Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

June 12, 2014

Nazi remarks asinine

Mourdock manages to both invoke sympathy, reinforce prejudice

Kokomo Tribune

---- — We’ll say this about Richard Mourdock ... no, we’re not going to say THAT, at least not within the pages of a family newspaper.

But boy, something needs to be said when an elected official starts comparing the political opposition to Nazis.

Addressing the faithful at the state Republican Party convention in Fort Wayne on Saturday, Mr. Mourdock seemed to draw a red line connecting Democrats in the United States today to the Nazis of mid-1930s Germany.

According to The Associated Press, Mourdock, the state treasurer who because of term limits cannot seek another term, warned against politicians who promise entitlements and more spending as the nation’s debt grows.

He said that’s what happened in Germany, leading to the electoral success in 1936 of the National-Socialist Party — the Nazis.

“The people of Germany in a free election selected the Nazi Party because they made great promises, that appealed to them because they were desperate and destitute,” Mr. Mourdock said, adding that once in power the Nazis “went after the Jews, they deprived them of their property, their rights, their citizenship,” apparently because the country was bankrupt and, well, because the Jews had all the money.

It’s a neat trick to both invoke sympathy and reinforce a prejudice at the same time, but Mr. Mourdock managed it.

Afterwards, he said his comments were not meant as a direct comparison to President Obama specifically or to Democrat politicians in general, but it’s hard to see how they were anything but.

Mr. Mourdock hitched his wagon to the tea party two years ago and rode that political coupling to electoral success in the GOP primary, defeating incumbent U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar.

Then Mr. Mourdock made some ill-considered comments about rape, essentially handing the race to Democrat Joe Donnelly.

Now he’s basically calling Democrats the electoral descendants of Hitler, Himmler et al.

The best that state GOP chairman Tim Berry could say when told of Mourdock’s comments, according to AP, was that comparisons to Nazis are generally inappropriate.

Well, yes, they are.

They’re also stupid.

To their credit, the responses of many Republican delegates to Mr. Mourdock’s comments on Saturday were highly repulsive.

“Mourdock likens my country to Nazi Germany. Not my country, Mr. Mourdock! So shameful the day after D-Day anniv. GO AWAY!” Mike Murphy, a Marion County Republican delegate and former local chairman, wrote in a tweet.

On the dangers of a growing public debt, there is much on which we and Mr. Mourdock are in agreement; on how to go about alleviating those dangers, we and Mr. Mourdock are far apart.

But that’s the way it is in a democracy, where disagreement doesn’t just exist but is openly expressed — and even encouraged.

And we’re free, all of us, to say extremely stupid, asinine things, as Mr. Mourdock proved Saturday.

— Vincennes Sun-Commercial