After I shared this story with Talking Points Memo, they contacted Ellen Sauerbrey and she said "I think that we have a government that is following policies that are socialistic and fascist," she said. "I would not personalize my comments to describe the president. I hope to Heaven he's not. But I think that he's following policies that are taking us rapidly in the wrong direction."
That's so much better...
Ellen Sauerbrey, a representative to the United Nations and an Assistant Secretary of State under President George W. Bush and twice a candidate for Maryland governor, told a gathering of Republicans that President Obama was surrounded by cult-like following similar to dictators Adolf Hitler and Juan Peron. Speaking at the annual Lincoln/Reagan dinner in Southern Maryland’s St. Mary’s County, Sauerbrey further stated that she was “afraid for our country” as “our Constitution is indeed being dismantled” by the president as his administration advances “fascist, socialist ideas.” Sauerbrey later denied that she was likening Obama to Hitler – merely that she worried that the bad economy could be used as a justification to undermine our rights – as was done in Nazi Germany.
Here is my take –
Sauerbrey of course denied that she was likening Obama to Hitler, but the implication is clear. Taken collectively, Sauerbrey’s comments were meant to insinuate that Obama had the potential to become another Hitler. Her words were disgusting and incendiary and should not have been spoken by a person so prominent in the Republican party structure in Maryland – they should not be spoken by anyone, but especially not someone with standing.
I have written before and continue to maintain that these hate fueled accusations of Nazism are little different from such accusations hurled at President Bush – even by some prominent Democrats. During the Bush years, no one in the Democratic party was willing to stand up and challenge the Bush = Hitler charges. Now, Obama has inherited this coarsening discourse and the Obama = Hitler charges are flying free. Someone in the Republican party must stand up and denounce Sauerbrey’s thinly veiled insinuation. I can think of few more appropriate than former Maryland Lieutenant Government and current Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele. Former Maryland Governor and possible future gubernatorial candidate Robert Ehrlich should step up to the plate as well.
This Hitler nonsense must end, the hate that drives it must be challenged, the political parties that capitalize on it – without every endorsing it of course – must take responsibility for the crazies in their midst. At some point, these accusations will incite someone, somewhere, to violence.
Nancy Pelosi has recently expressed concern over rhetoric leading to violence - I would only say to her that it is a two way street and accusing all critics of the president racist could also incite violence.
Thanks to the St. Mary's County Times for providing key material for this post.