Politics

Sen. Lindsey Graham and Glenn Beck Agree: Health Reform Is Like A Japanese Bombing Attack

Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA)

Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA)

Throughout the health reform debate, GOP lawmakers have tried desperately to smear health reform with increasingly bizarre and extreme remarks. In an interview on Monday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) added to the hyperbole, comparing the House Democrats’ efforts to pass healthcare reform legislation to a Japanese kamikaze mission. “Nancy Pelosi, I think, has got them all liquored up on sake and you know, they’re making a suicide run here,” Graham said.

Picking up on Graham’s theme, Glenn Beck today similarly smeared health reform as the attack on Pearl Harbor. On his radio show, Beck intoned that reform “is like Pearl Harbor” because “people will wake up” to the “battle”:

BECK: The second thing is to prepare yourself. This is a battle. Health care is a battle. It’s a battle — it’s not the war. It’s a battle. Believe me, if you are a group that has values and principles, and you are peaceful, your power is about to go through the roof, not through the floor. Because people are — this event is like Pearl Harbor. It will wake people up and they’ll go, “wait, wait, wait. What did they just do?”

Listen here:

Blasting Graham’s remarks, Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) — a Japanese American who was interned in a prison camp during World War II because of his heritage — said he was “disheartened” that the South Carolina senator “chose racially tinged rhetoric to express his opposition to health care reform.” He added, “there is a way to engage in healthy debate without alienating Asian Americans, who are an important part of this democracy and healthcare reform.”

Disregarding Honda’s plea for a substantive and nonracial health reform debate, Graham explained that his “comments really reflect the fanaticism of the Democratic leadership. I don’t know whether it’s sake or moonshine but no sober person would do this.” “For the senator to add ‘moonshiners’ to an already unsavory sake and suicide statement does a disservice to the underlying issue,” Honda replied in a statement. “I question who has, in fact — to use the senator’s words — lost their political mind.”

UPDATE

ThinkProgress caught up with Honda today on Capitol Hill to follow up regarding Graham and Beck’s comments. Honda noted that in times of economic calamity, there’s usually an “ignorant politician” who will “scapegoat a group of people,” especially Asian Americans, for political gain. Referring to his time in an internment camp, Honda said, “the difference between ’42 and 2010 is that I can say something back.” Watch it:

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