting at a table, appearing to puzzle over a stack of bills. This promotional piece unleashed the tell tale signs of an early infection:

"I am personally outraged at the picture used in this mailing," Len Nichols, a supporter of the so-called universal mandate said. "It is as outrageous as having Nazis march through Skokie,Illinois."

In late 1970s, the American Nazi party won a court battle over the right to march through the predominantly Jewish Chicago suburb of Skokie, home to many Holocaust survivors. Despite their victory, the white supremacists decided to hold their demonstration in a Chicago park instead.

Should Mr. Nichols be quarantined or is a broader response needed to address the rapid spread of the dreaded Hitleritis? Having watched the rise and fall of the disease since 2005, I can point to one factor that dramatically reduced the incidence and prevalence of the disease.

Virtually no one used the Hitler comparison while a real leader in a military uniform suspended the constitution, sacked the chief justice, shuttered the independent media, and jailed thousands of lawyers and political opponents. For over a month, no American leaders made a Nazi reference. Rather than quarantine hundreds of highly paid campaign consultants, President Bush could let Pakistani President Musharraf put back on the uniform. That might quell the spread of this horrible disease. Who wants to hear endless, inane Hitler comparisons this election season? Not me.

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