Jewish Democrats blast Palin, so what else is new?

I generally stay out of the ‘hit-Sarah-Palin-for-the-stupid-things-she-says thing because …well, it’s just boring, there’s so many of them.

And stories about the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) criticizing Republicans are real yawners. It’s their job, after all.

But I can’t help it; NJDC was right when it slammed the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice-presidential candidate for her recent comments that endorsed a column suggesting President Obama’s success in getting BP to set up an escrow fund to help compensate victims of its Gulf of Mexico oil spill could lead to a Nazi-like regime.

Palin, writing on Twitter, referred her followers to an article by Thomas Sowell entitled “Is U.S. Now On Slippery Slope To Tyranny?”

In that article Sowell, a conservative economist,  opened with these lines: “When Adolf Hitler was building up the Nazi movement in the 1920s, leading up to his taking power in the 1930s, he deliberately sought to activate people who did not normally pay much attention to politics.”

The same thing is happening today, he said, as “American democracy is being dismantled, piece by piece, before our very eyes by the current administration in Washington, and few people seem to be concerned about it.”

One example: the $20 billion BP escrow fund.

Sowell is indignant: “Just where in the Constitution of the United States does it say that a president has the authority to extract vast sums of money from a private enterprise and distribute it as he sees fit to whomever he deems worthy of compensation? Nowhere. And yet that is precisely what is happening with a $20 billion fund to be provided by BP to compensate people harmed by their oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.”

OK, I get it: some people think the federal government should stay out of the affairs of private business.  It’s a point of view. Some even think that the  interests of huge, globe-spanning corporations trump the interests of our nation and its people. 

But to compare Obama’s actions seeking to make sure the federal government doesn’t get stuck with the tab for fixing the mess that BP created to the rise of Naziism? Way off base.

Conservatives like Sowell and Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), who enraged his GOP colleagues when he apologized to BP during congressional hearings and argued the escrow fund is a kind of government shakedown, don’t think the government should pressure BP to pay for the mess, and no doubt they don’t think taxpayers should be forced to do so.

What’s left? Louisiana fishermen? A Florida tourist industry that could be ravaged?

Maybe they think the Nature Conservancy should pay for rescuing dying birds, if their bleeding hearts are hemorrhaging over devastated ecosystems, and out of work fishermen should stop their whining and get jobs at Wal-Mart.

Not surprisingly NJDC, which has been having a field day with Republicans who think Obama is a kind of crypto-Nazi as well as secret Muslim, went after Palin.

“As a likely future candidate and GOP leader, Governor Palin should be speaking out against the use of this type of abusive rhetoric – not encouraging her supporters to read it,” said David Harris, the group’s president.

No word yet from the Republican Jewish Coalition, but my guess is they’re going to lie low on this one. Jewish Republicans are hopeful 2012 could be a breakthrough year for them – but you have to think the potential candidacy of Sarah Palin is the worst nightmare for many.

As I’ve written before, I think Obama has a lot to answer for in his handling of the oil spill crisis.

Republicans who think getting BP to pay some of the costs is a government shakedown can only help the Democrats deflect some of that valid criticism. And conservatives who see the specter of Naziism behind every administration action will inevitably make even many Jewish voters who have come to dislike Obama uncomfortable with his critics.


About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.