Carson’s New, Improved Hitler Dog Whistle

Methinks Dr. Ben Carson is having to refine the dog whistles by which he alerts like-minded conspiracy theorists without attracting too much scrutiny from, you know, us more normal people.

Back in December of last year he got upbraided by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer for suggesting that Barack Obama was turning the United States into another Nazi Germany. Here was a description of the exchange by David at Crooks and Liars:

Earlier this year, Carson had told the conservative news outlet Breitbart that the U.S. was “very much like Nazi Germany” because President Barack Obama was using the government to “intimidate the population.”

“What I heard the comparison of the United States of America — the greatest country in the world, the greatest country ever — to Nazi Germany, I said, what is he talking about?” Blitzer told Carson on Wednesday.

“See, what you were doing is allowing words to affect you more than listening to what was actually being said,” Carson insisted. “Nazi Germany experienced something horrible. The people in Nazi Germany largely did not believe in what Hitler was doing, but did they say anything? Of course not. They kept their mouths shut.”

“The fact that our government is using instruments of government like the IRS to punish its opponents, this is not the kind of thing, as far as I’m concerned, that is a Democrat or Republican issue. This is an American issue. This is an issue that threatens all of our liberty, all or our freedom.”

Blitzer, however, wasn’t satisfied: “But to make the comparison, Dr. Carson, to Nazi Germany, the slaughter of six million Jews by the Nazis, the devastation that erupted in Europe and around the world to the United States of America, I want you to reflect on what that means.”

“Well, again, you are just focusing on the words Nazi Germany and completely missing the point,” Carson replied. “And that’s the problem right now, that’s what PC-ism is all about: You may not say this word regardless of what your point is because if you say that word, you know, I go into a tizzy. We can do better than that.”

“We need to get to the point where we can look beyond the word, and look for the meaning,” he said, adding that he had no intention of revising his remarks.

The bizarre post-modern rap on words and meanings shouldn’t obscure the fact that Carson was suggesting that Blitzer’s questioning of his Nazi analogy was itself a prime example of the Nazi-like suppression of his right to say whatever the hell he wanted. That’s pretty far down the rabbit hole in my opinion.

In any event, Carson, now running a strong second in most GOP presidential preference polls with a favorability ratio better than anybody else, has become somewhat more circumspect in his Nazi-talk. Here’s a new CNN report on the subject from Eugene Scott:

Ben Carson suggested on Wednesday that a Nazi-like force could come to power in the United States.

At a campaign event in New Hampshire, Carson noted that many people believe a situation like what took place in Germany in the 1930’s and 1940’s could never happen in America.

“I beg to differ,” Carson said. “If you go back and look at the history of the world, tyranny and despotism and how it starts, it has a lot to do with control of thought and control of speech.”

At a press conference after the speech, reporters asked Carson who he thinks is like Adolf Hitler in the U.S.

“I’m not going to go into that that. I think that example is pretty clear,” he responded, without elaborating.

Huh? I didn’t know the theoretical possibility of a Nazi uprising in America was a campaign issue this year, did you? Or is Carson alluding to someone and something a lot more specific?

When another reporter asked if he was comparing President Barack Obama to Hitler, Carson said, “No. I am saying in a situation where people do not express themselves, bad things can happen.”

Earlier, Carson had said, “If people don’t speak up for what they believe, then other people will change things without them having a voice. Hitler changed things there and nobody protested. Nobody provided any opposition to him.”

Yeah, now that’s the Carson we are used to, alluding, how ever vaguely, to his claims that Alinskyites like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are radically changing the country by stealth means and suppressing anyone who calls them out by PC codes. It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it, that nobody’s allowed to criticize Obama, right? It’s just like Hitler, whom nobody opposed, right?

Speaking of suppressed opinion, what’s it going to take before another Republican candidate or the conservative news media publicly takes notice of the fact that Ben Carson’s POV is way off the rails?

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.