Earlier this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) came under heavy criticism from the right wing for her dismissal of the town hall tea parties as nothing but “Astroturf.” She also noted the disturbing fact that participants have been “carrying swastikas and symbols like that.”
The conservative site Wizbang called her claim a “crock.” Rush Limbaugh said that Pelosi was “deranged” and accused her of calling conservatives “Nazis.” He then, however, went on to note the similarities between Democrats and Nazis:
The Speaker of the House accusing people showing up at these town hall meetings of wearing Swastikas — that is not insignificant folks. This woman is deranged. They are unraveling. But that is not insignificant. You have the Democrat Speaker of the House saying that people — citizens — who are concerned about health care are now wearing Swastikas. She’s basically saying that we are Nazis. She is saying that the people who oppose this are Nazis. [...]
This party, the Democrat Party, and where it’s taken this country — the radical left leadership of this party — bears much more resemblance to Nazi policies than anything we on the right believe in at all.
The intent of these displays is to portray Obama as Hitler and his proposals as fascist, and they seem to be following the lead of many right-wing pundits. Just yesterday, Limbaugh said, “Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, also ruled by dictate.” Fox News host Glenn Beck — an inspiration for many of these town hall attendees — has said “fascism is on the rise.” Even Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) has talked about the increasing danger in America of “true fascism.”
This August recess isn’t the first time we’ve seen these displays at tea parties either. Signs comparing Obama to Hitler or other global dictators were prominent at the tea parties a few months ago as well.
Anti-Defamation League National Director and Holocaust survivor Abraham Foxman put out a statement today criticizing “attempts by some opponents of health care reform to bring Nazi imagery into the debate”:
Regardless of the political differences and the substantive differences in the debate over health care, the use of Nazi symbolism is outrageous, offensive and inappropriate. Americans should be able to disagree on the issues without coloring it with Nazi imagery and comparisons to Hitler. This is not where the debate should be at all.
Foxman also criticized Limbaugh’s comparison of Democrats to Nazis, saying, “Comparisons to the Nazis are deeply offensive and only serve to diminish and trivialize the extent of the Nazi regime’s crimes against humanity and the murder of six million Jews and millions of others in the Holocaust. I don’t see any comparison here. It’s off-center, off-issue and completely inappropriate.
,An anti-health reform speaker compared health care reform to Hitler’s “Final Solution” at an Americans for Prosperity “Patients First bus tour” event in Colorado earlier this week. After repeating the debunked claim that the health care reform bill would mandate euthanasia, the speaker declared, “Adolf Hitler issued six million end of life orders–he called his program the final solution. I kind of wonder what we’re going to call ours.”