The usually moderate, sober New York Times columnist David Brooks has an iron fist inside his velvet glove today, issuing an article likening President Obama's treatment of the auto and health care industries to "the wonderful partnership Germany formed with France and the Low Countries at the start of World War II." Elsewhere in the same column, Mr. Brooks, who is Jewish, writes that Mr. Obama is acting "in the same spirit that the Cossacks invited my ancestors to emigrate to the Lower East Side."
In more raucous precincts of the right, the Obama-Nazi parallel has already been aired. The May issue of the American Spectator carries an article headlined "The National Socialism of Obamanomics." Before the election, Fouad Ajami, writing on the Wall Street Journal editorial page, likened the crowd dynamics around Obama not to Hitler but to Nasser or Khomeini.
I can understand why these analogies are being invoked and parallels are being drawn, but to me they seem nonetheless a bit over the top and unlikely to convince anyone who doesn't already have their mind made up. The Cossacks and the Nazis and Nasser were not just seizing property, but deliberately killing Jews. It's one thing to call Obama's policies socialism, but to imply that they amount to Nazism seems to me to run the risk of diminishing the unique horror of Hitler's crimes.