Suggesting that everyone tone down their political rhetoric is easy. Actually asking our lawmakers to break their ingrained habits all of a sudden, though, might be asking for too much. You can't just walk into a monkey cage and say, "Hey, stop throwing your own feces," and expect immediate results, because the monkey has been doing that for years, and you never really made a fuss about it, even though you were not a fan.
For example, Nazi comparisons should definitely be off the table if we're treating our opponents with respect now, right? Nobody's goal in either party is to systematically murder millions of people, so even if you see some kind of parallel between the other party and Nazis, it's never appropriate. But last night on the House floor, Democratic congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee decided to go for it anyway.
"They say it's a government takeover of health care, a big lie, just like Goebbels. You say it enough, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie and eventually people believe it," he said.
Sometimes we get carried away in a moment of passion. What's important is making amends when you realize you've crossed a line. Unfortunately, Cohen hasn't gotten there yet.
"I didn't see anything wrong with it. Goebbels was the great propagandist of probably the 20th century, and his whole theory was if you tell the lie over and over again people will believe it," Cohen told CNN....
"I think civility is not lying, and if you can't come up and say that somebody is lying when they're lying, then the lie becomes the truth. That's not uncivil to say somebody lied," he said.
That's true: It's not uncivil to call out someone on a lie. But Cohen conveniently ignored the part where he said somebody lied just like Goebbels. People understand the concept of lying; you don't need to bring in an example of a Nazi who lied to make your point. Nobody's going, "What? Oh, lying. I get it now."
House Democrat compares Republican 'lies' to Nazi propagandist [Political Ticker/CNN]