In the last presidential election, a Frenchman (immigrant) who was canvassing for Barack Obama saw me in my yard working, and came over to ask me to vote for Obama. We got to talking about France, and I asked him if France had conservatives?
"Oh yes," he said with a serious expression. "They are called Fascists."
His candor was refreshing, to say the least. But there are indeed some similarities between the extreme right wing of the GOP, and the most reprehensible regime ever inflicted on mankind, Hitler and his Nazi henchmen.
- The general feeling, whether spoken out right, or kept not-so-subtly-hidden, of being better than others. Nazis, like far-right, ultra conservatives, and far-right conservatives, like Nazis, think they're better. They generally target for disdain immigrants, people of alternative lifestyles (gay), liberals and a host of others. Republicans often talk about (white) Americans as though they're God's chosen people, the only people who matter (in the war in Iraq, no mention has ever been made of the exact number of Iraqis killed because they apparently don't matter). Republicans never talk about the war in Iraq being wrong because it was launched under a Republican under the false premise of weapons of mass destruction. To an ultra-conservative, America can do no wrong under a conservative agenda, even if it proves to be wrong. The Nazis of course called themselves the Master Race.
- Religious Xenophobia. Republicans tie religious belief to their supposed superiority, and to politics and policy-setting. They know God. You don't. God favors them, not you, if you disagree with them. The German Nazis had belt buckles that read, "Gott Mitt Uns" (God is with us).
- Patriotism as propaganda. Republicans consistently and improperly display the flag, often from car antennas, using the flag as a political tool, to demonstrate their patriotic resolve, when the flag was meant to be displayed properly and to symbolize all Americans of different persuasions. The flag was not meant to be a feckless political prop to back a right wing world viewpoint. For their part, the German Nazis had rallies with thousands of flags.
- Love of war. The Republicans used to pride themselves as the party that didn't start wars, the Democrats did. No more. Today, they never saw a war they didn't like (they won't admit it), and view war not as a purely defensive measure as the Founding Fathers intended, but as a useful tool, an instrument of shaping foreign policy. The German Nazis use of war is well known to the world.
- Love of radio propaganda. Political talk radio is a largely right-wing creation, to counter what conservatives endlessly contend is the liberally biased mainstream media, and has mushroomed across the country, fed mainly by angry white young males who like to listen to it. It is hosted by a host of manipulators like Joseph Goebbels (German minister of propaganda) who dispense false accusations, right-wing claptrap and mocking, thinly-disguised hate for those who disagree with them. Their most recognizable traits are smugness and the school-yard bully mean spirit.
- The cult of the leader (fuehrer). Democrats may praise the tough pluck of little Harry Truman, or the dignified wisdom of FDR, but mythologizing conservatives as some kind of gods brought down from on-high is a right-wing phenomenon that has recently grown in scope. Current deification efforts include among others, Ronald Reagan, John Wayne and the pre-posthumous Rush Limbaugh. The Germans of course had Hitler.
- Use of diversions. The Germans used the Reichstag fire of 1933 to suspend civil liberties under emergency decree. George W. Bush used 9-11 to invade Iraq under the guise of false weapons of mass destruction, and to re-make the Middle East. He did illegal wire taps of American citizens to make Americans supposedly safer. Both German and American citizens largely accepted these measures with docility and without debate or protest. The Patriot Act, recently extended by Obama, is profoundly "unpatriotic."
- Use of scapegoats. The Germans called people they didn't like "sub-humans." Right-wing Republicans call them "bad Americans." Conservatives also use fear to sell their agenda, constantly harping that another 9-11 is not only possible, but a certainty, rather than portraying that we simply have to adjust to a world in which terrorism is a factor much as gangs (domestic terrorists) are in this country.
- Contempt for Democracy. Hitler said Democracy was corrupt, soft. Bush once said being a dictator would have been easier than being president.
- The blame game, or denial of bad news. Conservatives blame Obama for the country's impending economic collapse. Hitler said his generals let him down.