I wasn’t going to clip this except that Ace IM’d me to say he’d heard this Pretty Vicious Rant was even more Pretty Vicious than usual. It isn’t really. The Nazi analogies have been a staple of Olby’s commentary since the very first one 11 months ago. The left likes to snark that for neocons it’s forever 1939 and the new Hitler is perpetually on the brink of invading Poland, but as usual that’s projection: for them it’s forever 1934 and the new Hitler is perpetually on the brink of unleashing the Gestapo. The only surprise here is his suggestion that we’re not suffering under Nazism now, but are rather merely laying the groundwork.

I don’t know what else to say that I haven’t said in the dozen other posts I’ve written about these little performance art pieces. Ace calls it “political pornography,” which is true insofar as the nutroots will be wanking to it later. I think it’s more like vaudeville, though, because with porn you’re not supposed to notice it’s a performance even though you know it is. Olby wants you to appreciate his theatrics. He spent hours scripting and rehearsing this abortion; the least you can do is admire his ability to affect outrage on cue. Note especially how he addresses Bush directly, as if speaking to him. Does he think Bush is watching? No. But he knows you are, and he wants you to know that he’s not afraid to pretend-get right up in the president’s face. Aren’t you impressed?

As for the substance of it, he’s pegging off of this jerky bit of demagoguery by the undersecretary of defense, which he doesn’t really care about. What he’s doing, and which some of the nutroots have already done in the past month or so, is getting out in front of the curve of political recriminations that’ll start after the withdrawal begins and America has to face the self-loathing it’ll feel from defeat. They’re pushing the meme that right-wingers are preparing to blame them for it, i.e., for having “stabbed America in the back,” even though most people understand it was Bush’s own failure to better prepare for the invasion and its aftermath that’s to blame. But even that’s disingenuous: they know they’ve got a political windfall coming from defeat (Harry Reid keeps chirping about it) and that young voters skew overwhelmingly Democratic thanks to Bush, so they’re not sincerely worried about recriminations. They’re simply trying to place any criticism of themselves out of bounds, be it their Trutherish nutroots fondness for conspiracy theories about the timing and seriousness of terrorist attacks or the transparent ardor with which some of them hope for defeat, the better to use it as a Teachable Moment for the next time some Rethuglican is feeling hubristic. So don’t criticize them. Because you know what happens if you criticize them? Nazism.

Tags: Harry Reid