The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, January 22, 2011. This blog post also appeared on Stanton's blog at The Huffington Post website.
Refresher Course on That Nazi Thing
"Congressman Cohen - can I call you Steve? - what brings you all the way here from the hills of Tennessee?"
"Well, it seems some people think I forgot the basics of the Congressional training course you taught."
"Which part was that? You didn't reserve an escort with your personal credit card, did you?"
"No - who could be that stupid? It's just that I likened the Republicans' disinformation campaign on the Health Care bill to Nazi propaganda."
"You didn't! Don't you remember we devoted a whole session to avoiding likening political opponents to Nazis?"
"Well, I didn't mention Hitler, or the Holocaust. I only said that Republicans saying the bill is a government takeover of health care was a big lie, just like one Goebbels would repeat until people believed it."
"Oh, my - you don't remember the little mnemonic device we teach all politicians?"
"You mean, 'If you want your political career to dropsy, just use the word Nazi?' But I never called Republicans Nazis!"
"Yes, but Goebbels? I mean not as bad as Goering or Hess or Eichmann, perhaps - but not good."
"Why? He was the greatest propaganda master of all time. Propaganda, which is called 'messaging' today, can be true or false. In this case, the message is false."
"You couldn't say that without invoking the Nazis? We didn't drive that home enough? I mean, you're Jewish, aren't you? Don't you resent the cheap use of the term to apply to every little piece of skull drudgery that goes down in Washington?"
"I would certainly never do anything to diminish the horror of the Nazi Holocaust as I revere and respect the history of my people!"
"Sure, but you don't think a little caution is due right about now - with the Giffords shooting and everyone calling for a cooling of incendiary rhetoric?"
"Well, okay, I regret that anyone in the Jewish Community, my Republican colleagues or anyone else was offended by the portrayal of my comments."
"Oy, vey - you don't remember our session on fake apologies - you know, the ones that begin, 'I regret that anyone'?"
"I'll have to go back over my notes."
"Yeah, why don't you do that. In the meantime - no references to Stalin, Mao, or Joe McCarthy - okay?"
"Well - if you say so."
[Quotes from Congressman Steve Cohen are taken more or less directly from his own statements.]