Adolf Hitler and Thomas Jefferson both said a lot of memorable things, and they both didn't say a lot of memorable things that get attributed to them. This is about all they have in common. They probably wouldn't have liked each other much.
But somebody is always quoting one or the other, or both, to advance his own ends, and often this person is unscrupulous or uninformed, or both, which brings us to state Rep. Nate Bell.
A Tea Party Republican from Mena, Bell posted on his Facebook page what he said were the words of Hitler: "As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation."
Bell seems to be the only person in possession of this Hitler quote — passed down from some brown-shirted ancestor, perhaps — but Democrats, long accused of being soft on children, took offense anyway, claiming that their efforts to keep children away from sweatshops and child molesters hardly justified a comparison with Hitler's crowd. Bell responded that comparing Democrats to Nazis was "wayyyy easy. ... Dems use children to pass bad legislation regularly." He cited several of what he said were Democratic excesses in this regard, including a bill prohibiting drivers from using hand-held cell phones while operating motor vehicles in school zones. Only two of the bills he listed became law and one of those was sponsored by a Republican. Mr. Bell is clearly not a detail man.
That is pretty much the story of his party today. Short on fact, long on zealotry. Washington Republicans are committed to tearing off big chunks of Medicare and Social Security, over Democrats' objections. We expect Rep. Bell to discover a new Hitler quote any day now, something on the order of "As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the sick and the elderly, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation." Or he might attribute this one to Stalin or Mao. Probably not Jefferson, although he was the first Democrat.