Who’s calling whom a Nazi?

Pelosi points out that some teabaggers are pretending that Obamacare is somehow equivalent to Naziism. for example by carrying posters with swastikas to town hall meetings on health insurance reform. Tame right-wing media accuse Pelosi of calling teabaggers Nazis. No, I’m not making this up.

Now play careful attention, class. This one is a little bit complicated.

1. Wingnut opponents of health insurance reform have been claiming that a provision in the House bill requiring that insurance companies cover counseling for patients who want to prepare advance directives – not, of course, any requirement that patients receive such counseling, but merely that they be offered professional help in terminal-care planning – is part of a campaign for euthanasia. No just your garden-variety teabaggers and radio talkers, either. John Boehner, the House Minority leader, said:

This provision may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia.

2. One of the slogans used by the Nazis to justify murder was to call it “euthanasia.”

3. Therefore, in wingnut logic, Obamacare = Naziism.

4. Some of the teabaggers are carrying posters with swastikas (and other Nazi references, such as Obama’s features photoshopped onto a photo of Hitler) designed to make that point.


5. Nancy Pelosi complains that carrying swastikas is not a way of engaging in reasoned discourse.

6. The most extreme of Washington, DC’s three right-wing newspaper editorial pages pretends that Pelosi was calling the teabaggers Nazis, and defends the mobs against an accusation that was never made.

7. Glenn Reynolds pretends to believe it.

Now it’s true that there have been some over-the-top comparisons: “brownshirts” do a lot more than chanting and pounding on windows. But it’s the Right that has decided to play the Nazi card. Even Abe Foxman has figured that much out.

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: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com