Yet again, a prominent Republican has attempted to stick it to Democrats by comparing them to the Nazi Party.
While responding to a question about the U.S. Congress historically low approval rating (LINK) on Thursday, the outspoken U.S. Rep. Allen West of Florida, a Tea Party favorite, replied that Democrats -- with the help of the media -- have managed to shift public sentiment against Republicans by using incredible feats of propaganda that he said would make the infamous Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels very proud.
If Joseph Goebbels was around, he'd be very proud of the Democrat Party because they have an incredible propaganda machine, West told reporters in Washington, D.C. I think that you have, and let's be honest, you know, some of the people in the media are complicit in this, in enabling them to get that type of message out.
West was referring to a poll released by the Pew Research Center on Thursday that found two in three voters favor tossing out most incumbent congressman in 2012.
West, who represents a heavily Jewish district in South Florida home to many Holocaust survivors, immediately attempted to clarify that his Nazi comparison only applied to propaganda but predicted that reporters will take whatever I say and you will spin it to try to demonize me or demagogue me. However, this was not the first time West has linked his colleagues across the aisle to Nazism. In the poll, 40 percent of respondents blamed GOP leaders for what has been deemed as a do-nothing Congress, compared to only 23 percent who placed a majority of the blame on Democrats.
During his campaign for the House last year, West raised the ire of Jewish groups when he accused Democratic campaign trackers of using Gestapo-like intimidation tactic. The Anti-Defamation League demanded an apology from West on that occasion that he refused to make, a demand that was repeated by the organization once again on Thursday.
The American Jewish Committee also slammed West on Friday, with Executive Director David Harris saying that, to make a linkage between any mainstream political party in the United States and the heinous atrocities committed by the Third Reich should be simply beyond the pale, whatever political differences may arise in a heated electoral season.
U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has also called on West to apologize, in addition to Democrat Reps. John Conyers of Michigan and Ted Deutch of Florida.
However, West has not backed down from his remark. A statement released by his office after the incident states trying to twist Congressman West's comments to say the congressman is 'Anti-Semitic' or insensitive to the six million Jews who perished during the Holocaust is absurd and a perfect example of the 'propaganda' used to refer to in his comments, indicating an apology is not likely to occur.
West has plenty of company among fellow Republicans who believe Nazi is an appropriate insult for Democrats or other progressive figures. While hosting his Fox News show, Glenn Beck frequently used the term, in addition to Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter and Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes, who in November 2010 referred to National Public Radio executives as Nazis with a Nazi attitude.