Maryland Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett has apologized (to anyone he "may have offended," natch) for
comparing student loans to the Holocaust
. But like so many Republican apologies, this one isn't an apology for being wrong, or a statement that he does not believe what he said. It's an apology for letting what he really believes slip out in public. Let's review. Saying he had looked for any mention of student loans in the Constitution and not found it, Bartlett continued:
"Not that it’s not a good idea to give students loans; it certainly is a good idea to give them loans," Bartlett said. "But if you can ignore the Constitution to do something good today, tomorrow you will be ignoring the Constitution to do something bad. You could. There are more people in our, in America today of German ancestry than any other [inaudible]. The Holocaust that occurred in Germany — how in the heck could that happen? And when you start down the wrong road, it can be a very slippery slope."
That's what Roscoe Bartlett, member of the United States House of Representatives, actually believes, although he does recognize, in retrospect, that it was "ill-advised and inappropriate" to say so. But what he believes is that because a document written in 1787, when very few people went to college and those who did were almost exclusively white men, does not mention the government having responsibility for student loans, if the government does do student loans, it is unconstitutional and therefore puts us on the slippery slope to the Holocaust, a danger that much greater because there are a lot of Americans of German ancestry.
There's an argument that puts us on the slippery slope to fucking nuts. Also the slippery slope to declaring everything the federal government does involving anything that was not yet invented in 1787 unconstitutional. Which Roscoe Bartlett would probably like, because, again, fucking nuts.
Steve Benen reminds us that Bartlett isn't alone in using outlandish analogies to condemn federal student loans; Rep. Todd Akin (Mr. Legitimate rape himself) said in April that the federal government "tampering in" student loans was "the equivalent of the stage three cancer of socialism."
Like Akin's views on rape, pregnancy, and abortion, Bartlett and Akin's views on student loans are held by many Republican elected officials who just know better than to say so publicly. Those of us who realize that rape is rape, rape can lead to pregnancy, and it's better to have the federal government in charge of student loans than Wall Street and loan sharks should be grateful to inadvertently honest idiots like Bartlett and Akin for reminding us where their party stands.