MUDSLINGING

Meg Whitman’s Bad, But Did Jerry Brown Need To Call Out Her Nazism?

California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown says he hates attack ads and political mudslinging. Sure he called Republican candidate Meg Whitman an “apostle of darkness and ignorance” and “intellectually embarrassing”, but there’s no need for him to spend millions (like she did) to make her seem any more anti-gay, pro-porn, or out of touch than she already is. Why oh why then did Brown bother comparing Whitman to Hitler’s propaganda chief while jogging with a local journalist?

Brown boasted about his legendary frugality. “I’ve only spent $200,000 so far. I have 20 million in the bank. I’m saving up for her.” It’s true – his stay-on-the-sidelines, bare-bones primary run cost him almost nothing, at least in California political terms. But he also fretted about the impact of all those eBay dollars in Whitman’s very deep pockets. “You know, by the time she’s done with me, two months from now, I’ll be a child-molesting…” He let the line trail off. “She’ll have people believing whatever she wants about me.” Then he went off on a riff I didn’t expect.

“It’s like Goebbels,” referring to Hitler’s notorious Minister of Propaganda. “Goebbels invented this kind of propaganda. He took control of the whole world. She wants to be president. That’s her ambition, the first woman president. That’s what this is all about.”

Whitman’s staff has called him out on the ridiculous comparison, as they should have. But stopping the debate there ignores Brown’s crucial point: By the time Whitman’s millions are done being spent, she’ll have the electorate believing he’s a “child molester” by Election Day. No fair! How’s she gonna do it?

The Joseph Goebbels way! He was the Third Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany famous for “Big Lie” theory — namely, that if you repeat a lie constantly, with a massive push behind it, you can get people to believe anything. Like Whitman resembling Hitler’s minions.

Brown should focus on the facts instead of using the tired trope of opponent-as-Nazi that works more against him than her. We get why he said it, but Whitman’s record is bad enough on its own without dressing it up in a red armband and a swastika, eh?