DNC Delegates Link Nazis, Republicans

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 5 2012 2:27 PM

DNC Delegates Are On a Nazi-Themed Reference Hot Streak

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People hold first lady Michelle Obama signs during the DNC on Tuesday

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

It's officially a streak.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

S.C. Democratic Chairman Dick Harpootlian compared S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley to Hitler's mistress this morning, the third time in as many days that a DNC delegate has offered a Nazi-related reference when talking about a Republican.

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"Harpootlian, never a loss for a quick quip, tossed a few stinging one-liners at the Wednesday delegation breakfast. On Gov. Nikki Haley participating in daily news briefings in a basement studio at the NASCAR Hall of Fame: "She was down in the bunker a la Eva Braun."

On Tuesday, Kansas Democratic Labor Committee president Pat Lehman invoked the name of Adolf himself. The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle:

"Lehman said her biggest concern about the election itself is voter-identification laws that Republicans have pushed through in a number of states, including Kansas. She said the purpose is to suppress the vote, especially among Democratic-leaning constituencies such as elderly voters. And she scorned the Republicans’ contention that the laws are designed to combat voter fraud.
"'It’s like Hitler said, if you’re going to tell a lie, tell a big lie, and if you tell it often enough and say it in a loud enough voice, some people are going to believe you,' Lehman said."

On Monday, it was California Democratic Party chief John Burton who got things started. The Associated Press:

"John Burton made the remarks Monday in an interview with San Francisco station KCBS while in Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention. Burton said the Republicans lie and don't care whether people know they lie and that, quote, 'As long as you lie, Joseph Goebbels, the big lie, you keep repeating it.' ... Burton later issued a statement saying that he 'humbly apologized' to anyone offended by his comparison."

As Weigel pointed out yesterday, he doesn't quite understand the feigned outrage over politicians using the "big lie" aphorism to make a larger point: "[I]t's odd to think that its users literally think their foes are like the Nazis. Hitler wasn't even referring to the Nazis when he coined this!"

Harpootlian's reference, however, clearly stands out given that not only did it come as Democrats were already drawing heat for the first two Hitler-themed references, but because it appears more like a needlessly controversial quip than an effort to advance a larger narrative. And judging by the way it is lighting up our Twitter feed, it's a safe bet that the third reference was the one that turned this from a minor news nugget to a larger news story.

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