Joe Biden's Big Mouth: Enough Nazi Name-Calling Already!

Cynthia Dermody
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Hitler in GOP ad

In the latest attempt to get us to think one political party is so much worse than the other (when in fact they both win that award) by trying to associate it with one of the most oppressive regimes of all time, Vice President Joe Biden is being criticized after referring to GOP campaign tactics by the Nazi term "blitzkrieg."

Just last month, Democratic nominee for California governor Jerry Brown compared his Republican opponent Meg Whitman to "Joseph Goebbels," Hitler's master of propaganda, because he claims she's only running for governor because she wants to be the first woman president. "She wants to take over the world," Brown said. As if that would really happen.

Nazi name-calling was used a lot in the recent health care debate.

President Obama has been compared to Hitler, Stalin, Castro, even Freddy Krueger. President W. Bush has mostly been compared to Hitler. A lot.

Ho-hum. Comparing U.S. Presidents, politicians, or political efforts to Hitler and Nazism has become a knee-jerk diversionary tactic of choice among politicians. They usually pull these out when they can't find anything intelligent to back up what they're complaining about. It's so popular that the words and related terms are losing their punch, much like s**t and f**k. Even 8-year-olds routinely use these today and their parents don't even scold them, sad but true.

A college student recently did a review of all the U.S. Presidents who've been compared to Hitler. This is not a new phenomenon. Politicians have been doing this since the '60s. The student noted that during the 1960s to the 1980s, the terms Hitler and Nazi were mainly used to describe imperialist or preemptive foreign policies, whereas today the terms have become much more symbolic than descriptive.

She uncovered the following comparisons to the dictator devoid of all humanity who initiated mass genocide across his country and empire:

  • John F. Kennedy
  • Lyndon B. Johnson (so called by the Yugoslavian president after air raids in Vietnam, and by others because of his policy of merging big business with government and labor through his "Great Society" reforms)
  • Richard M. Nixon (so called by Democratic Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, after Nixon asked for an election recount in what Daley called "Hitler type" propaganda)
  • Ronald Reagan (so called by Fidel Castro, after the bombing of Libya)
  • Bill Clinton

"Blitzkrieg" means lightning war, including surprise attacks, and was used to characterize Hitler's military offensive during World War II. The term is also used a lot in sports. In the latest Biden call-out, the vice president sent an email via the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, warning that House Democrats would "be hit with a GOP blitzkrieg of vicious Swift-Boat-style attack ads, Karl Rove-inspired knockout tactics, thinly veiled attempts at character assassination, and Tea Party disruptions," reports Fox News.

Republicans lashed back, saying that invoking the Nazis' crimes against humanity in a political debate is inappropriate. I think we need to give politicians a new bad guy term to use against their enemies. Volturi? Kelly Bensimon? Anyone?

Does any American political candidate even come close to a murdering monster like Hitler, as much as you dislike their politics?


Image via Ben Ward/Flickr

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