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The other Hitler comparison

April 13, 2017

While Sean Spicer was busy demonstrating his qualifications to be Trump’s true spokesman, a Republican state legislator in North Carolina compared Lincoln to Hitler:

Lincoln was the same sort if (sic) tyrant, and personally responsible for the deaths of over 800,000 Americans in a war that was unnecessary and unconstitutional.

This, of course, is standard neo-confederate fare: that states rights are this nation’s purpose, and that the important thing is that state government have the power to limit reproductive freedoms, favor religion, and enforce sexual bigotry. The fact that the original call for states rights was to preserve slavery bothers them hardly a bit.

That ideology is now home in the GOP. Historians have no problem understanding how America’s political parties have shifted coalitions and swapped positions over the decades. Many Republicans, less so. Here’s the thing: you can be the party of Lincoln, or you can be the party of states rights. You can believe that federal judges using the 14th amendment to defend personal liberty against state law is nothing less than tyranny, or you can cheer that radical Republican, John Bingham, who framed the 14th amendment’s sweeping language. You can damn the Democrats as the party of slavery (they certainly were in the 19th century), or you can welcome into your tent those who are still flying Robert E. Lee’s flag. But when you try to straddle those contrary positions, to claim that the modern GOP is true to its roots, you just look dumb. That North Carolina legislator made the easy mistake of openly explaining a quite logical consequence of his neo-confederate views. Let’s see how quickly he spins.

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