Jerry Brown’s Nazi problem
June 19, 2010
The election race for California governor has barely begun, but already Democrat Jerry Brown is in the awkward position of defending himself following comments he made comparing opponent Meg Whitman’s campaign to a famous Nazi. [LA Times]
Doug Sovern, a Bay Area radio reporter who first made a story of the candidate’s remark, said that he was out riding his bike when he encountered Brown jogging through Oakland. They paused to chat, and Brown criticized the volume and tone of the political ads with which Whitman papered the airwaves. “By the time she’s done with me,” Brown said, “I’ll be a child molester. She’ll have people believing whatever she wants about me. It’s like Goebbels. Goebbels invented this kind of propaganda.”
The comment refers to Joseph Goebbels, the creator of the infamous Nazi propaganda machine under Hitler.
After taking some initial criticism for the comparison, Brown attempted to defend himself on a KGO radio interview in San Francisco last week.
Brown hasn’t denied making the comment, but that it was offered in “a private conversation…. Nobody had a pencil.” He said, “Nobody said, ‘By the way, is this a statement that you’re making to the public.'”
Writing in the Times, analyst Tim Rutten reacted: “Jerry Brown is experienced enough and smart enough to know better. Saying what he did in any context simply reinforces suspicions that, at 72, he’s cranky, a touch old and slightly out of touch.”