A week ago Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) made an urgent plea for civility in public discourse. He warned,
“Reckless and hateful speech often has a terrible human cost. If the horrific events in Arizona are not enough to modulate our public discourse, it is likely there will be more violence, more deaths.”
Yesterday Mr. Cohen gave his own version of civil discourse on the House floor. Speaking of the opposition of the Republican majority in the House to Obamacare, he likened the other party to Nazis:
“They say it’s a government takeover of health care, a big lie. Just like Goebbels; you say it enough, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, and eventually people believe it.
“Like blood libel. That’s the same kind of thing. The Germans said enough about the Jews and the people believed it and you had the Holocaust. You tell a lie over and over again. And we’ve heard it on this floor; government takeover of health care.”
Anderson Cooper interviewed an unapologetic Mr. Cohen tonight. Cohen said that the Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels had perfected the big lie, the Republicans were lying about Obamacare, “Just like Goebbels,” so his statement stands. Cooper’s guest, Democratic strategist and former Obama campaign pollster Cornell Belcher, defended Cohen’s remarks as impromptu and given to a largely empty House chamber. Reporter Dana Bash said she’d tried all day to find a House Democrat who would criticize Cohen, but she couldn’t.
If the Democrats tolerate this kind of language they shouldn’t be outraged when their leader is called a communist or racist. But we hope they won’t tolerate it.
Tags: Anderson Cooper, big lie, blood libel, civility, Cornell Belcher, Dana Bash, ethics, Goebbels, government takeover of health care, Holocaust, Joseph Goebbels, Nazis, Obamacare, Republican majority, Steve Cohen