"We're not calling them Nazis… we're calling them proto-Nazis!"

Just a little Friday morning hate speech on WDEV's Common Sense Radio today. Conservatives getting all outraged over alleged examples of liberals intimidating them in tactics that always seem to remind them of Nazi Germany.

Things like yard signs getting knocked over.

Yeah, just like Hitler.

It all started with a caller, John from Barre, complaining about a couple of yard-sign incidents and how some Republicans felt intimidated by it. Let's make it clear, we're not in favor of yard-sign despoliation by anyone. But as far as I know, these things happen from time to time on both sides. And in my experience driving around Vermont, I see plenty of Republican signs that have somehow survived this Holocaust of corrugated plastic. In fact, I'd say it's about a 50-50 split. So I'm dubious that a cadre of Democratic hooligans is taking to the highways and byways at night and eliminating any hint of Republicanism. If they are, they're doing a lousy job of it.

But anyway. It didn't take long for John to roll out the Nazi comparisons. Brownshirts! Intimidation!

Your host, Rob Roper, whose specialty is saying outrageous things in a disingenuous tone of voice, gave John a couple minutes to rant and then went to a commercial break.

A few minutes later, a caller criticized Roper and his guest, Sleepy Bill Sayre, for failing to react to John's comments. Whereupon Roper launched a truly idiotic defense of the whole idea that minor acts of vandalism are a precursor to Fascist rule.
He insisted that nobody's talking about putting people into ovens. Gosh no. But the (alleged) vandalism of some yard signs -- and the horrific incident of a few healthcare reform advocates (i.e. union thugs) briefly gathering in front of Lenore Broughton's house* -- are precursors of Nazism:  "The Brownshirts used intimidation tactics. If we don't want the state to move into a Fascist place, we have to be vigilant."

*Yep, they're still beating that drum.

Just check your history books: Hitler's rise to power began with  vandalizing Franz von Papen's yard signs. And the Brownshirts were notorious for stopping by people's houses and delivering notes.

Well, that and the Reichstag fire and Kristallnacht and all that other stuff. But vandalizing yard signs was definitely a crucial tactic in the Nazi playbook, f'sho. And anywhere a yard sign is under threat, so are our fundamental freedoms. Today a yard sign, tomorrow the world!

I don't usually bother reporting the rhetorical excesses of Common Sense Radio, which are usually more laughable than anything. But this was particularly repellent. I'd just like to thank WDEV for letting this stuff come out of my radio five hours a week.

Oops, I shouldn't have said that. Probably just made myself an honorary Brownshirt.  

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