Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn) is refusing to apologize for his words on the House floor likening GOP opponents of ObamaCare to Goebbels, and invoking the Holocaust. So far, neither Robert Gibbs nor President Obama has commented on this obvious slap in the face to the President's call for civility. This would seem to be an obvious opportunity for the President to triangulate and win over independents - a Sistah Souljah moment. But is he willing to antagonize an ObamaCare supporter?
Meanwhile, even liberal Jewish groups that support Obama are condemning Cohen's words. JTA reports:
"The National Jewish Democratic Council criticizes the comments of Representative Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), which compared Republicans to the Nazis and unfortunately reintroduced the Holocaust into the health care debate," said the umbrella body for Jewish Democrats. "As we have said repeatedly, invoking the Holocaust to make a political point is never acceptable -- on either side of the aisle."
J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group that endorsed Cohen in the last election, also called on Cohen to apologize.
"J Street strongly opposes the use of Holocaust imagery and Nazi metaphors in American political debate," the group said in a statement. "We have spoken out strongly in the past when it was used by those who we oppose politically, and we also ask our friends to refrain from using such language. We call on Congressman Cohen to apologize for these remarks, and urge him and all American political leaders to refrain from the use of such imagery in the future."
My guess is that his minions are carefully studying the polling.
Reader Morgan Taylor sees Cohen's slander as part of a longer term campaign:
Perhaps the most reprehensible and most often used reference to Conservatives by the Left is to refer to them as Nazis. This vile comparison can always be expected whenever the Left is confronted by any opposition to their policies and we are never disappointed. Whenever this tactic is brought out it is a clear indicator that desperation has set in. Recently Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee a mere six days after his party leader, Barack Obama, called for civil discourse accused the Republicans of acting like and using the tactic of the Nazis while debating the repeal of the Health Care Bill on the House floor.
This vile speech, beyond the immediate insult to the other members of the House and the coarsening of political speech, is a slap in the face to the memory of the countless millions who suffered and died in World War II by trivializing their sacrifices. This past May Steve McCann, a World War II survivor, addressed that issue when he wrote in the American Thinker:
There is one tactic, which is beneath contempt, that is constantly used by the Progressive cabal to malign their opponents and shut them up. That is the obligatory reference to anyone who opposes their agenda as Nazis and the use of the Holocaust and World War II as synonyms for political disagreements with their views.
The shadows are lengthening for those of us who suffered in World War II and lived in its aftermath. There are few left to speak out. So I must do so.
This mindless reference to the Nazis, the Holocaust, and World War II is an insult and denigration to the memory of nearly 70 million people who died in the War and the countless millions who suffered and were displaced. None of you who so glibly throw around these words have the slightest idea of the trauma and experiences of those who were there.
Your frame of reference is perhaps a faded and grainy yet impersonal black and white film of ashen faces staring into the camera, or of emaciated children begging for food, or of lifeless bodies strewn across a field. To others, it is sitting in a movie theatre for two hours, watching a Hollywood portrayal of the War. In either case, those images are quickly forgotten as you go about your lives. But those of us who lived it do not have that luxury. Our experiences haunt us every hour, day and night.
We still smell the overpowering stench of death and destruction; we remember the constant search for food and shelter; we did not have the option of thinking about tomorrow. Instead, it was how to live through the day.
Had I not been shot and taken to a military hospital, I never would have survived, let alone been sent to the United States.
The lifeblood of democracy is civil discourse. To those in the Left-and on behalf of all of us, living and dead, who experienced the years of hell-please stop using references to the War to demonize your political opponents. I vehemently disagree with your philosophy and believe it will ultimately destroy the country I love. I say this as a survivor of a war spawned by other adherents of totalitarian philosophies similar to yours. But I wish to have a forthright and respectful discussion with you.
It is time to heed Mr. McCann's words. It is also time for vigorous debate in order to save the country. To Mr. Cohen and all of those on the Left, please have some sense of shame as you desperately defend your failed policies.