So John Burton, chairman of the California Democratic Party, is in trouble for letting his mouth eclipse his brain. Not much new in that. In fact, we have seen this movie nearly about as often as our kids have seen "Harry Potter" movies.
But this time Burton has outdone himself. He has equated the Republican Party to Nazi propagandist extraordinaire Joseph Goebbels. That is one of the ugliest and most offensive comparisons that can be made in American society. It is akin to hate speech. Such hyperbole has no place in American politics. It just doesn't. And, frankly, to advance such a notion is simply mean-spirited and displays profound ignorance of history.
Look, we get it. We are in the middle of a political campaign that the polls tell us is fairly close and things get emotional. As part of that, the truth gets stretched and massaged and manipulated. And, yes, even outright lies get told.
But Goebbels? No way.
There is no comparison between the Nazis and anyone, anything or any party in mainstream American politics.
If we are to have any hope of elevating the level of political discourse in this country's campaigns, we simply must not allow such comparisons to enter the fray.
Just to be clear, we are not advocating censorship of Burton or anyone else who wants to advance such tripe. We believe in free speech. Rather, we ask all Americans of good will to give such comments the consideration they deserve,
Even political allies are backpedaling away from Burton's remarks faster than an NFL cornerback covering a sprinting wide receiver.
"That doesn't have any place in the political discourse here in Charlotte," Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt told gathered reporters at the convention. "President Obama promised to lift up American politics. Unfortunately, some of his supporters, by employing rhetoric that has no place in our political system, are bringing it down to the gutter."
We offer an amen to that.
Even Burton has come around somewhat by offering a tepid apology in which he said he was sorry if he offended anyone.
Of course, Burton is not the only person to make such silly statements. Gov. Jerry Brown made a similar comparison in 2010 during the heat of his gubernatorial campaign against Meg Whitman.
Some of our more astute readers will no doubt criticize this editorial for being hypocritical because in the past our letter writers have trolled such waters in our Letters to the Editor column, usually when talking about either President Barack Obama or George W. Bush.
It is a point well taken. It is a deficiency in these pages that we plan to remedy. We have become convinced that there just is not a place on our pages -- or in campaigns, for that matter -- for such comparisons and we do not want to be part of their propagation.