Yesterday, Rep. Barney Frank got in a heated exchange with a questioner at a Massachusetts Town Hall, who held up a poster of President Barack Obama overlaid prominently with a Hitler mustache. “Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy?” she demanded. His response: “On what planet do you spend most of your time?”
Great sound bite, but actually, it’s this one — and she shares it with LarouchePac, the political action committee run by Lyndon LaRouche. Which just happens to be mass-manufacturing those Obama-as-Hitler posters.
The protester opened her question to Frank by comparing the widely-rumored (and widely-debunked) so-called “Death Panels” to the Nazi’s T-4 program of exterminating people will illnesses, deformities or otherwise deemed “unworthy of life.” The fourth result for “Nazis T-4 Policy” is “Nazi T4 Genocide Model Openly Touted By Obama Administration” from LarouchePac.com. HotAirPundit points out that “LaRouche PAC had a table outside the event” at which it was giving out Obama-with-Hitler-mustache posters, and says that LaRouche can be traced to most of the Hitler noise: “99% of the Town Hall Protesters denounce the Hitler pictures.”
As HotAirPundit notes, Newsbusters previously pointed out the LaRouchePac connection to the Hitler signs — and criticizing mainstream media sites for conflating them with Conservative rhetoric against Health Care Reform position.
NewsBusters’ main point is that LaRouche is actually on the left — he’s run for President as a Democrat before, after all — but I think it’s safe to say that LaRouche has never been an accepted, promoted, or viable candidate for the Democratic party. His views have been variously described, according to SourceWatch, as Fascist, Communist, Bonapartist and Right-Wing Populist, and marked by conspiracy theories. So it’s pretty clear why both sides would want to distance themselves from him and his antics.
That said, NewsBusters shouldn’t be the only ones distancing — Rush Limbaugh talking about Obama “sending out his Brownshirts” is a pretty clear reference to Hitler (in fact, that’s the raison d’etre for this NewsBusters post — complaining that various news programs linked the Hitler posters to Limbaugh in their coverage of the various invocations of Hitler that included Limbaugh’s reference to Hitler. Quibble!). Limbaugh’s message is hard to miss.
Nor is there any indication that this woman carrying a homemade Obama Swastika sign, or the person holding up other homemade SS sign or whoever put this homemade Swastika sign on a baby stroller were affiliated with LaRouche.
Nor is there any reference to LaRouche in this account from Blue Mass Group:
I just had a surreal conversation with a guy handing out pamphlets:
guy: Do you know Hitler endorsed Obama’s healthplan?
guy: Yes, in 1939.
me: Really? That’s interesting. Who’re you working for?
guy: I’m just a concerned citizen.
me: You have pamphlets….
guy: I’m a volunteer.
me: Who for?
guy: The Mass. GOP.
The pamphlet was your basic FUD, no mention of Hitler.
“FUD” stands for “Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt” — used for the purposes of being, er, persuasive. So — I wouldn’t exactly call this particular meme isolated.
But it definitely is worth noting that there are organizations out there working on an institutional, mass level to stoke the anger of crowds, flood them with propaganda and arm them with the kind of paraphernalia which is designed exactly to get and hold the media’s attention. LaRouchePac is one, and one that is getting a lot of play — so it’s important to call that out, and make sure that agenda is clear and, like NewsBusters suggests, not ascribed to opponents of Health Care Reform as a whole.
But part of calling that out includes calling out all the lies. Because there is a clear link between this woman invoking Nazi T-4 policy in talk of “death panels” and Chuck Grassley talking about “pulling the plug on Grandma.” They may not pass out the same posters, but make no mistake of it, those messages are linked. What Grassley — and all Conservatives or opponents of Health Care of any stripe should do — is confront each crazy, trumped-up, demonstrably false rumor with the kind of blunt, no-argument response that Frank delivered last night.
NBC, CNN and MSNBC All Assign Communist LaRouche’s Obama-Hitler Poster to Conservatives, Limbaugh [NewsBusters]
Who is the real Nazi, President Obama or Lyndon LaRouche? [The Examiner]
LaRouche PAC Behind Nazi Comparisons [Blue Mass Group]
Nazi Astroturf [Blue Mass Group]
Who’s To Blame For The “Death Panel” Rumors? Betsy McCaughey, Again [Mediaite]
Barney Frank Pwns Crazy Town Hall Questioner [Mediaite]