Some of the comments I've read here and at other liberal sites are saying that Cohen's points were correct, and that the Republicans are like Joseph Goebbels. As if there's no other historical figure one can compare the GOP to aside from someone from the Third Reich. Cohen is lucky, for purposes of this website, that he's not a Republican.
Otherwise, there would be at least a dozen diaries by this point criticizing his comments on the House floor today. Because there were about that many when Sarah Palin stupidly referred to a "blood libel." I'm not excusing what she said, except that she likely didn't know what she was saying.
Rep. Steve Cohen knew exactly what he was saying and should have known better. These comments have a place in our discourse, but it's not on the floor of the House of Representatives - it's in angry message boards, made by people with a lot of anger and Four Loco's in their system. This is what he said. And has you're reading it, imagine your reaction if the words had come from, say, Steve King:
"They say it’s a government takeover of health care, a big lie just like Goebbels," Cohen said. "You say it enough, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, and eventually, people believe it. Like blood libel. That’s the same kind of thing. And Congressman Cohen didn’t stop there.
"The Germans said enough about the Jews and people believed it–believed it and you have the Holocaust. We heard on this floor, government takeover of health care. Politifact said the biggest lie of 2010 was a government takeover of health care because there is no government takeover," Cohen said.
First of all, yes, the Republicans are lying and demagoging about healthcare. We all know that. That doesn't make them Nazis. That doesn't make them comparable to Nazis. It makes them dishonest American politicians. The Republican end game will not lead to genocide - it will lead to the status quo as of 2009.
Unlike Alan Grayson, whose "DIE QUICKLY" rhetoric hurt him in a right-leaning district, Steve Cohen is safe until the Democrats in Memphis decide to nominate someone else. But that doesn't mean he can act in a way that's destructive to the Democrats and the tone the country has been striving for, post-Tucson.
I understand he was passionate and a little angry, but so soon after "blood libel" and after we tried to elevate the discourse over the past week or so, this was just plain dumb. It's not helpful to his cause, but ultimately not hurtful either (this too shall pass), but remember the 'both sides do it' canard the right was floating over the past ten days? Well, Cohen just foolishly gave them some ammun... umm, evidence.
Worse, Cohen is not apologizing.
"I wasn't trying to say, never would say, haven't said and wouldn't say that the Republicans are akin to the party that he [Goebbels] was a part of, but they [Republicans] did lie and they've said the lie over and over again," Cohen said.
Then here's a tip, Rep. Cohen. If you're not trying to say that the Republicans are akin to the Nazis, don't mention Goebbels.
Steve Cohen should know better.