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Godwin's Law and the Democratic National Convention

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Godwin's Law and the Democratic National ConventionOn the second day of the Democratic National Convention, politicians and delegates have thrice compared Republicans to Nazis. 

The trend started with John Burton, Chairman of the California Democratic Party, who told a reporter Monday, "As long as you lie -- Joseph Goebbels, the big lie, you keep repeating it, you know." Burton gave a weak apology for his remarks and then left the convention for a "previously scheduled" root canal.

Tuesday, a member of the Kansas delegation named Pat Lehman applied the same "big lie" theory to another issue. Speaking of attempts to require ID when voting, she said, “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.” Lehman is not a newcomer to politics. By her own count, this is her 7th or 8th Democratic convention. She refused to offer an apology for the comparison.

Wednesday morning the South Carolina Democratic Chairman, Dick Harpootlian, completed the hat trick when he compared the state's GOP Governor to Hitler's mistress Eva Braun:

S.C. Democratic Chairman Dick Harpootlian, never a loss for a quick quip, tossed a few stinging one-liners at the Wednesday delegation breakfast.

On Gov. Nikki Haley participating in daily news briefings in a basement studio at the NASCAR Hall of Fame: “She was down in the bunker a la Eva Braun.”

As with most Democrats' gaffes, these comparisons appear to have originated in the left-wing media. In May, Newsweek writer Michelle Goldberg made a casual comparison between Ann Romney and Hitler (she also threw in a Stalin reference for good measure). The offense that set Goldberg off? Ann Romney praised motherhood on Mother's Day.

In July, Matt Yglesias used Twitter to highlight an article on Hitler's secret Swiss bank account, making an implicit connection to Mitt Romney. And just last month, Chris Matthews suggested cameramen at the RNC convention would scan the crowd and find "Hitler mustaches."

As this Post article notes, the "big lie" argument being made by Democrats this week is actually a bit of historical revisionism. Hitler coined the term in Mein Kampf but did so in reference to a lie he claimed the Jews had told about WWI. Goebbels was also not a proponent of "the big lie" but an accuser who claimed his opponents (the British) practiced it. The irony, that the "big lie" was an accusation used by the Nazis to criticize their enemies, is apparently lost on the Democrats making the accusations.
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Source: WEWS ABC 5 Cleveland, OH - on September 5, 2012

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