After more than two decades in office, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson isn't afraid to ruffle feathers with an inflammatory comment or two. That might explain why he had no qualms appearing on a political talk show and repeatedly likening Michigan Speaker of the House Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) -- a fellow Republican -- to Hitler.
Brooks Patterson was a guest on WKAR-TV's "Off the Record" Friday, where he argued his opinion about Michigan's no-fault auto insurance laws, a current source of conversation and contention in Lansing.
Apparently, he's not pleased with how Bolger is handling the debate.
"'Adolf' Bolger, you mean? He's really become very arrogant and he's throwing his weight around up there," Patterson said on the show. "If he thinks he's going to be a candidate for governor, he better learn how to control his temper, he better learn to work with the consensus within his own party."
If the name weren't enough to illustrate his point, Brooks Patterson pulled a comb from his pocket and used it to give himself a Hitler-esque moustache on Friday's episode of "Off the Record."
See the clip above, and watch the full episode on WKAR.
"I think sometimes 'Adolf' steps a little bit to the fringe, and he's embarrassing himself," he said.
The debate over a proposal to limit benefits for victims of automobile accidents is a serious one, and particularly to the Oakland County executive. He was in a car crash last year that left him injured and his driver James Cram paralyzed. The legislation would put a $1 million cap on medical benefits paid out for catastrophic auto injuries. To explain his support for the current no-cap regulation, Brooks Patterson used the example of Cram, who he says has already had more than $2 million of medical expenses.
Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and other proponents of the insurance reform argue that it still provides extensive coverage while lowering rates in a state with high insurance premiums and, relatedly, a high number of uninsured drivers.
According to the Oakland Press, Brooks Patterson's comment wasn't just an attention-grabbing insult. He continued the comparison, the paper notes:
"One of my guys pointed out to me that when Hitler did take office, take power in Germany, the first thing he did was to round up the sick and the handicapped and send them off to camps, and we never saw them again because he was trying to protect the purity of the Aryan race.
"That's really what we're going to do here," Patterson said. "We're going to round up the really, really seriously injured and ship them off to nursing homes."
Bolger responded to Brooks Patterson's comments in a statement Friday.
"Reasonable people can disagree on policy, but it's not reasonable to resort to name calling," he said, according to MLive. "My biggest disappointment has been that I like Brooks Patterson, so I am sad to see him act like this about anyone. Beyond that, I think everyone else has said everything that can be said."
Patterson took to Twitter and apologized to the Jewish community if his comment had caused any harm (but not to Bolger directly).
I alienated some in Jewish comm.when I called the Speaker "Adolf." I was commenting on his leadership style. To those offended I apologize
— L. Brooks Patterson (@BrooksPatterson) May 3, 2013
No matter how calmly he says them in his soothing voice, Brooks Patterson certainly has a way with inflammatory words. Below, see some of his wildest comments.