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.”



  1. bobfromsanluis says:

    Wasn’t Karl Rove a “graduate student” at Goebbels style political wordsmithing? It has always cracked me up when anyone made a mention of extreme right wing politics as being similar to Nazi tactics and gets utterly lambasted for doing so. Even more amusing is watching those on the right attempting to paint someone on the left as being “Nazi-like” when the comparison could not be further from the truth. If you really want to remember how “brownshirt” tactics have been used before by Republicans, just remember Florida 2000, when “poll watchers” moved in to intimidate minority voters, and how they surrounded Al Gore’s house, yelling at all hours for him to “get out of Dick Cheney’s house”. Nazi tactics are nothing new to the Republican Party, they just don’t like being reminded of it.

    (-17) 29 Total Votes - 6 up - 23 down
    • Spectator says:

      How about the Black Panthers in Maryland during the Obama election? Union (Socialist ) thugs in our past. I would never call the actions of Progressive/Socialist/Communist tactics by the left as Nazi tactics. I call them Bolshevik tactics. And this is why most are fed up with American Politics.

      (15) 21 Total Votes - 18 up - 3 down
    • Cindy says:

      So true Bob, the thing is that we are all US Citizens trying to make a better US for all of us. Why do we do these things to each other? Is it really about the top 1%? They are only 1%, why do we allow this? We all have to come together and start to honestly study the facts. Then maybe we can truly be united.

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
      • bobfromsanluis says:

        Cindy: Before the Tea Party activists really started coming out of the woodwork, most of the really outrageous behavior exhibited by those on the right seemed to be pretty carefully scripted and carried out in a more “top down” approach, meaning that those serving just under the highest levels in the party would very quietly start using the techniques of using whisper campaigns like the Bush team did in South Carolina in the run up to the 2000 primary where it was “rumored” that John McCain “had a black baby”, ignoring the fact that he and his wife had adopted a little girl with dark skin. The extreme uses of either dirty tricks (like Karl Rove in his early career staging a break in at his own office and planting a bug so that it was discovered and made to look like the political rival he was working against was at fault) usually did not percolate down to the more local races, until the advent of the more vocal proponents of the Tea Party crowd started getting pretty “crazed”.

        (-4) 8 Total Votes - 2 up - 6 down
  2. roymann says:

    Moved to So-Cal in 1972, Brown was Governor. The state didn’t have any of it’s current problems, I remember thinking Jerry Brown always made sense when he talked and with the actions he took. I’ve been a registered Republican for 30 years But have grown weary from all the bull, and more and more feel like little more than a pawn, for those who the tax breaks really benefit ( corp top brass) And I don’t see it trickling down. In the past I would have went for a candidate with business experience or as we say ” someone who has made out a paycheck. ” Not this time the negative ads ran by both Republican candidates were classless and ridiculous. If you want to listen to a true hate monger Nazi tune into Rush, he represents the worst my party has to offer, and when the party distances itself from him I may come back.

    (6) 30 Total Votes - 18 up - 12 down
    • Cindy says:

      Bummer, I am a Non Partisan who has also had it. I’ve always identified with the Dems. This last primary was the first time that I requested a Republican ballot rather than a Dem ballot. The reason was that for the first time in my life, I was going to vote for more Republicans than Dems and I hate leaving too many boxes empty. Maybe it’s time to join the tea party? They all suck, both parties make me sick.

      (5) 11 Total Votes - 8 up - 3 down
      • roymann says:

        I’m not impressed with a so called grass roots group that pays Sarah Palin hundreds of thousands of dollars to speak at rallies to me that’s hardly “grass roots” supporting a far right narrow minded politician who blows every interwiew she has had. The far right wing of the Republican party believes they are God’s chosen people doing his work.

        (1) 13 Total Votes - 7 up - 6 down
        • Cindy says:

          I can’t stand Sarah Palin. She is the equivalent of a 40 year old high school cheer leader. I wish she would just go back to Alaska and be a mom to her baby that needs her. She will never be voted into any vital position and will never regain the prestige she once garnered in Alaska. The minute she open her mouth everybody found out about her. Sarah Palin is an embarrassment to this country, IMO. She’s right there with the likes of Arnold. What a joke.

          (3) 11 Total Votes - 7 up - 4 down
    • south says:

      Sounds like roymann is a RHINO. The GOP is out of power in CA and also in Congress. If there is no dissent, you have one party rule. The British call it the loyal opposition and it works. So Roy – if you don’t like the rhetoric don’t listen. And by the way, Governer Moonbeam was named that by members of his own party. Looks like he hasn’t changed much.

      (-2) 10 Total Votes - 4 up - 6 down
      • roymann says:

        My party the GOP will be back as soon as the majority takes control back from the far right fanatics

        (4) 12 Total Votes - 8 up - 4 down
      • roymann says:

        Brown was named Moonbeam by rivals for the nomination they were all seeking for the same party,politics at it’s finest, no discussion of the issues just name calling in that you are right. I guess you’ve never seen other rivals in the same party tear each other apart. Such a rarity

        (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
    • Non Yokel says:

      I am with you roymann! I was a card carrying Republican my entire life, but just left because I could no longer stand them using what Goebbels invented. Anyone with a background on history knows that he perfected modern propaganda techniques that the so-called Republicans are using. any message repeated often enough and loud enough becomes the truth to the person unwilling, unaware, or unable to figure out the truth on their own. With the advent of talk radio and Fox, the average yokel (who for all intents and purposes should probably be a Democrat because they are probably receiving more social welfare than the informed taxpayer) is developing their political opinion based strictly from what they are spoon fed over the airwaves. It is frightening. I was talking to a woman and her husband recently who were telling me how Obama is going to raise taxes and make us all poor, and blah, blah, blah. I came to find out that her and her family are all on medicare! It was hard to hold my tongue on that one.

      Anyhow, I have lost hope in American policitcs. Ross Perot was right on so many levels, but he was effectively excluded from politics when the Clinton FCC rewrote the rules. Lets hope that the press is once again returned to the people and is no longer a tool of the rich in our nation!

      (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down

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