There's a strange reflex people have when reading political articles they don't like: rather than respond on the merits, they immediately allege hypocrisy to defuse the charge. So when I criticized Robert Byrd's invocation of Hitler's takeover of Germany during Senate debate over the "nuclear option" in my last post, one of the commenters immediately replied with a list of Republican references to Nazi Germany, writing "From the Congressional Record... because it is perfectly acceptable to equate an argument with Naziism as long as the argument is uttered by a Republican." The post ends with this: "I can't help but admire the blatant hypocrisy."
Why is this knee-jerk reaction so common? We got it constantly at Spinsanity - we'd post something about how side A did X, and people would immediately write in and either say "But side B did X before" (or "side B does Y and that's more important"). There's no logic to either response. What Republicans said before doesn't make Byrd's comments any more or less appropriate. Also, no one's established that the Republicans who criticized Byrd have made Nazi references themselves in the past, so it's not even clear that the hypocrisy charge is more than just fuzzy "your side did it too" nonsense.
(For the record, we wrote a large number of posts about inappropriate Nazi/Hitler rhetoric at Spinsanity, so there are no grounds for accusing me of hypocrisy -- not sure if the commenter was doing so or not.)