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Comparing and contrasting responses to public comments about Nazis

Bob Rucho [1]Senator Bob Rucho is far from the first person to make the boneheaded mistake of comparing something in modern American politics to Nazi Germany [2]; lots of people have made the same ridiculous error. That said, it is interesting to compare and contrast the responses that such comments can provoke.

Four months ago when UNC-TV host D.G. Martin — a Democrat — made an ill-considered allusion/comparison to Nazi Germany in one of his syndicated columns, Claude Pope, the head on the North Carolina Republican Party, called Martin derogatory names [3] and demanded he be ousted from his TV job [4]. Now mind you, this was despite the fact Martin immediately apologized for having made the comparison and does not hold a position of political or government leadership.

Compare this to the Rucho flap — a situation in which the senator (one of the most powerful elected officials in North Carolina) has refused to apologize and, indeed, has doubled-down on the comment [5] by claiming critics are members of “socialist elites.”  This time, all Pope has done is call for an apology [6].

Perhaps Pope has a plan to help promote a primary opponent against Rucho in 2014 — rumors have it that this may be the case — but if he really believes that such offensive comparisons ought to be grounds for removal from office, he ought to say so publicly and today.