Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) on Thursday invoked a prominent figure from Nazi Germany while answering a question about America's dissatisfaction with Congress.
The Washington Post reported that when asked about the fact that more Americans blame Republicans than Democrats for Congress' inaction, West said, "If Joseph Goebbels was around, he'd be very proud of the Democrat Party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine," said West during Thursday's House votes. "Let's be honest, you know, some of the people in the media are complicit with this and enabling them to get that type of message out."
Goebbels, who served as Hitler's Propaganda Minister, was known for his promotion of rabidly anti-Semitic media, which helped turn Germany against Jews. Politico notes that West's district in South Florida is home to a significant Jewish population. When pressed on the Nazi link, West dismissed the question.
"I'm talking about propaganda, OK," he said. "Don't start taking my words and twisting it around. I'm talking about propaganda. And I think that's a very important thing."
The National Jewish Democratic Council had a different view, releasing a statement decrying West's rhetoric. President and CEO David A. Harris said:
"The National Jewish Democratic Council condemns this most recent use of Holocaust imagery from Representative Allen West and demands that he apologize sincerely and immediately. As we have said repeatedly, invoking the Holocaust to make a political point is never acceptable and should be condemned by all for the sake of the memory of those who were lost."
West had been questioned specifically about a Pew Poll released on Thursday, which found that voters are more likely to blame Republicans (40 percent) for Washington's inaction than Democrats (23 percent). The poll also revealed a burgeoning anti-incumbent mood among voters -- a bad omen for Republicans, who are trying to keep control of the House in 2012.