STEPHEN STROMBERG
Gov. Walker is not Hitler

Just as the offensive behaviors of some Tea Partyers, birthers and others on the right deserve to be condemned, so, too, do some of the things that the union protests in Wisconsin have dredged up. Here is a sampling of the some of the signs that the Wisconsin GOP says it found among the protests:

Scott Walker = Adolf Hitler ; Midwest Mussolini; Hosni Walker, WI Dictator; Why Do Republicans Hate People?; 1933 Hitler abolishes unions! Look it up!

Last October, I pointed out that Christine O'Donnell was dishonest when she compared Chris Coons, her opponent, to Karl Marx because Coons didn't want to abolish the inheritance tax. Some of my commenters insisted that Marx favored eliminating inheritance, so it was okay to claim that Coons advocated a "tenet of Marxism." No, it's not okay. It's ridiculous guilt by association. Just as Hitler was about a whole lot more than abolishing unions, Marx was about a whole lot more than eliminating inheritance. Neither existed in the universe that contemporary American politicians inhabit. It's intellectually contemptible to draw such comparisons.

It isn't delegitimizing the substance of the unions' argument for me to point any of this out. If the unions' case is hurt by some of the extreme rhetoric on display, those carrying the signs are the ones who did it.