Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Speaking of Nazis…

After last week’s hue and cry by the Republicans over Senator Durbin’s use of the “N-word” (in this case Nazis), you’d think they’d be simon-pure in their avoidance of any such odious comparisons. Ah, but you are forgetting that we’re talking about Republicans, people to whom demonization (see below), hypocrisy and short-term memory loss are a way of life. John Byrne in Raw Story has a long list of Republicans and their allies using the Nazi / Fascist analogy for everything from stem-cell research to the heartbreak of psoriasis (well, not that, but you get the idea).

Last June, then-Bush campaign manager Mehlman defended an ad that contained footage of Adolf Hitler interspersed with images of Democratic leaders Al Gore, Dick Gephart and John Kerry. The campaign defended the images, saying they were taken from a video on MoveOn.org.


White House confidante Grover Norquist, known for his blistering attacks on U.S. taxes, likened the estate tax to the “morality of the Holocaust” in October 2003.

“The argument that some who play to the politics of hate and envy and class division will say is, ‘Well, that’s only 2 percent — or, as people get richer, 5 percent, in the near future — of Americans likely to have to pay [the estate tax],” he told NPR. “I mean, that’s the morality of the Holocaust: ‘Oh, it’s only a small percentage. It’s not you; it’s somebody else.’”

After being criticized for his remarks, Norquist expanded them in 2004 to include Democrats.

“The Nazis were for gun control, the Nazis were for high marginal tax rates…. Do you want to talk about who’s closer politically to national socialism, the Right or the Left?” he told the Jewish newspaper The Forward. He also “told the Forward that he would not hesitate to use Holocaust comparisons in the future.”

A Republican senator invoked Nazism when criticizing stem cell research last year.

“We certainly have all seen the rejections of Nazi Germany’s abuses of science,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) declared regarding his opposition to stem cell research last October. “As a society and a nation, there ought to be some limit on what we can allow or should allow.”

In response to a ruling on abortion last September, Congressman Steve King said following law on reproductive rights equivalent to a Nazi guard saying he was following orders.

“That, Mr. Speaker, is a ‘modern-day’ equivalent of the Nazi prison guard saying ‘I was just following orders,’” he said on the House floor Sept. 8, 2004. “It was all legal in Nazi Germany at the time.”

Another senator even compared the Kyoto climate treaty to Nazism, repeating a quotation from a Russian official.

Sen. James Inhofe said Oct. 11, 2004 that Kyoto “would deal a powerful blow on the whole humanity similar to the one humanity experienced when Nazism and communism flourished.”

The Oklahoma Republican added, “The world has certainly turned on its head that we Americans must look to Russians for speaking out strongly against irrational authoritarian ideologies.”

Sen. Tom Cole (R-OK) dragged out Hitler to hit Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.

“Cole Claims a Vote Against Bush Is a Vote For Hitler,” KTOK radio in Oklahoma blared last year.

“Republican Congressman Tom Cole claims a vote against the ‘re-election’ of President Bush is like supporting Adolph Hitler during World War Two,” the station reported. “It’s what he said recently before a meeting of Canadian County Republicans.”

Cole later codified his statement, saying through a spokesperson: “What do you think Hitler would have thought if Roosevelt would’ve lost the election in 1944?”

Others, too, have likened Democratic policy to Nazism. Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX) compared a Democratic tax plan to Nazi law in 2002.

“Now, forgive me, but that is right out of Nazi Germany,” Gramm said. “I don’t understand … why all of a sudden we are passing laws that sound as if they are right out of Nazi Germany.”

And just last month, Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) compared Democrats with Adolf Hitler during the filibuster battle.

“Imagine, the rule that this is the way we confirm judges has been in place for 214 years, broken by the other side 2 years ago, and the audacity of some Members to stand up and say, How dare you break this rule, it is the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942 saying: I’m in Paris, how dare you invade me, how dare you bomb my city. It’s mine,” Santorum said May 19. “This is no more the rule of the Senate than it was the rule of the Senate before not to filibuster.”

But it’s okay if you’re a Republican…