You are hereWashington Post: Dem Rep: No apology for saying GOP mendacity is worthy of Goebbels

Washington Post: Dem Rep: No apology for saying GOP mendacity is worthy of Goebbels


January 19, 2011- Uh oh. Dem Rep. Steve Cohen has no intention to apologize for insisting in a controversial broadside on the House floor that GOP lies on health reform are worthy of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. In a lively interview with me just now, he doubled down on the claim -- hard.

"I don't think calling out liars is uncivil," Cohen told me. "No reason to apologize. You have a duty to respond. if they were telling the truth and I said they were lying, then I would apologize," Cohen continued, referring to Republicans.

In case you missed, it, on the House floor last night Cohen unleashed a head-turning series of claims, arguing that the "government takeover" claim by Republicans is "a big lie, just like Goebbels." He added: "The Germans said enough about the Jews and the people believed it -- and you had the Holocaust."

Conservatives have expressed outrage today and demanded that Dems condemn the comment, but Cohen has no intention of backing off. In our interview he rejected the idea that he had compared Republicans to Nazis.

"I said Goebbels lied about the Jews, and that led to the Holocaust," Cohen said. "Not in any way whatsoever was I comparing Republicans to Nazis. I was saying lies are wrong...I dont know who got everybody's panties in a wad over this statement."

Cohen insisted that the invocation of Goebbels was legit, given the larger context: He said that Repubicans had, in fact, repeatedly used a big-lie technique on health care.

"There have been so many lies about the health care bill," Cohen said, citing "death panels," the GOP rejection of the Congressional Budget Office's finding that repealing reform would hike the deficit, and the claim that health reform represents a "government takeover."

"You can't stop them from saying that lie," Cohen said of the "government takeover" line. "It's their mantra. They go to bed with it. They do Yoga with it."

Pressed on whether such rhetoric was appropriate, given that Dems and liberals are trying to get Republicans to condemn incendiary and "eliminationist" rhetoric on the right, Cohen didn't back down. He argued that "civility" was a matter of content as much as tone, and suggested that mendacity itself is uncivil and particularly immoral in the context of the health care debate.

"Lies are being spread, and it's wrong," Cohen said. "Goebbels was the master of political lies...to lie to take health care away from people is despicable."

FULL STORY HERE:

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