Randy Weber, Also Not Hitler

As I’ve explained before, I am largely anti-historical analogy. So you can imagine my reaction when this exploded on Twitter last night.

RandyWeber

The congressman has since deleted the tweet, but screencaps live forever.

Obviously, Weber (or his Chief Tweeter) figured he could throw the words Hitler, Obama, and Paris together in order to criticize the president for not attending the Charlie Hebdo rally in Paris last weekend. Rather than make a cogent and acceptable point–expressing disapproval of something the president did (or in this case, did not) do–Weber aimed merely to score buzz points.

Weber apologized, saying “it was not my intention to trivialize the Holocaust nor to compare the President to Adolf Hitler. The mention of Hitler was meant to represent the face of evil that still exists in the world today.” His apology seems to confuse his meaning further, if possible. Simple metaphors using Hitler rarely make sense, extended ones even less so.

Either way, it was a dumb thing to say. There were many comments on the tweet and the apology today, here are some I found particularly interesting:

“When I first saw it flying around on Twitter I figured it must have been from a parody account. But, no, it was real. The analogy here is not quite coherent enough to be outrageous. The common sense rule “don’t draw analogies to Hitler for no reason” does, however, have a lot of force in this context.”

Matthew Yglesias, Vox

“Although Weber remains low on the influence scale in Congress, his Twitter account is quickly gaining a reputation for two things: its lively criticism of the president and its typos.”

Abby Ohlheiser, Washington Post

“For the record, it took six days for a member of the 114th Congress to compare the president to Hitler. The 111th Congress hadn’t even been gaveled in when a member (Broun) did this. To be fair to Weber, though, he was quicker on the Obama-dictator draw in 2015 than he’d been in 2014.”

David Weigel, Bloomberg View

I disagree with Ygelsias on one point. The common sense rule ought to be “don’t draw analogies to Hitler for any reason.” It’s lazy, typically inaccurate*, and at this point solely mindless invective.


*Unless, obviously, discussing a Hitler clone or Hitler Zombies.

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One thought on “Randy Weber, Also Not Hitler

  1. Pingback: The Analogy Files: Pittenger’s Fumble | Katie Putz

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