The political euphemism is extremism, and that's okay, the suits and the punditocracy will go into cardiac arrest if "Nazi" or "fascism" is spoken in polite company/production meetings. Clueless Chris Matthews (who claims to "know" the Left) went super-parochial, and totally off-base, with a Frank Rizzo analogy. With two weeks to go, the one-man enthusiasm chasm, a certain dude with two first names, is suddenly ubiquitous on the Lean Forward ( till you jerk your head back from the snooze) network.
It's not even the thuggish behavior of Joe Miller's private security force, the black hummer leading a gun-toting parade of overweight, overcompensating white males, or the weekend warrior "bonding" of Rich Iott with son in the Nazi regalia of an SS unit that committed atrocities against Jews and the civilian populace on the Eastern Front. Watch their lovely recruiting vid, peeps:
The actual Wiking unit has a history as grisly as that of other Nazi divisions. In her book "The Death Marches of Hungarian Jews Through Austria in the Spring of 1945," Eleonore Lappin, the noted Austrian historian, writes that soldiers from the Wiking division were involved in the killing of Hungarian Jews in March and April 1945, before surrendering to American forces in Austria.Asked about the sensitivity issue of his Nazi dress-up weekend war gaming, Rich Iott, Republican TEA PARTY darling in Ohio's 9th District, brushed it off as harmless reenactor boys VILL beh boyz fun & games: "[This] is something that's definitely way in the past. ... [I hope voters] take it in context and see it for what it is, an interest in World War II history. And that's strictly all." His Nazi alter ego (?) was called "Reinhard Pferdmann."
"What you often hear is that the [Wiking] division was never formally accused of anything, but that's kind of a dodge," says Prof. Rob Citino, of the Military History Center at the University of North Texas, who examined the Wiking website. "The entire German war effort in the East was a racial crusade to rid the world of 'subhumans,' Slavs were going to be enslaved in numbers of tens of millions. And of course the multimillion Jewish population of Eastern Europe was going to be exterminated altogether. That's what all these folks were doing in the East. It sends a shiver up my spine to think that people want to dress up and play SS on the weekend."
Rabbi Moshe Saks, of the Congregation B'nai Israel in Sylvania, Ohio, a suburb of Toledo that sits in the 9th district, [agreed.] "Any kind of reenactment or glorification of Nazi Germany, to us, would be something unacceptable and certainly in poor taste, if not offensive," he said. "I think the reaction here will be very negative. And not just among the Jewish community, but the broader community."
Actually, it's anything but the distant past. The Nazis flew the first jet-powered warplanes and the Americans dropped the atom bomb. The Nazis didn't invent genocide, but they perfected mass killing. Thousands of survivors of the Nazi death camps are still alive today to bear witness. So too, those who escaped Pol Pot's killing fields, and the ironically named Chinese Cultural Revolution, a grisly ménage of post-WWII exterminations.
What Rich Iott did dressing up as a Nazi (which is illegal in Germany) was frankly obscene. His "explanation" for it is absurd. But that didn't stop John Boehner from contributing $5,000 to his campaign, thus mainstreaming these Nazi war games. Welcome to the new Republican TEA PARTY.
And it's not even about the hideous racism of Sharron Angle, an utterly despicable woman whose casual expressions of bigotry have grown so frequent as to have inured and desensitized voters to their inappropriateness in democratic America. Extremism is the "new normal" (I love this new campaign buzzword; Chuck Todd could probably write a dictionary of them). The "new normal" is also the Beltway Media, a.k.a Idiot Punditocracy, demeanor as exposed by Rachel (above), the polished anti-Murrow style of the technocratic analyst. Given all the sound and fury coming from the Right, the assumed reaction of the connected beltway media elites is to be cool, calm, and collected. Clinical. Democrats say this. Republicans counter with that. The TEA PARTY just needs a few rough edges sanded down.
Such condescending bullshit. The ivory tower Idiot Punditocracy really doesn't get it.
When Klansman David Duke (whose failed runs for political office recall Christine O'Donnell's political trajectory) ran for governor of Louisiana, finishing second in the primary and facing a run-off against former governor Edwin Edwards — a pol saddled with corruption charges — a popular pro-Edwards bumper sticker read, "VOTE FOR THE CROOK. IT'S IMPORTANT."
Well, Mr. Duke couldn't long stay on the sidelines amid all these leaderless Teabaggers. He wants in: