Commentary Magazine


Dem Chair Compares Paul Ryan to Goebbels

The disproportionate character assault aimed at Paul Ryan after his RNC speech (which, incidentally, bore a striking resemblance to the backlash against Niall Ferguson’s anti-Obama Newsweek essay) is driven by one thing: sheer terror from the Democrats that Ryan is going to break through to independent voters.

But the attacks just got a lot uglier this morning. The SF Gate blog reports that California’s Democratic Party Chair John Burton likened Ryan to Joseph Goebbels at a breakfast for the Democratic National convention (h/t Burns & Haberman):

“They lie and they don’t care if people think they lie… Joseph Goebbels — it’s the big lie, you keep repeating it,” Burton said Monday before the Blake Hotel breakfast. He said Ryan told “a bold-faced lie and he doesn’t care that it was a lie. That was Goebbels, the big lie.”

Reminded that Brown drew heat for comparing the messaging of Meg Whitman’s 2010 GOP gubernatorial campaign to Goebbels, he said sarcastically, “[Bleep] that’s right, she won the election!

Burton shrugged at Brown getting in trouble. “He won it big. Goddam he was in trouble.”

Not only did Burton compare Ryan to the Nazi leader, he shrugged it off and refused to back down when confronted about his language — quipping that Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown won an election after comparing his opponent, Meg Whitman, to Goebbels in 2010.

What was Ryan’s “Big Lie,” according to Burton? His comment about a Janesville plant closing down was, as I wrote last week, perfectly accurate. Burton may think Ryan remark was unfair to Obama, but that still doesn’t reach the threshold of a “lie.” And to compare it to Goebbels’ Big Lie — the Nazi attempt to justify the Holocaust — is just disgraceful and should be condemned by both parties.

The National Jewish Democratic Council has been one of the first groups to criticize inappropriate Nazi references when they come from GOP politicians. We’ll see what the group has to say about this incident (and whether the ADL and AJC weigh in as well).