Allen West’s Goebbels reference

I’m getting pretty accustomed to Republicans referencing Nazis in their attacks. Michele Bachmann compared the national debt to the Holocaust; Newt Gingrich said President Obama poses a domestic threat on par with Nazi Germany; and various Fox News figures regularly invoke Nazis, Hitler, and Goebbels to go after their perceived enemies.

But this new one stood out for me for a couple of different reasons.

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) on Thursday said Democrats have an “incredible propaganda machine,” comparing Democrat proficiency to that of a Nazi administration head.

“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 the House, according to multiple reports.

Joseph Goebbels was the head of the Minister of Propaganda in Germany while it was under the control of the Nazi party from 1933 to 1945. The department sought to control public opinion and enforce Nazi Party ideology in Germany prior to and during World War II.

West said the comparison was not between Democrats and Nazis and only applied to the quality of the propaganda.

Now, I think it’s fair to say most objective, independent observers would agree that Allen West is stark raving mad, which suggests his comments are not to be taken especially seriously.

But just for the sake of conversation, let’s note a couple of things. First, I think it’s called the Democratic Party. If West is going to be in Congress, he should probably take a moment to learn the parties’ names.

Second, earlier this year, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) made a passing reference to Goebbels when going after Republican rhetoric, and Fox News was apoplectic. Megyn Kelly, in particular, devoted quite a bit of time to covering the comment, and I can’t wait to see — in the interests of being fair and balanced — how much time she invests in criticizing Allen West for the same misdeed.

And finally, even if we put aside the Nazi garbage, what on earth is West talking about? Democrats are good at message dissemination? Democrats “have an incredible propaganda machine”? Since when?

I’ve been watching Democratic politics for as long as I can remember. The party has plenty of strengths, but the development of an “incredible propaganda machine” isn’t one of them.