Los Angeles — Just when California voters breathe a sigh of relief that the 2010 primary elections are finally over, Jerry Brown launches an opening salvo against Republican opponent Meg Whitman by comparing her to Nazi Joseph Goebbels. Was it just ‘jogging talk?’
Meg Whitman a Nazi Propagandist?
KCBS news reporter Doug Sovern had a memorable run-in with Jerry Brown, the Democratic nominee for the California gubernatorial race. He outlines on his blog that while biking in Oakland, Sovern met up with Brown and started a brief conversation. Not surprisingly, the somewhat astronomical sum – about $80 millions – that it cost Meg Whitman to beat her Republican primary election opponent Steve Poizner entered the conversation.
Although it is not quite certain how Jerry Brown made the leap, he nevertheless exclaimed that: “It’s like Goebbels. Goebbels invented this kind of propaganda. He took control of the whole world. She wants to be president. That’s her ambition, the first woman president. That’s what this is all about.” A follow-up post by Doug Sovern shows that the spin has already begun and although the Brown camp does not call him a liar, it does refer to the aforementioned quote as “jogging talk taken out of context.”
What Type of Leader is Meg Whitman?
A 2005 US News special report describes Meg Whitman as a leader who “keeps a steady hand on the tiller rather than gripping and pulling hard on the levers of power.” As a result, difficult to reign in eBay turned from a precarious business model into a successful business organization. She highlights collaborative effort as the driving force behind her leadership style, not centrist control.
In contrast, Joseph Goebbels exercised a radical leadership style born of insecurity and compensated for with legalism to the point of death. A cynic whom the Jewish Virtual Library describes as having “contempt for the human race in general,” he was nevertheless highly gifted in the art of public speaking. There is nothing that suggests a worthwhile comparison between Whitman and Goebbels.
Are Politicians Jumping on the Nazi Bandwagon Just a Little Too Quickly?
In the wake of the Arizona immigration law, Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn was quick to champion an AZ boycott and remark that “When people are asked to show their papers it brings back memories of Nazi Germany.” It is apparent that Councilwoman Hahn is not familiar with the operations of a Los Angeles sobriety checkpoint during Lakers playoff games or the procedures at LAX prior to boarding.
It showcases that politicians have forgotten the true horrors that took place in Nazi Germany and thus use ill-advised Third Reich references ad nauseam. Cheapening the memory of those who perished and the heroes who risked it all to help them, they aim to use the quick rhetorical grenade rather than championing well thought out discourse. As outlined by the Los Angeles Times, the highly respected Simon Wiesenthal Center referred to the use of Holocaust imagery in this manner as “inappropriate and irresponsible.”
Gubernatorial hopeful Jerry Brown must have missed that issue of the L.A. Times. Then again, he may just be Governor Moonbeam all over again (and not the aged politician whom the years have imbued with moderation and wisdom, as he seeks to portray).