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Tilting at Windmills

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June 24, 2010

GOHMERT ENDORSES SOWELL'S HITLER COMPARISON.... Prominent right-wing columnist Thomas Sowell this week not only complained about President Obama securing $20 billion in escrow for Gulf Coast victims of BP's oil spill, he compared the administration's move to Hitler's dictatorship.

As offensive as this was, it was all the more startling when Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) endorsed the Hitler piece on the House floor.

Before reading directly from the piece at some length, Gohmert argued, "There's a brilliant man named Thomas Sowell. And, um, I didn't vote for Barack Obama in 2008, but I sure would have voted for Thomas Sowell. This man, well, his article says quite a lot."

He added that there are "useful idiots" in the United States who mistakenly urge us to make the president "a dictator for a little while." (Gohmert wasn't specific about who he was complaining about, probably because his target exists only in his imagination.)

Let's not brush past this development too quickly. A right-wing media figure compared the president to Hitler because Obama secured funding for the Gulf Coast -- a right-wing member of Congress found the comparison compelling enough to endorse it on the House floor.

There's something deeply wrong with the contemporary right, which will likely get worse if voters back its candidates in November.

Steve Benen 9:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (34)

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"There's a brilliant man named Thomas Sowell. And, um, I didn't vote for Barack Obama in 2008, but I sure would have voted for Thomas Sowell."

See? Sowell's black. So Gohmert's not a racist!

Posted by: g on June 24, 2010 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

Well, as I've said many times before, people will actually die because of this rhetoric. If Obama is perceived as being such an evil monster, it's really the only thing to do. There are a lot of mentally ill and confused people, and they have access to guns. Explosives are harder to manufacture, thank goodness, so there's a much smaller pool of people that can actually whip up bombs without blowing themselves up first. It's your future bloody American tragedy, fully owned by tea-baggers, talk radio, Glenn Beck.

Posted by: Rathskeller on June 24, 2010 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Methinks the voters of Texas have the collective IQ of a cantaloupe to elect goobers like this . Is is something in the water?

Posted by: john R on June 24, 2010 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

What g said.

Posted by: rabbit on June 24, 2010 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Let's see . . .

Nazis wanted to deport dusky-skinned non-citizens like the Romany, make Jews second class citizens and imprison homosexuals.

The Republicans want to deport dusky-skinned non-citizens like Mexicans, make non-Christians second class citizens and imprison homosexuals.

Ergo . . . .

Posted by: SteveT on June 24, 2010 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

Gohmert may not be useful, but he certainly is an idiot.

There have been many useful idiots recently who excused the use of torture and disparaged the rule of law.

Posted by: david1234 on June 24, 2010 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

"Brilliant" Sowell??? You mean the fellow who defende hotels and motels raising their rates sky high after Hurricane Andrew? Sowell said it was to keep the riff and the raff from homesteading. Or the time he defended the imprisonment of female workers in St El Monte, who had been brought to the US from Asia under false pretenses, only to be forced to work long hours in sweat shops under guard surrounded by barbed wire. He defended the practice by saying on a locally produced NPR program, that, at least, they had been able to come to America. Yes, Mr Sowell, your ancestors were "able to come to America" from Africa, as well, eh?

Posted by: berttheclock on June 24, 2010 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

this is a test elected Dems.

We'll see how they respond.

Posted by: Observer on June 24, 2010 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

When he was talking about "useful idiots"... the irony had me on the floor laughing out loud. What exactly does he thing the Tea Baggers are, if not Useful Idiots?

How embarrassing to be a Texan and hear this goofball compare our President to Nazis.

Posted by: Rochester on June 24, 2010 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

Welcome to your future. They will win because they are pitching this crap to empty heads. If the right wins back the steering wheel this car deserves to be driven back into the ditch they left it in when Obama showed up with the tow truck...

Posted by: Stevio on June 24, 2010 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, Observer, would it be so!

Sadly, the response will be -what is the buzzword here at WaMo- Crickets?

Posted by: DAY on June 24, 2010 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

What's so sad about the "usefull idiots" bar that Gohmert (pile of $hi#) sets, is that he falls so far below even being qualified enough to be considered at least an 'idiot,' he wouldn't be 'usefull' enough to be used as chum for sharks. They're to smart to eat 'useless' shit like him.

How fucking stupid are people to vote for a clown like this? Never mind. DON'T answer that.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on June 24, 2010 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think anything--common sense, experience, an appeal to decency and proportion--will ever stop these wingnuts from making the Hitler/fascism comparison. It's in their DNA; to take one example, Winston Churchill, their favorite conservative icon (after Sanctus Ronaldus), claimed in the 1945 elections that voting for Labor inevitably means that the government will rule every aspect of your life through "some sort of Gestapo." The fact that nothing of the sort happened, even in the worst days of post-war rationing, makes no difference; they believe this the same way that others believe that Krishna built a bridge from the subcontinent to Sri Lanka.

That claim didn't work for Churchill in 1945. I don't think it will work in 2010.

Posted by: Henry on June 24, 2010 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

...his target exists only in his imagination.

Oh, she exists alright. The only person Gohmert could've been referring to who has said Obama should be "a dictator for a little while" is Michele Bachmann, who demanded that the president commandeer fishing boats in the Gulf. And who is Gohmert's most serious rival for Most Outrageous Member of Congress? Yeah, her. Hence, the veiled slam.

Posted by: Grumpy on June 24, 2010 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and if it weren't for Wingnut Affirmative Action, Sowell wouldn't have a column.
He couldn't get a job at a 7-11. In the interview process, they tend to try to weed out the stupid and crazy...

Posted by: c u n d gulag on June 24, 2010 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

This is more of Gohmert on the House floor. He was quoting Sowell's article; (it was at Think Progress yesterday.)

‘leading up to his taking power in the 1930s,[Hitler] he deliberately sought to activate people who did not normally pay much attention to politics. Such people were a valuable addition to his political base, since they were particularly susceptible to Hitler’s rhetoric and had far less basis for questioning his assumptions or his conclusions. ‘Useful idiots’ was the term supposedly coined by V.I. Lenin to describe similarly unthinking supporters of his dictatorship in the Soviet Union.’

This is an incredibly apt description of the Tea Party minions, and other newly-activated "Activists" on the far-right.

Posted by: winddancer on June 24, 2010 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Gohmert has the stunning ability to make even Rep. Steve King look like a genius.

Posted by: June on June 24, 2010 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

And so the level of competition is sharpened once again . As the dim , blood thirsty , and starved for any recognition or honour , reachy preachy right positions for individual top spot on their spatter trail of logic .
Top spot in an insane asylum for the violent , hallucinatory , and plain mean spirited . What a great country . For how much longer with the Sowell - Gohmert home grown third world leaders clamoring for power . It must be as soon as they can arrange for the rest of their projections to be painted onto the objects of their angst .

Easily confused , easily led , first to bare their teeth and last to recognise themselves in the portrait .

Posted by: FRP on June 24, 2010 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

He added that there are "useful idiots" in the United States ...

This is a member of the House Of Representatives speaking on the floor of the House about fellow citizens of the United States.

When they show us who they are we ought to believe them.

Posted by: thebewilderness on June 24, 2010 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

Funny he should talk about giving the President "temporary dictatorial powers." I don't recall anyone saying that Obama should disregard the Constitution and make himself President for life, but I do remember people raising that suggestion in absolute seriousness about Bush.


From Family Security Matters:

"President Bush is reviled; he has become another victim of Democracy.

By elevating popular fancy over truth, Democracy is clearly an enemy of not just truth, but duty and justice, which makes it the worst form of government. President Bush must overcome not just the situation in Iraq, but democratic government.

However, President Bush has a valuable historical example that he could choose to follow.

When the ancient Roman general Julius Caesar was struggling to conquer ancient Gaul, he not only had to defeat the Gauls, but he also had to defeat his political enemies in Rome who would destroy him the moment his tenure as consul (president) ended.

Caesar pacified Gaul by mass slaughter; he then used his successful army to crush all political opposition at home and establish himself as permanent ruler of ancient Rome. This brilliant action not only ended the personal threat to Caesar, but ended the civil chaos that was threatening anarchy in ancient Rome . . .

(After advocating mass ethnic cleansing in Iraq, followed by a repopulation of the country with white Americans according to the Roman imperial model, the blog continues)

[Bush]could then follow Caesar's example . . . to become the first permanent president of America, and end the civil chaos caused by the continually squabbling Congress and the out-of-control Supreme Court.

(He leaves out the part about Caesar taking twelve daggers in the back shortly after declaring himself Dictator Perpetuo. Bush got off easy).

Posted by: T-Rex on June 24, 2010 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, one more thing about that Family Security Matters blog -- Family Security Matters is part of a think-tank called the Center for Security Policy. And guess who has served on the board of that organization? Oh, Dick Cheney, and a whole slew of former officials from Republican administrations. That, my friends is how close we came.

Posted by: T-Rex on June 24, 2010 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Come on, look on the bright side; who ever thought back in the 1940's that ole Hitler would be so popular in the first decade of the brave new millenium? He and Bush were unfavourably compared a time or two as well; bet there are some people now who wish they'd taken a patent on that little toothbrush mustache look.

Following this line of logic, in 50 years or so, some polticians will be putting some other political dork's behaviour in context by saying, "His/her policies are just like Obama's". If there's still a USA, that is.

Seriously; I've said before that I wondered how anyone could be interested enough in being President of the United States that they'd actually campaign for it. It should be the punishment you get for losing the election, because American politics has become so viciously polarized that being president can only bring you grief and old age before your time - Bush was nearly oblivious to criticism and ran the most insular administration ever, and he still looked like he'd turned into his own father in 8 years. If you're lucky, only half the country will hate you so badly they can't say your name without spitting on the ground. Why would you put yourself through that? So you can "make a difference"? Dream on.

The only reason, and I mean the ONLY reason, would be for the power it gave you to reward cronies and stack the system with people who like you. And the union will never stand another presidency like that; it's wounded nearly unto death from the last one. As America is slipping, China is gaining; how long can it be before they begin to have imperial ambition of their own?

Posted by: Mark on June 24, 2010 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

of all the redubbed "hitler rants" videos, one of my faves has hitler reacting to the news that americans are comparing the prez to him...he goes off on how hard he worked to make his name synonymous with evil only to see it become a cliche

the problem with the wsj sowell piece is that he thinks that our CURRENT congress might pass a bill that gives obama super-hitler powers.... hell, they won’t even extend unemployment at the moment…

Posted by: dj spellchecka on June 24, 2010 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

What's overlooked in the outrage of the comparisons to Hitler (and Lenin) is the total stupid and false talking points that he bases it on.

First is that Obama didn't simply wave a magic wand and "extract" the money from BP. He may have told them what to do, but it was ultimately their decision to go along.

Second, is that despite what Gohmert says, the escrow account is not Obama's to "distribute it as he sees fit, to whomever he deems worthy of compensation".

Posted by: tanstaafl on June 24, 2010 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Gomer, another guy just itching to get his ass kicked..

Posted by: Trollop on June 24, 2010 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Rep. Gomer: in my town he would not even be elected dog catcher... in his Texass district, well...

Posted by: Hmmmmm on June 24, 2010 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Grumpy identified the 'useful idiot'. Damn, got there first.

Posted by: Lance on June 24, 2010 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

"Well, as I've said many times before, people will actually die because of this rhetoric."
by: Rathskeller

It happened before:


Posted by: 2Manchu on June 24, 2010 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Rep. Gohmert, just the latest Aggie Joke

But not a particularly funny one. This bozo was not only in my graduating class, he served as the "class agent" for literally decades. I had to view his homely, jug-eared face in every alumni publication.

Now, it's even worse. I have to listen to him talk.

Posted by: Zandru on June 24, 2010 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

c u n d gulag: (Oh, and what does that name mean anyway?) "Wingnut Affirmative Action" is right.
I suggest that anyone interested should look up Sowell's column archive and read a few. I did. He generally takes a few facts, half of which are wrong, and misinterprets them into whatever harebrained conclusion he wants.
Reichwingers are so happy to have a minority on their side they pretend he's some kind of intellectual. He hardly even qualifies as a pseudointellectual.
Kind of like Michele Malkin, who also has the intellectual advantages of being youngish and hotish and a woman.

Posted by: emjayay on June 24, 2010 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, I've read him alright. I lived in NC for almost ten years, and he's syndicated in a lot of newspapers down South.
He's the conservative Bob Herbert wanna be. Except, he ain't a quarter as bright, and really doesn't write well enough to even get hired to write poster slogans for drunken College Republican beer parties.
So, instead, they pay him by syndicating his scribblings to Op-Ed pages of newspapers whose readers mouth the words as they try to decipher what's written like it's hieroglyphics.
Sowell, from one paragraph to the next, goes from awful to offal.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on June 24, 2010 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

The far right wing is very Hitleresque with socialism, dictaorship; one authoritarian person in charge; sublimationo of women .Who demand genuflection for favors. ie Dobson and ilk

Posted by: MLJohnston on June 24, 2010 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Sowell has been on my shit list since he wrote a column (not based on fact, he certainly didn't consult with the AMA) several years ago denouncing the existence of Attention Deficit Disorder. Asshole. Abusing the power of his position to demonize and misinform about a true medical condition.

Posted by: A Mom on June 24, 2010 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

Do you have web access on your cell phone. You could listen that way if you do.

Posted by: nick for fun on November 2, 2010 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK



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