Santorum overlooks Godwin’s law

Updated
 
Nazi officers parading in Paris, 1940.
Nazi officers parading in Paris, 1940.

Rick Santorum has a certain affinity for World War II analogies, but this one calls for some additional explanation.

Santorum sees the situation as so dire that during a Lincoln Day Dinner in Mason, Ohio on Friday, he likened the election to World War II and urged voters in the state to model themselves after the Greatest Generation of the 1940s that fought the war. He extended that metaphor on Sunday in a speech to more than 2,000 supporters at a megachurch in Cumming, about an hour outside of Atlanta.

“Remember, the greatest generation for a year and a half, sat on the sidelines while Europe was under darkness,” Santorum said, going on to explain why Americans delayed entering the war. “We’re a hopeful people. We think, ‘Well, you know, it’ll get better. Yeah, he’s a nice guy. I mean, it won’t be near as bad as what we think. This will be okay. I mean, yeah, maybe he’s not the best guy after a while, after a while you find out some things about this guy over in Europe who’s not so good of a guy after all … ‘”

It’s not altogether clear where Santorum was going with this, but it seemed as if Santorum was referring to Hitler.

Asked today he was likening President Obama to Hitler. Santorum responded, “No, of course not.” The former senator added, “It’s a World War II metaphor. It’s one I’ve used 100 times.”

Perhaps. What’s unclear is what Santorum was trying to say in this metaphor. As Santorum sees it, today’s conditions are similar to the WWII era. Americans were “hopeful,” and thought someone was “a nice guy,” who turned out to be “not so good of a guy after all.”

What is the point, exactly, the audience is supposed to glean from this metaphor? Was Santorum just taking a stroll down memory lane, or are we supposed to see similarities between 2012 and 1940? And if we’re expected to see the parallels, who is the analogous “nice guy” we should be worried about now?

Santorum overlooks Godwin's law

Updated