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Wednesday, January 07, 2004

THANK YOU to the Houston Chronicle for this editorial

Hitler has no place in U.S. political discourse
Still early in the presidential election season, there's already been much talk about the anger many Democrats feel toward President Bush and his policies.

Some of it apparently spilled over into an anti-Bush ad comparing Bush to Hitler. The liberal activist group Move-On.org had posted the ad and others on its Web site.

The comparison is totally inappropriate and has no place in the political discourse of the nation. It is beyond the pale.

Two 30-second spots were among more than 1,500 entries in a contest to find one ad that "tells the truth about George Bush's policies." One of the two offensive ads reportedly showed Bush morphing into Hitler. The other was illustrated with film of parading Nazis.

"This is the worst and most vile form of political hate speech," Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie said, calling for an apology.

Eli Pariser, campaign director for MoveOn.org, told The Associated Press that the ads appeared on the Web site with hundreds of others submitted by the public and voted on during a two-week period. They were removed Dec. 31, when the voting period ended.

A statement by Wes Boyd,MoveOn.org's founder said: "None of these was our ad, nor did their appearance constitute endorsement or sponsorship by MoveOn.org Voter Fund. They will not appear on TV. We do not support the sentiment expressed in the two Hitler submissions. They were voted down by our members and the public, who reviewed the ads and submitted nearly 3 million critiques in the process of choosing the 15 finalist entries. ... We agree that the two ads in question were in poor taste and deeply regret that they slipped through our screening process. In the future, if we publish or broadcast raw material, we will create a more effective filtering system."

OK, but the larger point of this affair was made by Martin Cominsky, director of the Southwest Region of the Anti-Defamation League in Houston, who says no matter what one thinks of the president, it's an absurd and dangerous comparison.

"It serves to diminish the suffering of the victims of the Holocaust," said Cominsky. "There's no way you can compare anything Bush has done with a calculated plan to slaughter 6 million Jews. ... At some point it just cheapens the level of political discourse. People begin to be desensitized to the pain and anguish of the Holocaust."

Well said.
And Amen.

· The 15 finalists in the anti-Bush ad campaign and a statement on the issue can be viewed at MoveOn.org

· Chairman Ed Gillespie's statement on the ad campaign is posted at theRepublican National Committee website.