The Stockton Record: Hitler references lazy and wrong
Enough with the Hitler references. Please.
The latest comes from John Burton, chairman of the California Democratic Party, state senator and assemblyman, congressman and a man so prone to goofy, offensive and often obscene comments that he makes Joe Biden and Newt Gingrich seem like deep thinkers.
The latest came on Tuesday when he likened Republicans to the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.
"They lie and they don't care if people think they lie," Burton said before a breakfast for California delegates to the Democratic National Convention. "Joseph Goebbels — it's the big lie, you keep repeating it."
Burton told CBS News and the San Francisco Chronicle that Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan told "a bold-faced lie and he doesn't care that it was a lie. That was Goebbels, the big lie."
The legal tenant that truth is an absolute defense holds no validity here because the comparison is so utterly out of proportion to reality as to be obscene.
Look, Burton isn't the first person to raise the Nazi specter in politics. In recent years, people have essentially called George W. Bush and Barack Obama "Hitler," waving large photos of one or the other complete with a Hitler-esque moustache.
The comparison is anything but original.
And labeling someone a Nazi is much like calling someone a "communist" or "socialist" or "fascist," the shock value of such labels being considerably reduced by the user's likely inability to actually define them.
More importantly, the loosely drawn Nazi parallel belittles the memory of the millions and millions who suffered and died because of Hitler and Goebbels and Hermann Goering and Heinrich Himmler and Rudolf Hess and Robert Ley and Reinhard Heydrich and Rudolf Hoess and Albert Speer and Adolf Eichmann and many others.
Burton, never one to leave a bad situation alone, later apologized as only he can.
"If Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, or the Republicans are insulted by my describing their campaign tactic as 'the big lie' — I most humbly apologize to them or anyone who might have been offended by that comment," John Burton said.
More properly, Burton should have apologized for his complete lack of historic perspective and respect for victims of the Nazis.