It's funny how easy it is to turn around the slogan the North Iowa Tea Party put on their Mason City billboard (see picture and story at http://bit.ly/anXzAJ). It's even funnier how tone-deaf this particular group of Tea Partiers was -- so much so that they had to be rebuked by their brethren from other parts of the state. One of them called "these kinds of signs" that equate Obama, Hitler and Lenin "borderline hate crimes." It's hilarious, then, that when the North Iowa Tea Party spokesman finally talked to the media, he said that the comparison was valid, but the billboard was just "misunderstood" (see story at http://bit.ly/aIq35g). It's worth listening to what he has to say, though, about why they made the comparison. He's denouncing the whole sweep of government assistance going back to the New Deal and social security. And he rightly points out that the latest wave government involvement started under George W. Bush (whom he is also critical of). The question still remains (and, as far as I'm concerned, it hasn't been answered in a satisfactory way): What would you have done instead? A path of reform, though certainly imperfect, is preferable to total economic collapse. One other point is valid: Strengthening this country's social safety net is not equivalent to embracing Nazism or Communism. It's not even a step towards those philosophies. See the whole series of Globe-Gazette stories at http://bit.ly/bj5MT8 and see an editorial on the topic from The Courier at http://bit.ly/9P5Vcm.