By Molly K. Hooper - 08/07/09 10:07 PM EDT
In the latest round of political sparring over disruptive healthcare town hall meetings gone awry, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) encouraged its ranks to sign a petition demanding that GOP House Minority Leader John BoehnerJohn BoehnerThe Hill's 12:30 Report Rep. Meadows to run for Freedom Caucus chairman Dems brace for immigration battle MORE (Ohio) and his deputy, GOP Whip Eric CantorEric CantorVA Dems jockey for Kaine's seat High anxiety for GOP Webb: Broken trust, broken party MORE (Va.), denounce Limbaugh’s highly charged riff comparing the Democratic Party to Nazis.
In the special “Rapid Response Alert to encourage grassroots Democrats” to sign the petition, DCCC Executive Director Jon Vogel writes that “Rush Limbaugh is attempting to sidetrack the important debate through his use of symbols that are synonymous with murder, intolerance and genocide.”
Limbaugh made the comparison in the wake of accusations that protesters opposed to the president’s signature provision of creating a government-run healthcare system were part of an “unruly mob” organized by the insurance industry.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs responded to the emotionally charged rhetoric on Friday, saying that “any time anyone ventures to compare anything to [the Holocaust], they’re on thin ice and it’s best not deployed.”
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and DCCC have fixed their sights on GOP leaders BoehnerJohn BoehnerThe Hill's 12:30 Report Rep. Meadows to run for Freedom Caucus chairman Dems brace for immigration battle MORE and Cantor, though, capitalizing on the fact that neither lawmaker has condemned Limbaugh’s statement nor have they done anything to quell heated tempers.
Minority Whip Cantor, the sole Jewish Republican in Congress, has remained mum since Limbaugh compared Democratic policies to Nazi tenets. Cantor has been in Israel for the past week and has not had a chance to respond to Thursday’s remarks, his aides explained.
The DNC went after Cantor for his silence, accusing the Jewish lawmaker of “fanning the flames (of) … the repeated use of Nazi symbolism at community meetings by the Republican incited mob proves that these protests have nothing to do with health care, but rather that the Republican party is willing to sink to the lowest, most despicable levels to accomplish their goal of 'breaking' President Obama.”
Democrats have also attacked Cantor for telling the Israeli newspaper Haaretz earlier in the week that the Republican Party needs “the Sarah Palins, Dick Cheneys, Rush Limbaughs, the Colin Powells.”
The Whip also made that statement days before what Democrats are calling Limbaugh’s “tasteless political comparison.”
Limbaugh’s comments on his radio show comparing Democrats to Nazis were prompted by a statement that Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a day prior when she said anti-Obama healthcare reform protesters were "carrying swastikas" into public townhall meetings.
The conservative radio talkshow host initiated a war of words on his popular radio show in which he took on Democratic accusations that conservatives are Nazis.
Limbaugh – the self-proclaimed “Mobfather,” in reference to the “mobs” that the DNC accuses of disrupting townhall meetings across the country -- proceeded to list similarities between the “Democrat Party of today and the Nazi Party in Germany” saying that Nazis “were against big business … they were opposed to Jewish capitalism … they were insanely, irrationally against pollution, they were for abortion and euthanasia.”
“There are far more similarities between Nancy Pelosi and Adolf Hitler than between these people showing up at town halls to protest a Hitler-like policy that's being heralded by a Hitler-like logo,” Limbaugh said.