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A new Greensboro News & Record editorial takes state Senator Bob Rucho to task for his tweet/rant of the other day and his subsequent ineffective effort to defend it. You really should check out the entire editorial, but here’s a brief sample:

“Rucho’s rant can’t disguise his incredible lack of historical perspective. World War II cost this country $4.1 trillion in 2011 dollars, the Congressional Research Service calculated then.

That was just to fight and win the war. It did not count the costs of rebuilding Europe and much of East Asia and the Western Pacific or, as noted in the $5 billion-a-year figure above, the continuing cost of veterans benefits.

The human costs of losing more than 400,000 military personnel aren’t included, either. Read More

Bob RuchoSenator Bob Rucho is far from the first person to make the boneheaded mistake of comparing something in modern American politics to Nazi Germany; 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 and demanded he be ousted from his TV job. 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 by claiming critics are members of “socialist elites.”  This time, all Pope has done is call for an apology.

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.

For Lunch Links today, I’ll highlight an oddball assortment of articles that have gotten my attention in recent days.

Here’s a fascinating story from Fast Company about a former librarian in Pennsylvania who, for 35 years, archived television news program as part of a one-woman mission to document the day’s events. Her cache of 140,000 video cassettes of major, and minor, news events are being digitized and eventually will be available to the public.

A little closer to home in North Carolina, state Sen. Bob Rucho, a Matthews Republican, is refusing to apologize for his tweet over the weekend comparing the Affordable Care Act to atrocities committed by Nazis and terrorists.

ruchotweet

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Senator Bob Rucho’s tweet that “Justice Robert’s pen & Obamacare has done more damage to the USA then the swords of the Nazis,Soviets & terrorists combined” (see below) is bringing more unwanted national attention to the Old North State.

Among the outlets covering the absurd and offensive comment:

Seems likely that Jon Stewart and/or Stephen Colbert won’t be gar behind.

Meanwhile, Kevin Rogers of Action NC offers the following as a partial response: Read More

Bob RuchoAs noted in last week’s Weekly Briefing, hyperbole and dramatic overstatements have their place in politics.  That said,  it’s also true that those holding public office should possess some minimal connection to reality and basic human decency. And in these latter two categories, Senator Bob Rucho of Mecklenburg County has raised real questions about his fitness for public office with his public statement on Twitter yesterday that:

“Justice Robert’s pen & Obamacare has done more damage to the USA then the swords of the Nazis,Soviets & terrorists combined.”

As Rabbi Judy Schindler of Charlotte’s Temple Beth El told the Charlotte Observer:

“The systematic murder of 11 million human beings, among them 6 million Jews … and acts of terrorists using explosives to indiscriminately decimate the lives of men, women and children can in no way be compared to legislation aimed at expanding health care accessibility and quality insurance for the poor. Comparing the two is deeply offensive.”

Of course, all who “tweet” have undoubtedly “said” things they’d like to take back. But good grief! State senators ought  to have enough common sense to think about their words before hitting the “Tweet” button. Rucho needs to do much more than “clarify” the intent of his statement; he needs to specifically and unequivocally apologize ASAP.