Make it stop! Another week, another "somebody compares a politician to Hitler" incident. Just two weeks after Republican cried foul over the Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) statement that the American health care system was "a holocaust," Democrats are upset that the National Republican Congressional Commitee posted a Twitter link to a video in which Adolf Hitler says that he is a big supporter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — well, he at least says so in fake subtitles.
The video is just another of the many re-subtitled versions of a scene from the 2004 movie "Downfall," depicting the final days of Adolf Hitler’s life The first of these parody videos I can recall was almost two years ago and can be seen here — Hitler is upset after the Dallas Cowboys were eliminated from the playoffs, particularly because he won’t be able to wear his just-bought T.O. jersey until the following season. Here’s Hitler mad about the breakup of the band Oasis ("I’ve waited years to see them live … I won the competition on the radio and this was my only chance") , and here he is furious to find out that Sarah Palin has resigned.
In the version higlighted by the NRCC, Hitler — in the subtitles — rants that " at least I still have Pelosi on my side" and "like Pelosi, I don’t give a sh– about the American people" and "Pelosi has 256 Democrats in Congress, she can pass whatever the hell she wants." The fact that the GOP is promoting this video has Democrats upset, and with good reason.
But wait a second. If you actually watch this video, perhaps the strangest thing about this whole controversy is that the video is actually sort of pro-Obama — Hitler is clinging to hopes of Pelosi helping him out because he believes Obama has betrayed him.
I don’t know who actually posted this video or what their viewpoint was (the NRCC only provided a link), but if you watch it until the end, Hitler is mad that Obama isn’t actually socializing health care, ranting that he’s going to let people keep their "current insurance industry plan if they like it."
"Now Obama pulls this ‘keep it if you like it’ crap — this is not how you socialize your country, you’re supposed to bankrupt your people," Hitler "says."
"They have to know that governments are more efficients than the private sector," Hitler continues, adding in what is an obvious joke, "I mean they took over General Motors — everyone was happy about that."
Hitler then returns to his backing of the House Speaker — "At least I can count on Pelosi to jam it through. She is an unbelieveable leader. She’ll set him straight," before concluding in sorrow: "Last year, I remember how I felt warm and fuzzy hearing Obama talking about reforming health care. I feel like such an idiot for believing. So much for change." (The video is posted below.)
Anyway, neither Republicans nor Democrats apparently spent the time deconstructing the video like I did.
Democrats were outraged, as Politico reported:
"House Republicans have gone way too far," said Jennifer Crider, spokewoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "The NRCC’s despicable promotion of a video comparing Nancy Pelosi’s effort to reform health care to America to Adolf Hitler’s extermination of millions is a shocking new low that must be condemned. Republican Leader John Boehner should order NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions to immediately remove this vile Tweet and apologize."
Republicans then thought twice and decided to take the tweet down — but not before saying they thought it was funny:
NRCC spokesman John Randall says they have pulled down the Tweet and offered a mea culpa:
"We saw the video this morning and thought, like other parodies, that it was funny," Randall just told me. "In 20-20 hindsight, we realized it was in poor taste and pulled it down… I don’t want anyone to think we’re comparing Democrats to Nazis and to Hitler."
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) put out a statement outraged that Republicans would call the video "funny":
It is disgusting that the NRCC would promote a video that shows Hitler calling the Speaker of the House an ally and then further suggest that they did so because they found it funny," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20). "As someone who represents one of the largest constituencies of Holocaust survivors in the country, I am outraged on their behalf at what the Republican Party finds “funny.” Hitler was barbaric and his actions horrific. Tens of millions of innocent victims were killed by Hitler and hundreds of thousands of brave Americans died fighting to stop him. I don’t find any of that funny. When will the Republican Party stop trivializing the actions of Hitler?”
National Jewish Democratic Council president David Harris admitted that Democrats have occasionally used Nazi/Hitler rhetoric as well, but said there is an "epidemic" on the GOP side — he said there had been 40 such incidents from Republicans they had catalogued just this year.
"It’s profoundly offensive," said Harris. "It’s all wrong and it has to stop."