Candidates: Stop comparing your opponents to Hitler

Roundup
tags: Hitler, election 2016



Marc Thiessen writes a weekly column for The Post on foreign and domestic policy and contributes to the PostPartisan blog. He is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Remember how Hillary Clinton compared her GOP opponents to the Nazis, declaring thatRepublicans wanted to “go and literally pull [illegal immigrants] out of their homes and their workplaces” and “round them up” and put them in “boxcars”? Her comment was outrageous, but it was par for the course. After all, Clinton had earlier compared GOP presidential candidates to terrorists .

It’s terrible for a Democrat to compare Republicans to the Nazis. But for a sitting GOP governor seeking his party’s nomination to do it is beyond the pale.

Yet that is precisely what John Kasich has done in a new Web ad attacking Donald Trump. The Kasich ad(ironically titled “Trump’s Dangerous Rhetoric”) declares: “You might not care if Donald Trump says Muslims must register with their government because you’re not one. And you might not care if Donald Trump says he’s going to round up all the Hispanic immigrants, because you’re not one. And you might not care if Donald Trump says it’s okay to rough up black protesters, because you’re not one. And you might not care if Donald Trump wants to suppress journalists, because you’re not one. But think about this: If he keeps going, and he actually becomes president, he might just get around to you. And you better hope there’s someone left to help you.”

If that language sounds familiar, it is intentionally paraphrasing German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller’s famous poem following World War II: “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.” 

Keep in mind that Niemöller — a survivor of the Dachau concentration camp — was talking about the German people’s responsibility for the Holocaust. When Niemöller said “they came for the Jews,” he meant to take them to the gas chamber. As the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum explains on its Web site, “his point was that Germans . . . had been complicit through their silence in the Nazi imprisonment, persecution, and murder of millions of people.” ...




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