The North Iowa Tea Party has put up a billboard in Mason City comparing President Obama to Hitler and Lenin (see the AP story, which includes a photo, here). "RADICAL LEADERS PREY ON THE FEARFUL & NAIVE," the billboard reads, below photos of the three allegedly similar radicals.
Without getting into the merits of such comparisons (the group's co-founder to the AP that the billboard supports an argument for Obama's socialism), here's a knee-jerk reaction: the meme of Obama/Hitler comparison is more fully embraced by Tea Party activists than some in the movement would like to believe, or would like everyone else to believe, or would like to be the honest truth. Tea Party organizers will tell you that the most offensive and/or aggressive signs seen at their rallies were, to their own suspicions, planted by liberals. The Obama-as-Nazi signs don't express the true sentiments of the (albeit totally disparate) movement, they say, and not only should they be ferreted out by self-policing Tea Partiers and fail to survive the movement's Darwinism of ideas, but some of them are probably held up by liberal posers seeking to discredit the Tea Party as extremist. Multiple leaders at high levels of Tea Party organizing groups have said this.
But in Northern Iowa, evidently, there is institutional support for comparing Obama to Hitler, whether or not other leaders agree with it.
UPDATE: Here's the photo, courtesy of the Mason City Globe Gazette, taken by Deb Nicklay; here's the Globe Gazette's story on the billboard, also by Deb Nicklay.
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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.