Ace made this same point earlier, but has the left ever claimed that it’s flatly wrong to kick the word “Nazi” around? It’s wrong to kick it at them, but when it comes to you, they’ll happily play hacky sack with it all the live-long day. In fact, among our thoughtful professional pundit class, the main challenge these days when writing about the right is whether to go the full Godwin or stop just short with some similar pejorative. Eugene Robinson was content to label Arizona’s law a racist abomination but Richard Cohen got more creative in calling it the “Anglos’ last stand.” Bolder still was Linda Greenhouse, who upped the ante with an apartheid analogy in her analysis of what turned out to be the wrong version of the bill. (Ahem.) With the bar set that high, can Frank Rich clear it on Sunday? If he does, he’ll be the Dick Fosbury of bottom-feeding left-wing demagogues.
Beck addresses the Arizona bill at around 12 minutes in so skip ahead if that’s what you’re interested in. Incidentally, consider this latest round of Nazi smear-mongering an exclamation point on the “epistemic closure” debate that’s been roiling righty blogs. In all the hand-wringing over why (and whether) some conservatives have retreated into an ideological cocoon, little has been said about the fact that the cocoon is one of the few places they can go without having their motives questioned. Cocooning’s still a bad idea on balance, I think, but if someone decides after the umpteen-thousandth ironic “sieg heil!” from the other side that they’re better off detaching completely, I won’t throw stones.
Update: A lefty commenter notes that Glenn Beck, of all people, is no stranger to comparing his opponents to totalitarians. Indeed, but the media read on Beck is that he’s a frothing-at-the-mouth pied piper of incendiary hyperbole. Too bad for him that he’s a right-wing libertarian; if he ever makes the philosophical journey leftward, he could have his own NYT column.