WHEN IT DOUBT, THE RIGHT GOES WITH THE HITLER COMPARISON…. After President Obama successfully secured $20 billion in escrow for Gulf Coast victims of BP’s oil spill, the right tried a variety of attacks. By now, they’re familiar — it was a “shakedown”; it was “extortion”; it was “unconstitutional.”

But Thomas Sowell kicked things up a notch, taking the right-wing whining about the president fighting for small businesses and struggling families to a whole new level this week.

[D]uring the worldwide Great Depression, the German Reichstag passed a law “for the relief of the German people.” That law gave Hitler dictatorial powers that were used for things going far beyond the relief of the German people — indeed, powers that ultimately brought a rain of destruction down on the German people and on others. If the agreement with BP was an isolated event, perhaps we might hope that it would not be a precedent. But there is nothing isolated about it.

Yep, we’ve moved past the “shakedown” phase, and have entered the “Hitler-esque” stage. Oh good.

Likewise, Matt Yglesias noted today, “In addition, I note that yesterday noted fascism scholar and moron Jonah Goldberg observed that there’s a slippery slope from infrastructure projects to Auschwitz.”

Of course there is.

Far-right rhetoric is routinely exasperating, but this Nazi preoccupation holds a special place in the lexicon. Remember when Obama’s efforts to rescue American auto manufacturing were compared to Hitler? And how many times did Republicans compare health care reform to the Nazis? Or how about the time a Republican congressman compared Obama to Hitler over national-service opportunities? Let’s also not forget Newt Gingrich’s recent assertion that Obama and his backers are actually worse than Nazis.

On its face, the fact that so many conservatives rely on Hitler comparisons so often is a reminder of an unfortunate truth — much of the discourse on the right has gone hopelessly insane.

But I’m also reminded of the time some anonymous contributor posted a homemade video to MoveOn.org’s website comparing Bush to Hitler, without the group’s knowledge. MoveOn pulled the submission, but to this day, far-right voices use the incident — “See how extreme liberals are? MoveOn compared Bush to Hitler!” — to dismiss the left, even though the attack is baseless.

But if the left is radical because some random guy compared Bush to Hitler, what does this tell us about the right, which routinely compares Obama to Hitler?

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.