Former Professor David Kaiser, if I am reading him correctly, draws an analogy between the Tea Party movement and the Nazis.

All this came to the forefront of my mind because of the possibility—which many believe to be real—that a Republican could be elected to the Senate from Massachusetts next Tuesday, reducing the Democratic majority below 60, dooming the health care bill (which Republican Scott Brown promises to oppose) and paralyzing the Senate. But suddenly, another critical analogy came into my head—another election in another major western country, in the same year that Hoover defeated Smith, one that turned out the other way.

[Excellent history of the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany]

The Reichstag fire—a terrorist act, we now know, of a mad anarchist—allowed him to proclaim emergency powers and deputize the SA and SS as police auxiliaries, and the Reichstag voted its powers out of existence a few months later.

It is now exactly 80 years since 1930. The election in Massachusetts this Tuesday—which at the very least promises to be much closer than anticipated—offers a preview of what could happen in the fall. The United States isn’t Weimar Germany, not least because of our well-established two-party system. But the Tea Party movement is busily taking over the Republican Party (and in effect already controls its powerful propaganda ministries on Fox News and Clear Channel, something the Nazis never enjoyed.) That movement is based largely upon paranoia and absurd theories about who controls America, what the Obama Administration is doing, and why. (Rush Limbaugh, to whom I listened for a while today, insists that Obama has purposely wrecked the economy to make a statist takeover possible. He could not conceal his excitement over the possible Republican victory in Massachusetts and what it might mean.) And of course, one of their tactics is to pin the Fascist/National Socialist label on President Obama, a moderate liberal. Now while I am not accusing the Republican Party or the Tea Party movement of Fascism . . .

Good to know! And if Obama is a “moderate” liberal than, in Professor Kaiser’s reckoning, who would count as a moderate conservative? Olympia Snowe?

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