Transcendental Bloviation

Politics, Space, Japan

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Godwin's Law and the GOP

 My friend John Levine recently pointed me to "a neat picture of gravitational lensing" - massive galaxies bending starlight coming from behind them. And without even trying, or wanting to - just doing what comes naturally.

 What a refreshing break from the news, from which we learn the same lesson daily: You don't have to be Einstein to bend the truth. You just have to be massive and determined.

 In the International Herald Tribune the other day, there was a story about how the Bush campaign had put out an advertisement, "Kerry's Coalition of the Wild-Eyed", in which images of Dean, Kerry and Gore are interspersed with pictures of Hitler. Yes, Hitler.

 I guess it's time for a review of Godwin's Law, which reads:

As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

Jeez, we've still got over four months until the general election, and it's already happening. What's next? Maybe we'll need the Law of Transcendental Bloviation:

As any political discussion continues, the chance of a comparison of an opponent to Osama Bin Laden approaches 100%.

 I've seen the Law of Trans-Blo in action just today, in Sam Dinkin's silly response to Jeff Bell's excellent debunking of any reasonable comparison between Christopher Columbus and the spirit and agenda of our existing space programs. Sorry, Sam - you lose.

 There's an excellent FAQ about Godwin's Law, "How to Post About Nazis and Get Away With It", but it doesn't offer much hope. Nope, not with Q&A like this:

7. Does Godwin's Law apply in the real world?

Actually, yeah, but usually discussions in Real Life end by
somebody wandering off in disgust before it can be invoked.

Problem is, with a presidential election, you can't just wander off in disgust. Enduring the grueling rhetorical run-up is almost like, well, like being President, at least as LBJ experienced it:

Being president is like being a jackass in a hailstorm. There's nothing to do but to stand there and take it.

 You'd think the GOP would want to put this sorry media episode behind them, but no. They are practically crowing about it. In a story on a pro-Bush site, entitled New Ad Featuring Hitler Comparisons to Bush Denounced By Kerry Campaign as 'New Low', by one Jimmy Moore of the appropriately named Talon News, we can read:

As Talon News reported in January, prominently featured two controversial ads comparing Bush to Hitler as part of its "Bush in 30 Seconds" contest.

 Gee, that's not how I remember it. was deluged with about a thousand entries. A couple contributors used Hitler themes, and those clips got pulled from the site when they were brought to MoveOn's attention after a week or so. That's "prominently featured"?

 And what to make of this?

"John Kerry has denounced our use of these ads attacking the president," the ad continued. "He has not denounced liberal supporters like Al Gore, George Soros, and many others who have made speeches comparing the President to Adolf Hitler."

Gore compared Bush to Hitler in a speech? I think I would have heard about that.

 Here's all that Newsweek could come up with:

On Thursday, Gore delivered a speech in which he said that the “administration works closely with a network of rapid responders, a group of digital brownshirts who work to pressure reporters and their editors and publishers and advertisers, and are quick to accuse them of undermining support for our troops.” George Soros, the Hungarian-born financier who has given millions to, says his "experiences under Nazi and Soviet rule have sensitized" him and that he believes a "supremacist ideology" guides the Bush White House. Michael Moore—not a Democrat, although on Wednesday he was the toast of liberal D.C. at the premiere of "Fahrenheit 9/11"—said last October that America under Bush was moving in a Third Reich-like direction.

So I guess this is the escalation. The Law of Trans-Blo - wait for it.


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