Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Different Styles, Different Sensibilities

On January 19, 2010 Representative Steve Cohen (D-Tenn), as heard on Rush Limbaugh's program, overreached on the floor of the U.S. House, asserting of the far-right:

They don't like the truth so they summarily dismiss it. They say it's a government takeover of healthcare. A big lie just like Goebbels. You say it enough and you repeat the lie, repeat the lie, repeat the lie until eventually people believe it. Like blood libel, that's the same kind of thing. The Germans said enough about the Jews and people believed it, and you have the Holocaust. You tell a lie over and over again.

Limbaugh justifiably criticized Cohen's remarks but unfortunately did so by comparing Democrats- mainstream Democrats, including two centrists- to the Third Reich's Minister of Propaganda:

It's parallel universe, alternative universe time. (sigh) We could point out countless Democrats who have perfected Goebbels. Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton could probably teach a course. Harry Reid.

But that wasn't the end of it. A few moments later, Limbaugh would skirt along the edges of anti-Semitism (never quite getting there) while plunging wholeheartedly into victimhood:

If you're gonna make a comparison with Nazi Germany, isn't it clear who the new Jews are? It sure as hell isn't the Democrats. Who are the new Jews, Congressman Cohen? It's not the Democrats. It's the Tea Party. Tea Party.

But it didn't stop even there. Today, Limbaugh told his vast audience

So we've got this guy Steve Cohen, and the media acts somewhat amused, and you have Sheriff Dipstick, and they act amused and then they're laudatory, Sheriff Dipstick and Steve Cohen, they're not backing down. When's the last time I was ever applauded for my courage in sticking to my guns? It doesn't happen.

I don't know who in the media is "somewhat amused" but if Rush doesn't make something up, he's not happy. And if he whips out his victim card by wailing "when's the last time I was ever applauded for courage in sticking to my guns?" it is standard fare for the right. Even $50 million a year doesn't protect from the sufferings of Job a man who courageously beats the drum for tax cuts for the wealthy.

But.... they're not backing down?

Asked by Ed Schultz on January 20 if he were sorry he "made the connection" between the Holocaust and vehement critics of the Affordable Care Act, Cohen replied "I definitely I am. And I`m sorry that any Jewish people, my Republican colleagues, or anybody got the wrong impression."

Asked if he would "say that you would not use that term again," Cohen responded, without qualification, "Never." Responding to the next question, the Democrat added "No. Well, I`m not going to do it again. I`ve learned my lesson."

And Rush Limbaugh says "they're not backing down." But this isn't about Rush Limbaugh- this is about liberal Democrats (such as Cohen) and conservative Republicans.

As recently as 1996, radical anti-abortion rights activist Randall Terry ran as a Republican for the Florida state senate. Now he is applying his obsession with abortion to a race for the Democratic nomination for President, announcing his candidacy outside of the Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C. Terry declared

We will run ads on the Super Bowl 2012 that show dead babies," he began, "the victims of abortion. We will, with the help of God, bring America face to face with the victims of Obama's policies. This campaign is about human rights, ladies and gentlemen.

"It will be first and foremost about the human rights of babies that are being brutally slaughtered and thrown in dumpsters and landfills. But it is also about the human rights of the slave labor force on Obama's plantation.

"We have a federal plantation - there's always work, there's always have a roof over your head as long as you'll be faithful to stay on the plantation. Well, there's a lot of slave laborers, myself included, that would like real freedom again.

"We will also focus on President Obama's foreign policy....

Pro-life activists frequently have claimed a parallel between the Holocaust and abortion. Roughly six million people murdered in an effort to rid Europe of a group of people erroneously considered a race by evil, genocidal maniacs heading an authoritarian state. Versus a controversial medical procedure willingly selected by individuals (pregnant women) of a free society and democratic republic.

Steve Cohen apologized; pro-life extremists invoking the Holocaust do not. We are waiting, but not holding our breath.

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