“Hitler’s back!” That’s newsflash. The return of Donald Trump to the forefront of national attention has the expected audience screaming like Tokyo commuters seeing Godzilla out the window. But embedded in the wails is the long-familiar idea: Donald Trump is Hitler. Not just “Hitler-ish” but the bad old Der Fuhrer himself.
“But over the last weeks and months, Trump has been channeling Hitler and Mussolini…” from Salon. Of course “channeling Mussolini” is almost an insult. Nowadays “Il Duce” sounds like a feminine hygiene product. But the horror of the Nazis has grown, not dissipated with time, so calling someone ‘Hitler’ is serious stuff.
Or should be. Actually, calling someone “Hitler” isn’t as devastating as you’d think, because nearly everyone does it. We have “Godwin’s Law.” Stated by US lawyer Mike Godwin in 1990, it says “as an online discussion grows longer (regardless of topic or scope) the probability of a comparison to Nazis or Adolf Hitler approaches 1.” In other words, the longer you argue about something, someone is always going to call someone else “Hitler.”
Does this mean in the future, everyone is going to be Hitler for fifteen minutes?
Maybe, maybe not. But here’s Moss’ Law: Every Republican President is going to be Hitler. It’s the “Designated Hitler Rule.” In baseball, you have the Designated Hitter: no matter what the lineup, you can always name a pure slugger to the plate. The DH may not be able to play any position, but whenever you need a hitter, you can bring him up.
Same with the Designated Hitler Rule. Whenever a Republican is President, he’s the Designated Hitler. Don’t believe me? See for yourself. Forget Eisenhower, calling him Hitler wouldn’t have made any sense because he helped beat Hitler. But the next Republican President, Richard Nixon:
Now say what you will about Tricky Dick Nixon, he was no Adolf. He could be a schmuck about stuff, but Hitler would never have resigned. And having a Jewish guy as his chief foreign policy guru? Never would happen. Also, Hitler didn’t drink and Nixon most certainly did.
Exception to the Rule: Gerry Ford. Not even the Democratic Socialists could sell that one.
But Ronald Reagan:
Well, Hitler invaded the USSR, and Reagan fought the Soviets. Close enough. There’s a corollary for the Designated Hitler Rule. Logical Fuhrer Transfer: if Hitler did something, and your target did the same thing, presto! Your target is Hitler! Example: Hitler wore a tie, you wear a tie. You are Hitler.
Nazis. And they’re all wearing ties!
George Bush the Elder.
You’d think the Designated Hitler would be this guy:
Saddam Hussein. I mean, he was a murderous dictator, had his own fascist party, gassed his regime’s opponents, and invaded his next door neighbors. And most of all: he had a mustache! But nope, he wasn’t Hitler. Must have been the black beret. Black berets are mostly worn by French guys, who may be Communists, but definitely aren’t Hitler.
George W. Bush. Hoo Boy! He was the Designated Hitler for sure. All because he invaded a guy who looked like Hitler but apparently wasn’t (see Saddam Hussein, Beret.)
If Hitler had stepped down after two terms in 1941, you might have something. But he didn’t. George W did often wear ties, so there is that. But he was a Republican President, and every GOP President is Hitler.
Donald Trump. If Adolf Hitler had made a fortune in Berlin real estate, built hotels and casinos all over, then hosted his own reality TV show, had a Jewish son in law…
Yeah, I don’t see it either. But a Rule is a Rule.
Because you see, Every Republican President is the Designated Hitler. That’s the Moss Rule. Don’t believe me? It even extends to potential Republican Presidents. Here’s Florida Governor Ron DeSantis:
Now he’s not yet President, so he’s not yet Hitler. According to the uniform, he might be Himmler; he’s not fat enough to be Goering. But if being a Republican President makes you Hitler, then just running for the GOP Presidential nomination makes you what… I dunno. Crazy?
And Hitler was crazy so there you are!