This is why campaigns usually vet speeches by surrogates at official events — because when someone essentially compares the upcoming election to the crusade to defeat the Nazis, well, they’d prefer not to have the candidate’s name on the podium when it happens. Unfortunately, Alison Lundergan Grimes and her staff either didn’t check the speech delivered by state Representative Greg Stumbo, or Stumbo was following his inner Godwin while ad-libbing (via Andrew Johnson at The Corner):
“It reminded me of the feeling our troops must have had when they liberated the European nations after World War II,” state representative Greg Stumbo said at an event for McConnell’s Democratic challenger, Kentucky’s secretary of state Alison Lundergan Grimes. “Can you imagine what it felt like that you were liberating a country?”
“Well, you’re about to liberate your state from the worst reign of misabuse that we’ve seen in the last 30 years,” he added.
Gee, I don’t recall an election taking place in June 1944 in which our troops voted out the Nazis. I’ll check my history books. Also, for a legislator, Stumbo has a lot of difficulty in distinguishing what Senators actually do. They don’t “reign” over anything. A Senator has no executive power within his state at all. That power lies with the governor — Democrat Steve Beshear, who has held that office since 2007.
The use of Nazis for overblown hyperbole is so common across the political spectrum that it’s difficult to feel any outrage over it. It’s cheap, ignorant demonization that demonstrates an irrational hatred for political opposition and a lack of respect for the actual struggle to end Nazi domination — but it’s so easy because the Nazis have become the generic epitomization of an enemy. That’s one reason why Mike Godwin created Godwin’s Law in the first place: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” It’s true in politics too, but it doesn’t usually take this short of a span for it to arise. Stumbo’s comment is useful to note that (a) the Lundergan Grimes campaign is still an amateur hour, and (b) they’re already desperate for real motivation — and real issue content — in the race.
Plus, for (c), it demonstrates the limits of Stumbo’s intelligence, but, er … res ipsa loquitur.