Both as a movement and as a nation, we have always been at our best when we needed fanatic, determined wills to overcome and eliminate danger, or a strength of character sufficient to overcome every obstacle, or bitter determination to reach our goal, or an iron heart capable of withstanding every internal and external battle. - Joseph Goebbels, 2/18/43
"The next governor of California has to have a spine of steel." - Meg Whitman, Endlessly
In yesterday's Los Angeles Times, Rabbi Marvin Hier complained, rightly, I think, about the over-use of the insult "Nazi." He was talking about Jerry Brown, who had, in a off-hand way, compared Meg Whitman's campaign for governor to Goebbels.
(Brown had been asked what he thought of Whitman spending $100 million on her own election, including printing her own magazine, producing her own talk show and buying so many TV and radio ads it's actually driven up rates, while endlessly repeating two slogans and a blizzard of statistics, not one of them ever exactly true. Brown said, "It's like Goebbels. Goebbels invented this kind of propaganda.")
This, of course, was a foolish thing to say. And Brown, as Rabbi Hier concedes, had called him personally to apologize.
Of course, only the real Nazis were Nazis. (As Margaret Cho said, in one of the great jokes of the last decade, "George Bush isn't Hitler, but he could be, if he applied himself.") And there's something unforgivably tasteless when the people who make the X-Men movies set a flashback in a death camp, or Jonah Goldberg ties Hillary Clinton to genocide through a half-remembered episode of Deep Space Nine.
But what analogy should Brown have used? On the one hand, comparing people to Nazis is kind of ignorant and shrill (see Beck, Glenn) on the other hand, when you're looking for an example of someone putting a lot of time, money and effort into repeating a set of lies for political gain, J. Goebbels is your almost-too-obvious go-to.
Politically, Meg Whitman isn't a fascist, or anything else. She's just a creep.
(Although, on the racial purity thing, as Ruben Nazarrette pointed out in Monday's Modesto Bee, she has called for deploying the National Guard to the Mexican border, cracking down on sanctuary cities and denying illegal immigrants driver's licenses and admission to state schools. "She even threw in a promise to enforce a state ban on bilingual education, which has nothing to do with illegal immigration but sounds good to the right wing.")
Jerry Brown was obviously talking about Whitman's method of getting her message out, not the message itself, which isn't like Goebbels' at all. See for yourself:
ON WELFARE DEADBEATS
"Some people worry that we're creating a welfare state. The fact is, California is the welfare state... Let's put able-bodied welfare recipients to work."
"The industrious have a right to expect that if they work ten or twelve or fourteen hours a day, a lazy person does not stand next to them who thinks them foolish... It is time to get the slackers moving."
ON GOLDBRICKING CIVIL SERVANT DESK JOCKEYS
"I will commit to a sustained government‐spending freeze. And after a stem to stern review of government programs, I will reduce the size of government while making it more efficient and productive for the citizens of California."
"Government offices will work faster and less bureaucratically. The people are not there for the offices; the offices are there for the people."
ON HAVING NOT COME HERE TO MAKE FRIENDS
"California today needs very determined leadership. Being governor -- the CEO of this state -- is not a test of popularity."
"The National Socialist government is ready to use every means. We do not care if anyone objects."
"(The people) will not put up with complicated questionnaires on every possible issue. It does not want to worry about a thousand minor matters that may have been important in peace, but are entirely unimportant during war."
"Let's try to get a few things done at 100%, as opposed to trying to solve every problem."
ON THEIR PARTY'S COMMITMENT TO SMALLER GOVERNMENT
"Government has a vital role to play in the life of our country. And it should be effective and efficient in meeting those fundamental responsibilities. But Republicans understand that government does not create wealth or prosperity -- individuals do."
"One may not, by the way, make the mistake of leaving everything to the government. The government can only set the broad guidelines. To give life to those guidelines is the job of working people, under the inspiring leadership of the party."
ON THE EFFECTIVE USE OF CAMERA IMAGERY
"First, if I'm elected, I will look at everything through this lens-- does it help create more and better jobs for Californians?"
"There are therefore a series of measures that take account of the war's optics. We have ordered, for example, the closing of bars and nightclubs."
WHAT'S AT STAKE, LANDSCAPE-WISE
"The German nation is fighting for everything it has. We know that the German people are defending their holiest possessions: their families, women and children, the beautiful and untouched countryside, their cities and villages, their two thousand year old culture, everything indeed that makes life worth living."
"Only then will California be restored to the place we all know. A place where our communities are strong. Where starting a business is the thrill of a lifetime. Where the weather, the mountains and the open fields have inspired generations of Americans."
YOU'VE BEEN WARNED
"The broad working masses of our people are not unhappy because the government is too ruthless. If anything, they are unhappy because it is too considerate."
"Californians can no longer afford the government they have. I will give them the government they deserve."