Speaking at Ohio State University earlier this month, Barack Obama urged students to pay no attention to those paranoid types who “incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity.” Oddly enough, in recent days the most compelling testimony for this view of government has come from the president himself, who insists with a straight face that he had no idea that the Internal Revenue Service had spent two years targeting his political enemies until he “learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this.” Like you, all he knows is what he reads in the papers. Which is odd, because his Justice Department is bugging those same papers, so you’d think he’d at least get a bit of a heads-up...Obama, clearly, is nothing like Hitler (save for both leaders' much-vaunted "charisma" and gift of oratory), but one is reminded of how Ian Kershaw, in his bio of the tyrant, explains that Hitler (a rather lazy leader who didn't want to be bothered with details, unlike, say, Stalin, who was more of a micro-manager) didn't have to tell his underlings and their bureaucracies what to do. Instead, they took it upon themselves to "work towards the Fuhrer," i.e. and in essence, to ask themselves "what would Hitler do?"--and then do it.
Now, that may or may not be what happened at the IRS--that underlings, in the absence of a direct order, took it upon themselves to "work towards the POTUS." I would suggest, though, that, whether it aims to serve the interests of an arrogant demagogue or of a Nazi (ba dum pump), such an ethos is sinister to the enth degree.