When Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene publicly compared vaccination and mask mandates to the Holocaust, it appeared initially she was just succumbing to an abundantly lazy right-wing tradition of Holocaust analogies. Indeed, the habit of anti-abortion extremists of comparing legalized abortion to the Holocaust has annoyed Jewish activists sufficiently that they pounce on such expressions quickly, as did Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt in response to MTG’s howler in remarks on CNN:
Look, we know Marjorie Taylor Greene clocks in … somewhere between deranged and demented, right? This is a woman who thinks there are Jewish space lasers starting forest fires. She’s a QAnon enthusiast. She is offensive in almost everything that she does. But in this moment when assaults are spiraling across the country, we need leaders from both sides of the aisle to speak out clearly and consistently.
The general rule, as most pols understand, is that you can’t compare anything to the Holocaust without diminishing the unique horror surrounding it and devaluing the memory of its victims. Greene’s gaffe was particularly ill-timed, occurring as it did as Republican leaders were attacking all critics of Israel’s conduct in its latest shooting war with Hamas as anti-Semites. And that’s probably why House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy departed from his usual tactic of ignoring or even subtly supporting the wild-ass Georgian and condemned her comments.
But Greene doesn’t appear to feel the need to execute any sort of strategic retreat, as she occasionally has in the past after saying outrageous things. And she may have show why when the MAGA road show she is conducting with embattled colleague Matt Gaetz arrived in her northwest Georgia district, as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported:
After getting hammered this week by Republican leaders for comparing vaccine mandates to the murderous Nazi regime, she doubled down by comparing Democrats to Nazis.
“You know, Nazis were the National Socialist Party,” she said. “Just like the Democrats are now a National Socialist Party.”
Greene wasn’t trying to compare COVID-19 measures in outrageousness or lethality to the Holocaust, you see. Her logic proceeded thusly: Democrats, being socialists and all, and being from a nation, were “national socialists,” and thus whatever they are doing is Nazi-esque — just like the Holocaust! Seems very simple when you put it that way.
Without question, MTG was following the party line rigorously in never missing an opportunity to call the opposition party “socialist.” In certain segments of the American right, it has always been axiomatic that Nazis and Communists are two sides of the same coin, both being “socialists.” (The fact that these two bands of “socialists” killed many millions of each other’s people during World War II doesn’t seem to matter.) In 2019, Greene’s Alabama counterpart Mo Brooks (now running for the U.S. Senate with Donald Trump’s priceless endorsement) offered a similar identification of all his and the 45th president’s enemies with the “socialist” Adolf Hitler:
Brooks conducted something of a master class in stupidity in suggesting that the entire news media and every member of one of the two major parties was consciously engaged in a “big lie” strategy, presumably by reporting on the Mueller investigation, and compounding the ignorant smear with the old right-wing chestnut of calling Hitler a leftist (“another Socialist”).
Hitler, you see, taught the “big lie” technique in Mein Kampf, which proves that is what his fellow socialists, the Democratic Party, are up to.
You can see how convenient this mass ad hominem argument is for people like Greene and Brooks: All Democrats are socialists, as are all Nazis, and for that matter all Communists. So the sins of Hitler and Stalin are attributable to Joe Biden and his supporters, and the actions of Biden and his supporters are by definition not just wrong but genocidal and evil. It’s the perfect closed feedback loop, being invulnerable to facts and reason, which means we will likely hear it again unless Donald Trump instructs otherwise.