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GOP congressman compares Obama to Hitler. How bad an idea?

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Pat Sullivan/AP/File

(Read caption) Rep. Randy Weber, (R) of Texas speaks in League City, Texas, Oct. 3, 2012. Weber is drawing criticism for comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler in a tweet related to the terror attack in Paris. Weber's Twitter account on Monday night said even Hitler 'thought it more important than Obama to get to Paris.'

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So a US congressman is comparing President Obama to Hitler, kind of. Maybe it’s more accurate to say he’s invoking Hitler in a tweet that mentions the current occupant of the White House as well.

At issue in this contretemps is the failure of the White House to dispatch Mr. Obama, or Vice President Joe Biden, or any other top US official to Paris to join other world leaders at Sunday’s anti-terror march.

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Here’s what Rep. Randy Weber (R) of Texas said on his Twitter feed Monday: “Even Adolph (sic) Hitler thought it more important than Obama to get to Paris. (For all the wrong reasons.) Obama couldn’t do it for right reasons.”

For Representative Weber, this kind of inflammatory stuff is nothing new. He’s referred to Obama as a “socialistic dictator."  Last January, prior to the State of the Union he tweeted that he was awaiting the “Kommandant – in chief.” (Actually, he misspelled that as “Kommandant – in chef,” but people were pretty sure who he was talking about.)

So in that sense the Hitlerian comment should come as no surprise.

But it’s still a faux pas, in this sense: It’s never good to refer to the leader of the Third Reich in any current political controversy. His evil was sui generis. Nothing else since comes close.

Any point a politician tries to make will generally get lost in the uproar over invoking the architect of the Holocaust.

Plus, what’s Weber saying here? Yes, Hitler went to Paris after the Germans conquered France in World War II. He wanted to glory his victory. So that’s a “wrong reason,” meaning it was a bad thing, but Obama going would have been a good thing? “Right reasons” were involved, apparently. So Hitler shouldn’t have gone, but Obama should have, so why bring up Hitler as an example of an action the US president failed to do?

Or something like that. It doesn’t unpack well.

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That’s what we mean when we say we’re not sure Weber is really comparing the two men. He’s just sort of letting them swim around in the same comment so as to try and make Obama look worse.

As Washington Post political analyst Chris Cillizza tweeted about the controversy, “The Hitler comparison. Always a loser.”

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