Hitler's back, this time in Bush-Cheney ad

Published June 25, 2004 3:05PM (EDT)

The latest Bush-Cheney '04 web video shows the "Faces of John Kerry's Democratic Party," and labels them the "Coalition of the Wild-Eyed." This is surely the first time in his life Dick Gephardt has been labeled "wild-eyed" by anyone, and he is joined by Al Gore, Howard Dean, Michael Moore, and -- who's that, Adolf Hitler? The ad begins with a clip of Al Gore denouncing the Bush administration in his rousing speech at NYU a few weeks back, but then Hitler pops onto the screen. The words "Sponsored by MoveOn.org" show up a few frames later -- it's an ad submitted to MoveOn's Bush in 30 Seconds campaign from earlier this year. Did this ad submission using Hitler imagery really represent the views of "John Kerry's Democratic Party"? Of course not. The ad was submitted by individuals not associated with John Kerry's campaign to the MoveOn contest -- and ultimately rejected. MoveOn said two ads that mentioned Nazis were in poor taste, and apologized, even though, again, MoveOn rejected the submissions as finalists. The ad that eventually won the contest was, in comparison, a subtle, moving critique of the impact of the Bush deficits on America's children.

The MoveOn ad submissions were condemned at the time by the GOP. So why resuscitate the Hitler/Nazi imagery if it's so harmful to the national discourse? One can only wonder, and a cynic is left to think that splicing the face of Adolf Hitler between images of leading Democrats was too irresistible for the creators of this web video, no matter how misleading and offensive the end result may be.

By Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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