An Unholy Alliance: Rick Santorum, Nazis, and the Politics of Fear

Posted by By at 5 March, at 07 : 24 AM Print

We live in an era when making outrageous accusations enhances your chances of becoming President of the Unites States of America. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that Holocaust denial or engaging in Jewish conspiracy theories propels you onto 60 Minutes, Fox News  or the “Jerry Springer Show.” But far more dangerous than anti-Semites or neo-Nazis masquerading as academics, are politicians  and political pundits who dilute and diminish the horrors of the Second World War by comparing their opponents to Hitler, Nazis, or the Third Reich.

Rush Limbaugh has compared President Obama to Hitler and likened the Democratic Party to Nazis.[1] Glenn Beck[2] spent several days debunking a myth he helped massage regarding FEMA’s operation of a concentration camp system.[3] Ben Stein[4], who is Jewish, compared an Obama’s speech to a rally by the Fuhrer[5] and a former Jewish Pennsylvania Supreme Court jurist sent out a blast email claiming a vote for Obama would invite a Second Holocaust.[6]

Democrats, make sure the stones you cast don’t ensnare you in your strategic silence. Dick Durban (D-Illinois) likened Guantanamo Bay to camps under Stalin, Hitler, and Pol Pot[7], President Jimmy Carter wrote a book comparing Israel to an Apartheid state[8], and Rev. Jessie Jackson referred to New York City as Hymietown[9] and complained that he was “sick and tired of hearing about the Holocaust.”[10]

Liberals take a moment to rebuke stray comments coming from your own flock before you mount a decency weather vane atop the White House. When you find your voice, please refrain from associating law enforcement officers with Nazis and stop referring to legal searches as Gestapo tactics.

Adults from both parties must be held responsible for their words. There was a time when politicians, religious leaders, and political commentators served as a moral brake to rash accusations.

In 1991 William Buckley, a conservative talk show host  penned a 40,000 word essay condemning Pat Buchanan’s anti-Semitic rants.[11] Only two elections cycles back, Senator John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) swiftly denounced Fritz Hollings (D-South Carolina) for charging that Bush went to war at the behest of “the leaders of the Jewish Community.” Mr. Kerry called-out Mr. Hollings the following day for giving credibility to “anti-Semitic stereotypes that have no place in America or anywhere else.”[12]

Where are the elected patriots when their colleagues and allies dance on the tombstones of memory? Why doesn’t the media call out  the purveyors of demagoguery?

Byrd v. Santorum: Left Hook; Right Jab

Former Senator Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia), parliamentarian and Senate historian, had a colorful past. He was affiliated with a rather unseemly civic organization that used to be referred to as the Ku Klux Klan. While this may fall into the “youthful indiscretion” bin of racial intolerance, Senator Byrd also adroitly used the filibuster to “manipulate law making” and oppose the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

On February 28, 2005, Mr. Byrd likened a Republican filibuster to Nazi Germany: ”We, unlike Nazi Germany or Mussolini’s Italy, have never stopped being a nation of laws, not of men. But witness how men with motives and a majority can manipulate law to cruel and unjust ends.”[13]

The number three Republican in the Senate at the time was Senator Rick Santorum’s (R-Pennsylvania) who called on Mr. Byrd to retract his statements. Clearly, Mr. Santorum has the power to rebuke misplaced metaphors.

Not able to hold his tongue or mind his manners, on May 19, 2005 Mr. Santorum matched Mr. Byrd’s comments on the outrageous and insensitive rhetoric meter,  “It’s [the filibuster] the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942 saying, ‘I’m in Paris. How dare you invade me? How dare you bomb my city? It’s mine.”[14]

Really, what revisionist  history book was Rick reading?

The reality is that Germany defeated France quickly. An armistice was signed on June 21, 1940. In “unoccupied” Paris, 9,000 French police rounded-up 13,000 Jews (4,000 children), and took them the Velodrome d’Hiver soccer stadium from July, 16-17. There was no food, water or sanitary facilities.

The children were deported to Auschwitz. Neither party debated the fate of these unprotected children in the hallowed halls of the Senate.

History may be an inconvenient detail for the former Senators. A filibuster is not the equivalent of Nazi occupation, and Republicans are not the Third Reich. If either ridiculous assertion had a modicum of truth, you would not be reading these comments in a marketplace of ideas. Where was the filibuster to slow the death trains?

Death, Taxes, and the Holocaust

Hopefully, Senators Byrd and Santorum understood that we do not need the Nazis or the Klan to cut taxes. Unfortunately, Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, has given a meaning to death and taxes.

Perhaps Norquist forgot that the term “Nazi” is an acronym for the NSDAP or National Socialist German Workers Party.[15] These German tax cutters instituted a rather draconian estate tax known as “Aryanization”[16] whereby they nationalized all Jewish property.

Apparently, Norquist didn’t get the memo and compared the estate tax to the Holocaust. Yeah, you heard right. The comments were aired on National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air” show with Terry Gross in October, 2003. Of course, nobody in their “right” mind listens to this propaganda. However, Grover’s comments were reported two months later in Harper’s Magazine, and again in a column syndicated by Richard Cohen on Tuesday, January 6, 2004.[17]

Norquist: “I mean, that’s the morality of the Holocaust. ‘Well, it’s only a small percentage [2% of Americans], you know. I mean, it’s not you. It’s somebody else.”

Gross: “Excuse me…Excuse me one second. Did you just . . . compare the estate tax with the Holocaust?”

Norquist: “No, the morality that says it’s okay to do something to a group because they’re a small percentage of the population is the morality that says the Holocaust is okay because they didn’t target everybody, just a small percentage.”

Norquist also compared the estate tax to Apartheid and East German communism. Norquist is an equal-opportunity offender who is tied to Santorum’s political hip.

Mr. Santorum was Norquist’s point man in the Senate for the K-Street Project, and joined Mr. Norquist in Manchester to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

But the real question is why didn’t any of the current Republican contenders call out Norquist. Where was Senator Santorum? Where was Congressman Paul?  Where was Governor Romney?

Perhaps they were too busy trying to cut NPR’s funding for broadcasting this propaganda.

Pat Buchanan and PETA

Remember Pat Buchanan? Rick Santorum does. Like Santorum -Buchanan used to be extreme – but now he’s extremely rich. Pat is Rick’s spiritual godfather. They share identical views on social issues.  Santorum needs to win over Buchanan’s current fans and former electoral base.

In a March 17, 1990 column Mr. Buchanan wrote that it was impossible for 850,000 Jews to be killed by diesel exhaust fed into the gas chamber at Treblinka. “Diesel engines do not emit enough carbon monoxide to kill anybody.” In the same New York Post article, Buchanan referred to a “so called Holocaust survivors syndrome” which he described as involving “group fantasies of martyrdom and heroics.”

What a snob!

In an October 22, 1990 article published by The New Republic Jacob Weisberg reported, “Buchanan stands by his bizarre claim about the diesel engines.”

Actually 870,000 Jews were murdered at Treblinka from July  1942 and August, 1943. The killing began as the children from Paris were arriving in Auschwitz.[18]

While Pat Buchanan may have a problem believing in the physics of mass murder technology, he seems to have made common cause with some political activists on the Left who view Holocaust terminology as a convenient prop.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (“PETA”) associate animal experimentation, food “mutation”, and exposure to environmental contaminants as non-consensual medical experiments in violation of the Nuremberg Code.[19] The Code is a Human Rights Declaration dealing with human medical experimentation).

Hmm, Pat Buchanan also compared Terri Schiavo’s husband to Nazi doctors at a time when Santorum used the media tragedy as a fundraising event.

PETA deployed a media campaign depicting the meat processing industry as another Holocaust and referred to these facilities as “Treblinkas.” [20] PETA’s logic is eerily similar to propaganda principals utilized by the Nazis to dehumanize their victims through propaganda.

The Nuremberg Laws[21] passed on September 15, 1935 defined who was a Jew. The laws were extended to Nazi-occupied countries and the definition often was a matter of life, and death to individuals.  The US State Department weakly protested the event which was predictable given the fact that Jim Crow and sterilization laws then existed in  America.

Equating humans to swine is the type of dehumanization process that allowed for the industrialized mass murder of Jews. It is also a tactic commonly deployed in Arab propaganda to vilify Jews.

Being an animal lover does not automatically endow one with compassion and altruism. Remember, Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian and a member of the German Humane Society.

The “New” Nuremberg Laws

Contraception and birth control have been central themes in Mr. Santorum’s surge in the polls. Makes you wonder how Mr. Santorum handled his pre-marital sex life and what forms of contraception he didn’t use with former partners. While these may be uncomfortable questions, they are fair inquires for the man who wants to be President.

Similarly, it is fair to ask Mr. Santorum if he view abortions and taxes as Holocausts?

By the same token, it is legitimate to compel Mr. Romney to divulge how feels he about the Mormon baptism of dead Jews[22] or why Ron Paul believes the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was perpetrated by a world Jewish conspiracy.[23]

These uncomfortable questions aside, all the Republican presidential contenders are morally united on the issue of abortion. Mr. Santorum and his supporters have been clear that their main goal is to stack the Supreme Court to reverse Roe V. Wade. Preventing abortion under any circumstance is the ultimate goal for his supporters.

Nazis implemented abortions for “undesirable” reproductive segments of German society, but abortion was forbidden for Aryans. In Nazi Germany, abortion was illegal for racially fit Aryans. Yet, segments of the American “pro-Life” campaign refer to abortion as a “hidden” or “invisible Holocaust” and equate abortion clinics with “Nazi concentration camps.”

Most of the disparate groups, organizations, and causes which exploit these terms for political expediency remained silent during the Nazi’s attempted destruction of Jews. Additionally, many of these entities supported immigration quotas before, during, and after World War II, and stood on the sidelines during the Civil Rights Movement.

Some opponents of abortion have referred to Roe v. Wade as an “invisible Holocaust, and went so far as to create the “Nuremberg Files” on the Internet which listed the names of abortion providers. Although most people are familiar with the Nuremberg Trials, the term “Nuremberg” has numerous anti-Semitic connotations for Jews. To equate an abortion clinic to a “concentration camp” is a gross distortion of history.

The Holocaust is not the only term that has been abused, misused and expropriated by partisan interests. The relativization of the Holocaust and the minimization of Nazism is akin to murdering the memory of the victims and denying the value of military sacrifice.

Distorted language and misplaced history is not the sole domain of any one party, platform, or person. The inability to engage in a vigorous and rational political debate can be traced to the misappropriation of language, civic illiteracy and infotainment.

Politicians and political pundits should be held accountable for their verbal projectiles. Politicians like Mr. Santorum, who believe they are ordained to preach under the dual tablets of “morality” and “values”, should remember: “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.”   (Proverbs: 13: 3)

Photo by Gage Skidmore

 

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Limbaugh: “Adolf Hitler, Like Barack Obama, Ruled By Dictate”

    Huffington Post, September 6, 2009, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/06/limbaugh-adolf-hitler-lik_n_253412.html

  2. Glen Beck exposes the FEMA concentration camps, November 29, 2009.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17-6tzKnrWk3

  3. Nazi concentration camps, despite the differing designations, i.e., Class I, II and III), most camps were primarily labor, holding or transit centers. In some instances, i.e. Operation Reinhard, concentration camps served only to kill Jews and are listed under a separate category: death camps. Due to starvation, brutality and lack of sanitation, most inmates died after three months. The Nazis   1,800 concentration camps throughout Europe.
  4. “Glenn Beck Show”, July 26, 2008  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6F0XImTiLNM
  5. When President von Hindenburg died on August 2, 1934, Hitler created the title of Fuhrer (German,  Leader). Which incorporated the powers of chancellor and the president. Hitler was now supreme ruler of an organic entity and he demanded absolute obedience.
  6. “Regrets Over Anti-Obama ‘Holocaust’ Email” CBS News, June 18, 2009

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/10/27/politics/main4549733.shtml

  7. “Gitmo called death camp,” Washington Times, June 16, 2005

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2005/jun/16/20050616-121815-1827r/?page=all

  8. Jimmy Carter,  “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” November 2006.
  9. Conversation with Washington Post Reporter Million Coleman in January 1984.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/frenzy/jackson.ht

  10. “The Democratic Party’s anti-Semitism problem,” Seattle Times by Edward Alexander, August 09, 2004

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2001999939_alexander09.html

  11. “Is Pat Buchanan Anti-Semitic?”  Newsweek Magazine  December 22, 1991,

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/1991/12/23/is-pat-buchanan-anti-semitic.html

  12. “ADL Urges Senator Hollings to Disavow Statements on Jews and the Iraq War”, May 14, 2004.

    http://www.adl.org/PresRele/ASUS_12/4496_12.htm

  13. “Byrd assailed for Nazi remark”, The Associated Press

    Thursday, March 3, 2005,

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_309392.html

  14. “Hitler bombs / Santorum’s filibuster analogy crosses a line”, Editorial by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette May 24, 2005

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05144/509292.stm

  15. Nazi Party (NSDAP) was an appendage of the Thule Society formed in 1917. In 1918 it organized the Political Workers Circle and out of that, Anton Drexler and other railroad workers founded the German Workers Party, which often held meetings in Thule quarters. In 1919, Hitler was sent by the army intelligence to spy on the party and immediately became its chairman of propaganda and soon its leader. He added the term National Socialist to German Workers Party, which became Nazi in common vernacular.
  16. Aryanization refers to the Nazi expropriation of Jewish property and businesses in Germany and occupied Europe, for which there was little or no compensation in Germany. For the most part, this illegal transfer of Jewish assets was not overturned after the war.
  17. “Grover Norquist: Estate Tax A Holocaust for the Rich, Tikun Olam, January 16, 2004. Reference NPR interview and article, “Out of Their Anti-Minds.”

    http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2004/01/18/grover-norquist/

  18. Treblinka was a predominantly a death camp in eastern Poland near the town of Malkinia staffed by veterans of the Nazi euthanasia program. The largest of the three Operation Reinhard killing centers, most of the Jews from Radom and Warsaw were murdered here. In 1941 Treblinka I, a penal camp (dulag) was established to exploit raw materials from the quarry. Treblinka II, the death camp, operated from July 22, 1942 through August 1943. Nazis ran it with the help of Ukrainian guards.  870,000 Jews were killed at Treblinka. An armed inmate insurrection on August 2, 1943 hastened Treblinka’s demise. The Nazi’s razed this site under Himmler’s orders, and by November 1943, all visible signs of the killing camp were gone. The site was quickly converted to a farm.
  19. The Nuremberg Code was formulated y American judges after the trial of 23 Nazi physicians in 1947.  At the Doctors’’ Trial it was determined that the “medical experiments” conducted on non-consensual victims involved murder and torture, and were systematic and barbarous acts often with the death of the subjects of in mind. The Code contains ten core principals including the declaration that states all experiments mis the voluntary, informed, competent and consent of the subject.
  20. “Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust,”

    Lantern Books, 2002.

    http://www.neavs.org/resources/publication/eternal-treblinka

  21. The Nuremberg Laws were restrictive anti-Jewish legislation passed on September 15, 1935 defining who was a Jew. These Laws denied citizenship to Jews forbade intermarriage and outlawed the employment of German women, 45 years old or younger, by Jews. (And   were announced at the annual Nazi party rally in Nuremberg. Based on bogus racial assumptions, the primary authors were Hans Globke and Wilhelm Stuckart. The Nazis “passed” 400 anti-Jewish laws between 1933 to 1939.
  22. “Mormon Church apologizes for baptism of dead Jew,” Reuters, February 2, 2012.

    http://www.jpost.com/LandedPages/PrintArticle.aspx?id=257884

  23. “Ron Paul, The Media is Waking Up—Better Late Than Never,”JewishJounral.com. posted by David A. Lehrer, December 21, 2011,

    http://www.jewishjournal.com/thewideangle/item/ron_paulthe_media_is_waking_up—better_late_than_never_20111221/

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This post was written by:
- who has written 257 posts for Rock The Capital
Eric J. Epstein is RocktheCapital‘s coordinator and a community advocate for good government for over 25 years. Mr. Epstein is also Chairman of the Three Mile Island Alert, Inc., a safe-energy organization founded in 1977; President of EFMR Monitoring Group, Inc., a non-profit economic development corporation established in 1977, and Chairman of the Stray Winds Area Neighbors (SWAN), a smart growth association organized in 2005. Mr. Epstein was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Humanities at PSU-Harrisburg (1992-1999) and co-authored the Dictionary of the Holocaust, which was released by Greenwood Press (1997) - Email Eric Epstein

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