Representative Steve Cohen refuses to apologize for the statement Phil noted earlier (“They say it’s a government takeover of health care, a big lie just like Goebbels”). “In no way did I call them Nazis,” he insists. “I did say they’ve been using a big lie.”
Since Rep. Cohen wants to plant his flag on this “big lie” attack, it’s worth noting that, contrary to widespread misconception, the “big lie” was not a tactic advocated by the Nazis, is was a Nazi accusation against their enemies. Michael Moynihan noted this in August:
It isn’t the blueprint for a Nazi media strategy, but a mad exposition on what is considered a “Jewish” way of media deception; i.e. the Jews, via socialist newspapers like Vorwärts, have spread a “big lie” that the First World War was lost militarily when, in fact, said those on the radical right, it was lost in the salons of Berlin and Munich. So here is the important context of the “big lie,” from Mein Kampf:
By branding [General] Ludendorff as guilty for the loss of the World War, [the Jews] took the weapon of moral right from the one dangerous accuser who could have risen against the traitors to the Fatherland. In this they proceeded on the sound principle that the magnitude of a lie always contains a certain factor of credibility, since the great masses of the people in the very bottom of their hearts tend to be corrupted rather than consciously and purposely evil, and that, therefore, in view of the primitives implicity of their minds they more easily fall a victim to a big lie than to a little one, since they themselves lie in little things, but would be ashamed of lies that were too big.
The closest Goebbels came to using the phrase was an article in which he said that “The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big” — again, an accusation. The same accusation that Rep. Cohen is making. So no, Rep. Cohen didn’t call Republicans Nazis, he just smeared them in terms that the Nazis pioneered. I’m sure his bubbe would be proud.
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