Hitler and OTB

A stroll through the archives.

Searching the OTB database for images to adorn my earlier post, “Comparing Trump to Hitler,” I came across these:


It reminds me how often Hitler comparisons have been made for American politicians who were, whatever one might think of them, decidedly not Hitler. And it sent me down a rabbit hole that I decided to turn into a separate post rather than derailing the other.

The earliest instance I’ve found of that being addressed here was my January 2004 post “BUSH – HITLER REDUX,” the title of which suggests that I’d addressed the subject previously. Regardless, it’s about comedians Bill Maher and Margaret Cho comparing the 43rd President to der Führer.

My June 2004 post “Bush Equals Hitler And Mussolini” referenced a 2nd Circuit judge and former Yale Law dean arguing that Bush came to power in a similar fashion to the two fascist leaders and must be ousted to restore our democracy.

In my July 2008 post “Obama = Charismatic = Hitler = Armageddon,” I take on two columnists worried about a cult of personality surrounding then-candidate Barack Obama. (A charge that would resurface here in the commends regarding his successor.)

The practice reached a fever pitch in 2010, at least if the OTB archives are any indication.

In May, the late Doug Mataconis wrote about “Newt Gingrich And The Reductio Ad Hitlerlum.” Surprisingly, no one was comparing the former Speaker to Hitler but rather he was doing it to Barack Obama. He was not alone.

In “Hitler Comparisons and Bad History” (June 2010) and “The Return of Hitler,” (July 2010) Steven Taylor sighs at the above image comparing Democratic Socialism to National Socialism and Marixst Socialism. In between, my post “Obama and the Road to Tyranny” (June 2010) debunked a Thomas Sowell column making the claim that the 44th President was using rhetorical techniques and otherwise emulating dictators like Hitler and Lenin. In “Enough with the Hitler Already,” (Sept. 2010) Steven notes that people were comparing Sarah Palin to the mustachioed one.

Interestingly, despite repeated claims by opponents that Trump was a fascist, there weren’t a lot of Trump=Hitler posts at OTB until recent speeches made them inevitable. Still, there were quite a number dealing with the broader topic early on.

Back in November 2015—nearly a year before Trump was elected—Doug opined, “Yes, It Is Appropriate To Think Of Donald Trump As a Fascist And Demagogue.” The next month, Steven pushed back just a bit with “Trump and Fascism.”

In July 2020, KingDaddy weighed in with “Fascism Is A Nationalist Aesthetic Movement” and followed up in September with “Let’s Drop The ‘Proto’ Already” and in November with “The Fascism Is Here To Stay.”

More recently, I reflected in April 2022 on “Democratic Backsliding and the American Right,” with nary a mention of Trump.

And, of course, we’ve written a plethora of posts in recent weeks about Trump’s unhinged rhetoric, most recently my post this past Sunday, “Trump Doubles Down on Fascism.”

(As an aside, a shocking number of returns on “Hitler” here involved the Downfall memes that never seemed to get old. Alas, all of the associated videos that we embedded have disappeared, presumably as a result of DMCA takedown requests.)

FILED UNDER: OTB History, , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. mattbernius says:

    I love this post James. With OTB at two decades of content, it would be fun to do more occasional journeys through the archive.

  2. Stormy Dragon says:


    It’d be interesting to see a chart or graph of the number of comments each user handle has made over the years.

  3. Neil Hudelson says:

    Seeing some of the commentors was a bit of a blast from the past. I miss Trumwill and PD Shaw’s regular contributions. I had completely forgotten about ‘john personna’ but he used to be a multi-comments-a-day presence.

  4. mattbernius says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    I think, with some tuning, that might be easy to do.

  5. James Joyner says:

    @Stormy Dragon: @Neil Hudelson: @mattbernius: There’s probably some way to graph commenters using a plugin but there’s no organic function as there is for front-pagers.

    I did a post in March 2019 titled “Where Have All the Commenters Gone?” addressing long-timers who just up and disappeared. There, I was able to post how many comments they posted using a given username/email combo. Alas, that’s when I was using Akismet, WordPress’s own comment spam plugin. They started charging out the nose for it, though, and I eventually shifted to a low-cost competitor.

  6. Jay L. Gischer says:

    This piece about Downfall is really, really good, by the way.

  7. Jax says:

    @James Joyner: Speaking of commenters who have up and disappeared, I think we’ve either lost Mu, he’s being held captive in China, or we pissed him off and he never came back to check in after his China trip.

    He was often cantankerous, but he wasn’t afraid to go against the flow here, and I admired him for that. He made me think about things as often as he frustrated me.

    And nightcrawler, I think we lost her during Covid. She had previously mentioned having no fucks left to give because of a terminal medical diagnosis.