Playing with matches

A constituent at a Chuck Grassley town hall calls Obama a “little Hitler” and says “I’d take a gun to Washington if enough of you would go with me.” Grassley says nothing.

“To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards of men.”* Chuck Grassley is a coward.



POCAHONTAS – President Barack Obama is a fascist.

This and other assertions flew through an emotionally-charged town hall meeting conducted by Sen. Chuck Grassley Monday in Pocahontas.

“The president of the United States, that’s who you should be concerned about. Because he’s acting like a little Hitler,” said Tom Eisenhower, a World War II veteran. “I’d take a gun to Washington if enough of you would go with me.”

Grassley met with constituents as part of a junket that also brought him to Humboldt, Ruthven and Rockwell City Monday.

By his count, Grassley’s Pocahontas town hall was his 2,848th such gathering since being elected to the Senate in 1980.

Grassley said the attendance at the town hall meetings has been six times what it was last year.

No, I don’t think for a second that Grassley wants people to march on Washington with guns. But he’s not dismayed to have lunatics like this one as leverage. This would be an excellent time for Max Baucus to break off negotiations, which clearly aren’t going anywhere.

* This saying originates with Ella Wheeler Wilcox. But she actually wrote “To sit in silence” rather than “To sin by silence” and “out of men” rather than “of men.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: