I've been thinking about Robert Byrd's comments on Republicans' desire for a full Senate vote on judge nominees and how he argued against it on the grounds that this was the sort of thing that the Nazis did under Hitler. When you take that in conjunction with Howard Dean's saying that the fight between Dems and Reps is good vs. evil, I think the Dems have to admit that their new leader and oldest senator are at least on par with Ann Coulter's calling all liberals traitors (even if she does it with a nice, freindly smile) and Alan Keyes's calling all gays hedonists, both of which fail to make important moral distinctions and are especially unconscionable by someone clearly smart enough to make such distinctions.
But isn't what Dean and Byrd are doing worse? After all, isn't calling someone a Nazi or evil worse than calling someone a traitor or a hedonist, from the very perspective of those who complain about Ann Coulter's extreme rhetoric? Isn't it at least a little worse to call someone one of the worst things possible than it is just to question their loyalty to their country (which is consistent with all sorts of other morally good things) or saying they care more about pleasure than the moral status of their pleasurable actions (which is the common conception of hedonism, even if it's not historically or philosophically accurate to use it that way)? That was how these statements seemed to me, anyway, when I tried to figure out the moral severity of each. Even compared to Ann Coulter and Alan Keyes, the left's favorite inflammatory rhetors of the right, what Howard Dean and Robert Byrd have been saying is pretty extreme.