While Limbaugh is one of the latest national media hosts who has advanced these claims, Fox News host Glenn Beck began doing things like this, months ago:
Of course, Beck is the brain-child behind the "9/12 Project" where he encourages citizens to embrace his 9 principles and 12 virtues which include:
1. America Is Good.
2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
Ever since, Beck's "9/12 Project" has spawned chapters all over the country (including in Cincinnati) who have been active in their participation with local chapters of the Tea-Party movement and who have recently been in attendance at local health care forums.
So is it any surprise that members of the Cincinnati 9/12 Project are now adopting the same comparisons to Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany that we are seeing from people like Limbaugh and Beck? Here is a clip from a recent post of a letter by Pete Wolf from the blog over at the Cincinnati 9/12 Project (emphasis mine):
Dear Fellow Citizens,
I appeal to you to express outrage to your elected officials regarding the latest affronts to our freedoms by the White House. Based on my reading of history and my own family’s experiences, these latest White House initiatives resemble those used by totalitarian states. I am very familiar with these tactics since I immigrated to this great country of ours, have parents who survived the Hitler years in Germany, and have relatives who resisted Communism in East Germany. I am personally outraged by the following:
• INTIMIDATION - The Democratic National Committee, in undoubtedly close collaboration with the White House, released a web video on Wednesday titled “Enough of the Mob” in which they refer to constituents in community forums as “mobs” and “right-wing extremists”. This labeling, at best, appears to be an attempt to intimidate average citizens from expressing their views. At worst, it could be an attempt to define and isolate the White House’s opposition for subsequent actions by either the government or its supporters. Hitler started his assault on Jews with labeling and disparaging propaganda!
The Cincinnati Tea Party enjoyed this entry so much, that they reposted it on their own blog.
This implication, that the opponents to Obama's health care plan are being labeled and targeted for "subsequent actions" from the government much like Hitler did to the Jews, is the same type of hyperbolic rhetoric that has led to the following condemnations:
Cliff May of the National Review:
It is wrong, outrageous and damaging for Rush Limbaugh to compare Obama to Hitler. . . . Such hyperbole only serves to confuse and trivialize issues much more grave than tax rates and health-care plans.
The American Jewish Congress:
The Limbaugh comments comparing Obama ( and Pelosi )to Hitler and the Nazis are grossly offensive and intolerable. They reflect a nasty and hyperbolic tendency on our political culture, one which makes reasoned discourse impossible, confuses disagreement with evil, and which makes it impossible to distinguish evil from ordinary politics. . . . It behooves all participants in the political process to unequivocally disavow the comparison and to make it plain that peddlers of such noxious comparison have no place in our politics, no matter how large their audiences. And all Americans should make plain their disgust at the comparisons by talk show hosts by a prompt use of the off button.
The Anti-Defamation League:
"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," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor. "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."
"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," said Mr. Foxman. "I don't see any comparison here. It's off-center, off-issue and completely inappropriate."
It is troubling to see local organizations fall into the same patterns that have been condemned nationally, so I hope to allow Karen Best of the Cincinnati 9/12 Project and Mike Wilson of the Cincinnati Tea Party organization to weigh in on why this type of language is posted on the blogs of their organizations and give them an opportunity to address these comparisons. Thus, I have sent the following email to each of them:
As you are aware, much media coverage has been given to the town hall meetings at which there has been vocal opposition to the proposed health care legislation. Nationally, figures such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck have compared President Obama and Democrats to Adolph Hitler and Nazis which has sparked condemnations from Conservatives, Liberals, and organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League.
Recently, both on the blog for the Cincinnati 9/12 Project and re-posted on the Cincinnati Tea Party blog, was a letter from Pete Wolf which, in part, states the following (emphasis mine):
"•INTIMIDATION - The Democratic National Committee, in undoubtedly close collaboration with the White House, released a web video on Wednesday titled “Enough of the Mob” in which they refer to constituents in community forums as “mobs” and “right-wing extremists”. This labeling, at best, appears to be an attempt to intimidate average citizens from expressing their views. At worst, it could be an attempt to define and isolate the White House’s opposition for subsequent actions by either the government or its supporters. Hitler started his assault on Jews with labeling and disparaging propaganda!"
This comparison and implication (that opponents of the Obama health care plan may be targeted like Hitler targeted the Jews) is a continuation of this rhetoric that has been nationally condemned.
I have highlighted these blog entries in a recent post at the Cincinnati Beacon and have also included the text of this email with the anticipation of posting your response.
I am interested in your reaction to this kind of rhetoric and the injection of these comparisons into the dialogue on this issue. Do you condemn comparisons of President Obama to Adolph Hitler and other Democrats to Nazis or do you feel that these comparisons are constructive ways to voice opposition to these political policies? If you find the material objectionable, will it be removed from your websites?
I look forward to hearing from you.
If I receive any responses, I will post them here.
This piece is crossposted here.