Interviewer: Do you think there’s legitimate grassroot opposition going on here?
Pelosi: I think they’re Astroturf… You be the judge. They’re carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on healthcare.
Pelosi is, of course, lying. For all the faults I’ve pointed out in people who think that shouting down the oppositiion accomplishes anything, there hasn’t been one single report of anything resembling a swastika at any of these protests.
But this isn’t anything new, it’s yet another example of the Reducito Ad Hitlerum being trotted out in American politics. The left did it many times during the Bush Administration. George Bush himself used it to justify the Iraq War and American intervention in the Middle East. Bill Clinton used it to justify the war against Serbia. Al Gore used it as part of his continuous environmental hysteria.
As I pointed out last month, invoking Hitler and the Nazis has a very calculated political purpose:
[W]hat, exactly, has this constant envoking of the memory of a dictator and the man who, in the judgment of history, made most of the worst aspects of World War II possible, accomplished ? Nothing really, because it pretty much makes debate and disagreement impossible.
And that, I think, is why political leaders do it. Invoke Hitler and anyone who opposes you is automatically an appeaser of evil. It’s an easy way to shut down political debate even when legitimate questions need to be asked.
Which is why politicians resort to it so often.
By comparing the people who disagree with her to Nazis, Pelosi makes clear that she doesn’t want to listen to the opposition and doesn’t want to debate them. She just wants them to shut up.