About That Moveon.org Ad

If you watched “Meet the Press” this morning, you witnessed out of the gate an exchange between Dick Armey (heh-heh) and Rachel Maddow. Armey immediately launched into “when MoveOn.org ran those ads that compared President Bush with Adolf Hitler” and Maddow stepped in immediately, noting that “they never did that.”

She’s right. They didn’t. Here is what actually happened.

In January 2004, the shit was hitting the fan for MoveOn.org, and it was somewhat deserved. The netroots organization had sponsored a contest, “Bush in 30 Seconds.” Web users submitted ads, and the winner would run on the TV machine. Unfortunately, two of the finalists drew a bead from Bush to ugly syphillitic tweaker freak murderer Adolf Hitler. The ADL and other NGOs objected. MoveOn.org pulled the ads from its Web site.

So there were ads. But they never ran, that is, nobody was ever paid money to broadcast them to a general audience. And here’s what Wes Boyd, a MoveOn.org founder, had to say about the incident at the time.

Mr. Boyd conceded that the advertisements were “in poor taste,” and said he “deeply regretted” that they had “slipped through.”

Reductio ad Hitlerum is always a tremendously weak argument. It is one thing to observe certain behaviors of one’s government in the light of certain -isms, to, for example, notice the burgeoning corporatocracy and to note its resemblance to fascism. It is quite another thing, though, to march around with an over-sized photograph of the President sporting a toothbrush mustache. It was wrong for the producers of those ads at the time and for MoveOn.org not to have weeded them out. It is equally piss-poor behavior now, and for Armey to attempt to somehow equivocate these instances today being shot out of a cannon with the MoveOn.org story of five years ago—not to mention that he lied about it outright—well, that says a lot about those who oppose reform.

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