American Slander

by Jonathan Chait | August 11, 2010

Markos Moulitsas has decided to go the "Liberal Fascism" route in his new book:

“We all agree with the Taliban.”—Rush Limbaugh, October 9, 2009

America’s primary international enemy—Islamic radicalism—insists on government by theocracy, curtails civil liberties, embraces torture, represses women, wants to eradicate homosexuals from society, and insists on the use of force over diplomacy. Remind you of a certain American political party? In American Taliban, Markos Moulitsas pulls no punches as he compares how the Republican Party and Islamic radicals maintain similar worldviews and tactics.

As Brendan Nyhan points out, the Limbaugh quote is pulled wildly out of context:

Rush Limbaugh was noting the irony of the fact that he agreed with the Taliban and Iran's opposition to President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize, not stating that he agreed with the Taliban in general as the phrasing above suggests:
"LIMBAUGH: I think that everybody is laughing. Our president is a worldwide joke. Folks, do you realize something has happened here that we all agree with the Taliban and Iran about and that is he doesn’t deserve the award. Now that’s hilarious, that I’m on the same side of something with the Taliban, and that we all are on the same side as the Taliban."

More importantly, the comparison between the conservative movement and the Taliban is obscene. There are certainly tendencies on the American right that are less extreme versions of Talibanism -- intolerance toward religious minorities, an insistence of shaping public policy according to religious dogma, hostility to science that contradicts religious texts -- but the differences in degree are so vast that they are a difference in kind. The Taliban enforces totalitarian law through wanton torture and violence. Whatever you want to say about the GOP's policies toward women and gays, it's not this:

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