Democrats Attempt to Link Tea Party to Nazis

A fundraising appeal from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee titled, "Danger: tea party update" begins with this warning: "At one Tea Party rally this week, mobs chanted "Waterboard Obama, Waterboard Hillary! At another, radicals waved signs with Nazi symbols."

The e-mail concludes, "the Democratic Senate is the only thing holding back the right-wing House from implementing their radical agenda," repeating the word "radical." They have left themselves room to avoid a libel suit, but the implication is clear: members of the Tea Party are dangerous neo-Nazis.

The only event I could find of swastikas at a Tea Party rally happened in 2009. The DSCC email makes it sound like the event happened "this week," but if you read it again, it merely says, "at another" rally. The Huffington Post (11/15/09) reports:

PHOENIX, AZ -- A scuffle ensued Saturday when members of the National Socialist Movement (Neo-Nazis) found themselves shut out of an anti-immigration Tea Party protest at the Phoenix capitol.

American Citizens United, who organized the Phoenix Tea Party rally, told the Neo-Nazi group that racist messages were not welcome at the demonstration. The Neo-Nazis left, but two returned, standing defiantly on the sidewalk that borders the designated protest area.

When JT Ready, one of the Neo-Nazis tried to unfurl an Adolf Hitler flag, one of the event organizers became enraged and tried to rip the flag from Ready's hands.

In sum, the Tea Party and the Nazis were opponents, not allies. Those "radicals wav[ing] signs with Nazi symbols" were unwelcome neo-Nazis, not members of the Tea Party, as the DSCC implies.

Swastikas have appeared at other Tea Party events, on handmade signs reverting to the argumentum ad Hitlerum, comparing Obama or Harry Reid to Nazis. In February 2013, the Tea Party Patriots photoshopped Karl Rove into a Nazi uniform, and subsequently apologized. These examples are dumb--Karl Rove is an unlikely Nazi, and Obama is an international socialist, not a national socialist--but using Nazi imagery to demonize your opponents is evidence of your hatred of Nazism, not an affinity for it.

A Google search of "Nazi Tea Party" helpfully offers the option of "similarities," and numerous articles in the Daily Kos--Media Matters fever swamps compare the two, often relying on the "fear of the other" common to both, as if border security was equivalent to the Holocaust. Nazis believed in the totalitarian state, while the Tea Party believes in individual freedom and limited government-utter opposites.

The DSCC's demagogic message is well-timed, given the ongoing IRS scandal; Democrats hope to suggest a connection between the Tea Party and the Nazi Party by lying about an event from 2009, so they can plant the idea that the IRS's investigations of the Tea Party were justified.


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