11.07.2009

For The GOP, Nazi Comparisons Are The "New Black"

Remember this from Michele Bachmann' anti-anything-Obama protest in D.C. the other day (h/t Think Progress)?

ThinkProgress’ Lee Fang snapped this photograph of a prominent sign being displayed at today’s GOP anti-health care rally. It’s unclear whether this sign is one of the many being handed out by Americans for Prosperity, the corporate front group sponsoring today’s rally. The sign reads “National Socialist Health Care: Dachau, Germany – 1945”:


Here's a close up of the sign:

“National Socialist Health Care: Dachau, Germany – 1945.”
MSNBC's David Shuster highlighted this "orgy of bigotry, racism, antisemitism and hate" while standing in as host on the November 6th edition of MSNBC's The Ed Show: (via MSNBC):
Op-Ed: A real debate on health care, please

Nov. 6: David Shuster talks about our elected officials should be debating, instead of the talking points of extreme right seeping into the dialogue.


“How to recognize living under Nazis & Communists” (via Think Progress):
Right-Wing Conference Tells Activists To Get Their Guns Ready For ‘Bloody Battle’ With Obama The Nazi

At the How To Take Back America Conference last weekend, conservative speaker Kitty Werthmann led a workshop called “How to recognize living under Nazis & Communists.” Announcing the panel in a column preceding the conference, talk show host Janet Porter gushed how Werthmann’s description of Austria in the 1930s is a “mirror to America” today — noting “They had Joseph Goebbels; we have Mark Lloyd, the diversity czar.” The room was packed over capacity to hear Werthmann, who grew up as a Christian in Austria and serves as Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum South Dakota President.

During her session, Werthmann went through a litany of examples of how President Obama is like Adolf Hitler. She noted that Hitler, who acted “like an American politician,” was “elected in a 100% Christian nation.” Although she failed to once mention Antisemitism or militarism, Werthmann explained how universal healthcare, an Equal Rights Amendment, and increased taxes were telltale signs of Nazism. Werthmann also warned the audience:

If we had our guns, we would have fought a bloody battle. So, keep your guns, and buy more guns, and buy ammunition. [...] Take back America. Don’t let them take the country into Socialism. And I refer again, Hitler’s party was National Socialism. [...] And that’s what we are having here right now, which is bordering on Marxism.

Before the event, ThinkProgress asked Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), one of several Republican members of Congress also speaking at the conference, to autograph Werthmann’s DVD about National Socialism. She happily obliged:

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This kind of stuff shouldn't surprise anyone when you have the leader of the Rethugs spouting this stuff all the time. This is Rush Limbaugh spouting of similar Nazi-Hitler comparisons from August (via Media Matters):
Well, Rep. Steve Israel has a message for Ms. Bachmann:
Rep. Steve Israel (D - New York) condemns the use of Holocaust images by Tea Party protesters and calls on Republican leaders to apologize.

As have Jewish Organizations (h/t Think Progress):
NJDC:GOP must condemn “Tea Party” signs

The National Jewish Democratic Council is calling on top Republicans to condemn the Holocaust imagery and anti-Semitism on signs seen at Thursday's "Tea Party" protest in Washington.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center:

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is calling on the organizers of today’s grassroots rally in Washington D.C. to publicly repudiate the use of Nazi and Holocaust imagery, sometimes gruesome, in the protest against government policies. This comparison has continued to be invoked despite numerous protests from the Wiesenthal Center and others.

Numerous websites have posted a photo of protesters hold a sign showing slain concentration camp victims with the caption: “National Socialist Health Care Dachau Germany 1945”. Another sign declares that the White House and its alleged “government takeover” of the economy, banks, the media and healthcare, is “Just Like Nazi Germany!”.

“Using the victims of the Holocaust in the debate over health care is a cheap and disgusting abuse of history,” said Mark Weitzman, the Wiesenthal Center’s Director of Government Affairs. “It reflects only the ignorance and callousness of those who cannot debate an issue on its merits and should be immediately repudiated by all responsible parties,” he continued. “Both the memory of the victims of the Nazis and the American public deserve better,” he concluded.

Earlier this year, when the logo for the White House healthcare proposal was compared to the Nazi’s eagle symbol, Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Wiesenthal Center said, “Americans have every right to be critical of the President’s health care plan but we demean ourselves and everything that America stands for when we compare either Democrats or Republicans to the Nazi Third Reich. Some of us may be too liberal and others too conservative, but none of us are Nazis.”

The National Jewish Democratic Council:

Today's G.O.P. "Tea Party" on Capitol Hill opposing health insurance reform invoked disgusting Holocaust imagery and outright anti-Semitism. Top Republican Party leaders including House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), and House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-IN) stood before a crowd that included a banner protesting health care reform and displaying corpses from the Holocaust. Yet another sign charged that "Obama takes his orders from the Rothchilds" [sic]. Such vile invocations of Nazi and Holocaust rhetoric have been condemned in recent weeks by rabbinic movements, The Interfaith Alliance, and The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants.

The time has come for Boehner, Cantor, Pence and other G.O.P. leaders -- especially those who were present today -- to condemn these disgusting comparisons and anti-Semitism. They must tell their base once and for all to cut out this despicable pattern of Holocaust imagery and rhetoric.

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Elie Wiesel strongly condemned the signs from his foundation’s Twitter page (h/t Think Progress):
In an interview with Bloomberg, the last Jewish congressman in the Republican party, Rep. Eric Cantor, finally condemned the signs (and Rush Limbaugh) (h/t TPM):

Nov. 7 (Bloomberg) -- The second-ranking Republican in the U.S. House, Eric Cantor, criticized some comments by talk-show host Rush Limbaugh as inappropriate and said his party needs to be inclusive.

“The Republican Party in its roots is a party of inclusion and we ought to be promoting that and making sure that voices are heard,” Cantor, of Virginia, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend.

Cantor, when asked about Limbaugh’s comments that “Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, also ruled by dictate,” and his comparison of the administration’s health-care logo to a swastika, said the comparisons were wrong.

“Do I condone the mention of Hitler in any discussion about politics?” Cantor said. “No, I don’t, because obviously that is something that conjures up images that frankly are not, I think, very helpful.”

TPM has this to say about Cantor's comments about Rush:

In a climate where Republicans who criticize Limbaugh come crawling back on their knees (see TPM's "Forgive Me Rush" photo feature), Cantor's office has pointed reporters to the story, emailing the link to Glenn Thrush's post on Cantor's remarks.

It's worth noting that Limbaugh made the comment in question -- "Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, also ruled by dictate" -- on Aug. 6. Cantor at the time did not respond publicly to calls from Jewish groups to condemn the remarks.

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Does anyone else get the irony in all this?

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