Maybe comparing Republicans to Nazis started with the 1964 Goldwater/Johnson presidential race.
Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater accepted an invitation to visit an American military installation located in Bavaria, Germany. On “CBS Evening News” hosted by Walter Cronkite, correspondent Daniel Schorr said: “It is now clear that Sen. Goldwater’s interview with Der Spiegel, with its hard line appealing to right-wing elements in Germany, was only the start of a move to link up with his opposite numbers in Germany.” The reaction shot — when the cameras returned to Cronkite — showed the “most trusted man in America” gravely shaking his head.
Or maybe it began when Goldwater accepted the Republican nomination, and Democratic California Gov. Pat Brown said the “stench of fascism is in the air.”
Or maybe the Republicans-as-fascists narrative really jump-started during the 1968 presidential campaign. For commentary at the political conventions that year, ABC hired left-wing pundit Gore Vidal and matched him with conservative pundit William F. Buckley. If the network was looking for fireworks, they were not disappointed. Quarreling with Buckley over the impact of anti-Vietnam War dissidents, Gore called Buckley a “crypto-Nazi.” Incensed, Buckley fired back: “Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi, or I’ll sock you in your goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered.”
More recently, former Vice President Al Gore said: “(George W. Bush’s) executive branch has made it a practice to try and control and intimidate news organizations, from PBS to CBS to Newsweek. … And every day, they unleash squadrons of digital brownshirts to harass and hector any journalist who is critical of the president.”
Entertainer and liberal activist Harry Belafonte, when asked whether the number and prominence of blacks in the Bush administration suggested a lack of racism, said, “Hitler had a lot of Jews high up in the hierarchy of the Third Reich.”
Then-NAACP Chairman Julian Bond pulled out the Nazi card in 2004 while criticizing congressional Republicans and the White House: “They preach racial equality but practice racial division. … Their idea of equal rights is the American flag and Confederate swastika flying side by side.”
Bond later clarified whom he meant by “they.” Speaking at historically black Fayetteville State University in North Carolina in 2006, Bond said, “The Republican Party would have the American flag and the swastika flying side by side.”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who dared to rein in excessive public employee compensation packages, received the full Nazi treatment. The hard-left blog Libcom.org wrote: “Scott Walker is a fascist, perhaps not in the classical sense since he doesn’t operate in the streets, but a fascist nonetheless. … He is a fascist, for his program takes immediate and direct aim at (a sector of) the working class …”
This brings us to the recently concluded Republican National Convention. California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton offered this analysis: “(Republicans) lie, and they don’t care if people think they lie. As long as you lie, (Nazi propaganda minister) Joseph Goebbels — the big lie — you keep repeating it.”
In dismissing Republicans’ concern over the possibility of voter fraud, Pat Lehman, a leading member of the Kansas delegation, told The Wichita Eagle: “It’s like Hitler said, if you’re going to tell a lie, tell a big lie, and if you tell it often enough and say it in a loud enough voice, some people are going to believe you.”
Next up, we have the chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party. Dick Harpootlian compared the state’s Republican governor to Hitler’s mistress. When told that the Republicans were holding a competing press conference at a NASCAR Hall of Fame basement studio, Harpootlian told the South Carolina delegation: “(Gov. Nikki Haley) was down in the bunker, a la Eva Braun.”
How casually Democrats make Hitler-Nazi-fascist references to demean their political opponents is astonishing. By calling political opponents “fascists” because of policy disagreements, Democrats trivialize a regime responsible for exterminating 6 million Jews in a war that resulted in the deaths of over 50 million people.
Where does this cavalier Nazi talk take us?
In 1994, schoolteachers in Oakland, Calif., took 70 mostly black high school students to see “Schindler’s List.” Some of the kids began laughing during a scene where a Jewish woman was mercilessly killed. In a Los Angeles Times opinion piece called “Why Would Anyone Laugh at ‘Schindler’s List’?” a theater employee wrote: “A three-hour-plus film in black and white about the Holocaust may not be everyone’s choice, but those who decide to view it must be prepared and understand. I find it hard to believe kids today are so desensitized to violence that when they see the strange convulsions of someone who’s been shot, their first instinct is to laugh. If one of their friends was gunned down on the way home, would they stand there and burst into laughter at the way he/she died?”
This Oakland students/”Schindler’s List” disconnect is aided and abetted by leftists like Gore, Bond and Burton who shout words like “Nazi” or “fascist” or “Hitler” at conservatives.
And, no, it appears they have no shame.
Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit www.LarryElder.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2012 LAURENCE A. ELDER