September 8, 2012

Enough Already with the Nazi References

Here are two recent examples of politicians making Nazi references for no reason, one from each party.

The first was John Burton, the chair of the California delegation to the Democratic National Convention, discussing what he believed to be lies told by Republicans.

Here's his apology:
If Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, or the Republicans are insulted by my describing their campaign tactic as the big lie -- I most humbly apologize to them or anyone who might have been offended by that comment. 
And here's why he had to apologize:
They lie and they don't care if people think they lie. As long as you lie, Joseph Goebbels, the big lie, you keep repeating it, you know. That was Goebbels, a big lie, they said they don't care about facts. They're going to lie so, I mean, that's not pejorative to them. They probably wear it as a compliment. 
Well, that was a helpful contribution to our political discourse, don't you think?  I mean, I get that people think the R's lied at their convention and on the campaign trail - I feel that way myself sometimes. But Goebbels? Really?

The second was Maryland Republican Roscoe Bartlett, discussing student loans. Yes, student loans, and the fact that in his reading of the Constitution there's no reference to student loans. Clearly, that's a Holocaustic topic if there ever was one, right?

First, his apology:
While explaining my position on an important Constitutional issue I regrettably used an extreme example as a comparison that was ill-advised and inappropriate. I should never use something as horrific as the Holocaust to make a political point, and I deeply apologize to anyone I may have offended.
And here's why he needed to apologize:
Not that it’s not a good idea to give students loans; it certainly is a good idea to give them loans. But if you can ignore the Constitution to do something good today, tomorrow you will be ignoring the Constitution to do something bad. You could. There are more people in our, in America today of German ancestry than any other [inaudible]. The Holocaust that occurred in Germany — how in the heck could that happen? And when you start down the wrong road, it can be a very slippery slope.
What happened after their statements was equally interesting. The Romney Jewish  Coalition (who knew?) managed to tie President Obama to the remarks, saying that Obama had "promised to lift up American politics" but his supporters were "bringing it down to the gutter."  Even better, though, was the response from the California Republicans, saying Burton's remarks were
exactly the kind of desperate, deranged rhetoric the Democrats are going to employ to distract voters from their failed record over the past four years.
Hmm. The Desperate Deranged Democratic Demagoguery & Distraction Division has a nice ring to it, I guess.

Meanwhile, on the other side, Rebuild the Dream, an organization representing the 99% (who's acted with assistance from immediately called for Barnett's resignation. They have not yet called for Burton's resignation.

Listen: President Obama had nothing to do with this.  Democrats are not going to employ this kind of rhetoric, only foolish people are. And organizations calling for a Republican to resign, but ignoring a Dem who made just as stupid a remark, lose credibility pretty quickly.

Enough already.


  1. Very interesting, Sue. Another claim that you hear from both "sides" is the claim that of "Judicial Activism." When Republicans don't get what they want from the Supreme Court, they call it Judicial Activism. When Democrats don't get what they want from the courts, they call it the same thing.
    Here is something else kind of weird: As annoying as all the double-speak is, if there was a person who got far enough into politics to be visible, who was also true to what they said and spoke responsibly---consistently---and who, somehow, survived the onslaught of accusation and dirt-digging on their way to visibility, we might not vote for him/her. As a culture, we seem to have a love-hate relationship with all things that are sensational and National Enquirish!

  2. Thanks, Anthony - I have to agree with you, I'm not sure what we'd do with a truly honest politician. We're so accustomed to sound bites and sensationalism, we might not even recognize the truth if someone had the courage (and the patience) to give it to us. I also think that there's so much self-preservation on the part of the politicians that there isn't a lot of likelihood we're going to see anyone willing to stick their necks out. Appreciate the comment, thanks!