August 20th, 2009
08:51 AM ET

Dear President Obama #213: Enough with the Nazis...

Reporter's Note: President Obama has asked the public for advice on running the country. Considering the opposition he’s facing over health care, you could hardly blame him if he just plain ran. But as long as he stays put, so will I, with a letter a day to the White House.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/08/18/frank.heath.care/art.barney.frank.health.gi.jpg caption="Rep. Barney Frank argues with a man after a town hall meeting Tuesday night in Dartmouth, Massachusetts."]

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

I do not have the power of a president, a senator, a representative or even a school board member. I am vested with virtually no authority to mandate anything, as my wife, children, and dog remind me on a regular basis. And yet I am making a proclamation that I hope will have the force of law: From now on, all insults based on Nazis are off limits.

Seriously. Listen to the health care shouting matches across the country, and you’d think the brown shirts were somehow marching out of a World History Class somewhere, bypassing Poland for a change, and rumbling across the American heartland. I’ve seen the posters of you painted up to look like Hitler; swastikas scrawled on signs; people flinging the word “Nazi” at each other from both sides of the protest lines. It’s ridiculous.

We’ve had problems in our country to be sure over the years. We’ve had bad leaders, connivers, crooks, and conmen from all parties. We’ve made terrible decisions with disastrous results from time to time. But Nazis? Come on.

Calling anyone Hitler except Hitler reveals nothing except a stunning lack of imagination. I’m all for free speech, but for crying out loud, try a little creativity, people!

I can’t say with any certainty what approving or not approving health care reform will do, but I’m pretty sure neither course will involve the wholesale slaughter of millions, and when people fling around words like Nazi, it makes a real and awful period in history little more than a cartoon.

What about all the other tyrants, dictators, madmen, mass murderers, and talk show hosts we’ve had to endure? Don’t you think folks could drag up a few of those names for purposes of insulting the opposition? “Why you sir, are nothing but a Charles Manson!” “Step aside, Marie Antoinette, we’ve got a government to run.” I’d settle for a “Hey, Napoleon, aren’t you expected in Russia?”

There are so many other, excellent insulting terms to be hurled by anyone on any side wanting to attack the opposition. Alphabetically, here are a few suggestions (and btw, you’ll notice I don’t even drag in the seriously profane options, which as you know are always popular!): Ahmadinejad, bozo, clueless, dullard, egghead, fancy-pants, goofball, Hannibal Lector, idiot, jackass, kook, lickspittle, moosehead, ninnyhammer, octo-nut, punk, Queen Quirky, Rasputin, smurf, tosser, unpreblate (which actually means nothing, but sounds bad,) Visigoth, whacky, xenophobe, Yankee Doodle Dork, and of course, uh…ok, I can’t think of a Z.

If you can think of a good one give me a call. But I don’t want to hear anything about Hitler and the Nazis from you or anyone else for a long time. If I wanted that, I’d turn on the History Channel.



Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Marilyn Johnson

    Agreed that the name of such an evil regime should not be used in name calling by anyone, either side. I do find it rather interesting though that some of Obama's administration have either Communist or Marxist views and NO ONE is talking about it! How about Van Jones, the so called "Green Czar" who was part of the Rodney King riots in LA and came out of prison a self proclaimed Communist just for starters! Why isn't ANYONE looking into the "fine" company our President keeps and has kept through out his life?! The news media has delved into EVERY President's life, i.e.: President Bush and DUI's or poor grades at Yale, President Clinton and Whitewater or his numberous affairs..... WHY are no reporters delving into our President's past and current associations?! Absolutely unreal.

    August 21, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  2. RLWellman

    Are you going to close this article too? This makes around 13 comments you haven't moderated. Hello, McFly! Anyone there?

    August 21, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  3. texgal

    Bravo and well stated, Rev. Anderson! I would hazard a guess that a majority of people in this country knows at least one person that doesn't have health care benefits or is affected by a pre-existing condition. I worked with a woman that was trapped in a job that she hated because she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Until she was "clean" for 5 years, she couldn't change companies because she needed the insurance that her current job provided and insurance at any new company wouldn't cover pre-existing condition. I know a family that has for all intents and purposes had to bankrupt themselves because their child was involved in an auto accident and required an extended hospital stay and many surgeries...they didn't have insurance because the dad had been laid off and they didn't have the funds to pay for COBRA. Both of these examples are of hard working people that the current system let down. Very sad that the most prosperous nation in the world would have people that can't seek medical attention [and please don't tell me that the emergency room is the answer...we ALL pay for that in the long run!] because they have to choose whether to pay for insurance or put a roof over their family's head. We need reform and we need it now AND we don't need to listen to insurance companies or even doctors for that matter on how to reform this...you don't ask the fox how to secure the chicken coop, do you?

    August 21, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  4. RLWellman

    It's funny that President Obama is now trying to use religion to help pass his garbage Health Care Reform Bill the way it is written. Let's see if the liberal left will be outraged because of the lack of seperation of church and state, but of course, this is only when a Republican is in office!

    August 21, 2009 at 7:57 am |
  5. jqglass

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ Zipperhead ( My son says it is the same as Knucklehead, blockhead) an so on an so on ........

    August 21, 2009 at 2:19 am |
  6. Carmen

    Rep Barney Franks I'm so sorry people have to bring up Nazi and Hitler. Dump people haven't read the Dairy of a none Franks so why would this be presented in a Town Hall Meeting where he spoke. We have so many uneducated people speaking out against the health care. Where are these people coming from I'm like Rep Franks what planet was this lady from. My heart goes out to Rep Franks and his family.

    I'm not understanding why the Republicans are against the Health care Bill why now and where were they for the past 8 years?

    They had the House and Congress for 8 years so why should I trust them now?

    August 21, 2009 at 12:08 am |
  7. Annie Kate

    My favorite was Visigoth but Huns would do as well. Any of the barbarians. They were fairly self-centered. I have been shocked at all the name-calling and shouting and the fact that its mainly from those who have health insurance already. It has convinced me that most people nowadays do not care for their fellow citizen especially enough to help them out. Our emphasis on ourselves. I hope we can find that spirit of generosity again that used to characterize Americans.

    August 20, 2009 at 9:53 pm |
  8. Sharon

    ..As earlier stated, Barney Frank stated it best.... What planet have you been living on? ... If only they all would say that... It's all a matter of I have mine, you can't have any.... People have nothing better to do than listen to scare tactics and spout someone's elses lines from web sites or other stations. Please just think for once in your life..

    August 20, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  9. Joanne P.

    I agree, bad taste is never acceptable...regardless of party affiliation.

    August 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  10. Barbara Westwood

    Tom, Thank God, I found your comments. I am scared of all the arguing.
    I am scared of people strapping guns on. I am scared because the news
    is not refuting the lies about healthcare reform. I just listened to Obama on
    c-span and am glad I did. He is a great communicator. But, Tom,
    Just soundbites that are never followed up on. Thank you,

    August 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  11. Carol B. in MD

    Hey Tom. All the name calling needs to cease and desist. Yes, there is still room for a few ironic and sardonic comments here and there. However, there is never any room in the vernacular for "Nazi,' whether for Bush or Obama. To do so insults the victims and their families of the Holocaust. And yes, your blogs and opinions do count, as does everyone's opinion. Unfortunately, many of the politicians don't want to compromise or cooperate anymore. There's no cohesiveness within our country, so how can we tell other countries how to conduct themselves?

    August 20, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  12. dave

    Nazi stands for National Socialism and since Obama wants socialism, that part of it is correct but since only 20-30% want it, it can hardly be called National. The anti-Obama people state pages and specific language to make their points. I have yet to hear Obama or his followers state a specific page stating their case.

    August 20, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  13. L. Carilo

    From your list; my favorite, Rasputin. Z, hmmmm...How 'bout, Z... I got nothing. ~ L. C.

    August 20, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  14. Johnny From SC

    Thank's Tom,

    I am soooo tired of that crap as well. I do repect that we the people have the right to free speech. However; when in a Town Hall Meeting a womansaid to a Jewish man " Hail Hitler " she should have been told to go to hell.

    Unfortunately people either don't understand or just honestly don't care. We need to get a bill passed so that we can move on to the next set of lies and innuendo.

    Somebody is wrong in the debate. I hope it the people that are barking the loudest and making the rudest statements.

    O'ya by the way I have a another insult that you can use. I heard it at my son's daycare. " YOU POOH POOH HEAD ". It sounds as mature as calling anyone out of their given name.

    Johnny From SC

    August 20, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  15. Pat

    Amen, Tom! The whole Nazi thing puts all the protesters in the category of nutcase, instead of reasonable people who are concerned about the health care issue. Now, I am a supporter of President Obama, and don't believe a minute about death squads, but will admit that I don't know enough about what the health care proposals are. What I do know is that something needs to be done, and quickly. There are thousands of people out there without health care who are truly in need to seeing a doctor, but just can't afford it, and end up going to ERs where the cost is outrageous. When they can't pay for it, guess who pays for it – the rest of us with health care. So we are paying one way or another.

    August 20, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  16. I Agree!

    Where's Sharpton on this one? He's all about equality and standing up against racism. Sigh.... I imagine he'll stay silent.

    Good call Tom. I've generally learned people resort to name calling when they've exhausted their intelligence and ability to provide facts to support their position on a subject. Nothing more than saying, "YOU'RE GUILTY" without having a shred of evidence to support the statement. Classic sign you're dealing with an idiot.

    August 20, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  17. Cindy

    I could not have said it better enough is enough and yes how about a little creativity; and no a remake of the Joker is not creativity it is insulting.

    Thanks for saying what needed to be said.

    August 20, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  18. Heather,ca

    I'm Jewish and obviously I find it offensive. I found it offensive when it was done to Pres Bush.

    I wish people would get their insults straight and know their history.

    The only country I can think of that for years I heard about with socialized healthcare, is Great Britian.

    The use of the word Nazi or Hitler shows the ignorance of those people. We can express our unhappiness in a more articulate and appropriate way. There is a lot of anger, confusion and fustration. I just wish people would do their research before attending these town halls.

    Using those terms is beyond anything appropriate or acceptable.

    August 20, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  19. lampe

    I totally agree with you. But, I think all of this name calling is "STUPID." Our Country gives us the right to disagree. IF we only had one Party in charge of everything all the time,I think we would have a big mess on our hands. The Dems are in charge, if they have enough votes to get a HealthCare Bill passed, then go ahead and do it. This waiting around and pointing fingers crap is not GOOD. And, come on people you Dems are acting like you all really behaved yourselfs, and were very supportive of GWB. If, you didn't support him, or just respected him because he was the POTUS, what right do you have to say anything about the treatment of OBAMA?

    August 20, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  20. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    As much as the Liberal MSM and Democrats would like us to believe that this is new, if you google "Bush compared to Hitler" you'll find hundreds of examples where Republicans have been compared to Nazis and Bush to Hitler. Tom Foreman, I don't recall seeing any outrage from you then? Why not? Try looking at some of the following sites:
    Ringo's pictures
    Michelle Malkin site
    Vocal Minority
    Pink Flamingo blog
    All have many examples of the Left making these comparisons. MoveOn was especially prolific in 2003 releasing a video of a Nazi rally with Hitler interposed with Bush's swearing in ceremony. Let's have at least a minimum of jounalist integrity here. We demand better of you and CNN Tom.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  21. John

    I love what this new administration is doing for out country. This is like a brand new world with the door to the new millenium just opening. But these stimulus programs like any other monetary incentive cannot be stopped. Once you start something liek this you have to keep it going. And when we get to the level that we can afford all the utilites that go with these mortgages, then things will really have changed and America can turn its back on hard times forever.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  22. Jaime Valdes

    Last night on the Larry King's show, there was a debate about health care that I could actually listen to. Tommy Thompson and Elizabeth Edwards did a great job of explaining their position in a logical, non-threatening manner, no shouting, no screaming, allowing each person to finish their argument. A quick suggestion:

    Why not have a one hour national debate with two well informed representatives (one from each side) that can articulate the facts so that we the public can make a more informed decision as we try to influence our representatives. I realized that at the end of this debate there will still be major philosophical differences, but at least the facts would have been presented and misinformation identified.

    I think this would be viewed as great public service effort by your network..….

    Thank You

    August 20, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  23. Susan Eastman

    Thanks, Tom. I agree that the Nazi and Hitler insults being thrown around only display the ignorance of the people using them. And these insults bear little resemblance to reality. Barney Frank really nailed it on Tuesday with his retort, "What planet do you spend most of your time?".

    August 20, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  24. dprosenthal

    I hardly think that the problem lies in which names we are calling each other but rather in the very fact that we ARE calling each other names.
    It would be really refreshing if both sides actually presented the public with thier proposals, written in plain English, so that the American people could reach an informed opinion on the pros and cons and participate in an intelligent debate on the facts presented.
    This playground approach to reaching a conclusion on such an important matter is just plain embarassing. And, oh yeah, my Dad can beat up your Dad!

    August 20, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  25. Donna Wood, Lil' Tennessee

    Thank you Mr. Foreman! I couldn't agree more! I'm all for freedom of speach but this shouting and drawing ridiculous pictures and name calling is really pretty childish. It's like a group of over grown children throwing temper tantrums. Come on, grow up America! Use your brain for what it was intended. You want your views to be recognized, I think you can do a lot better than that. Maybe if you put forth your views and ideas in an intelligent manner you might get the results you really want. Otherwise, go straight to your room and don't come out until you can conduct yourself in a more mature fashion. Does that not sound familiar to you?

    Donna Wood
    Lexington, Tennessee

    August 20, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  26. Rev. Anderson

    I am starting to wonder what type of country we are turning into. First, the people making the most noise have health care insurance! If seniors don't like the budget issues then we must talk about agriculture subsidies, unfunded wars, Social Security and Medicare. But we don't because first world countries don't leave the elderly on the streets just because they didn't have a retirement plan or can't afford private health insurance. People who have health care through their employers are foolishly living in a dreamland. Employers large and small simply can not absorb the costs of health care! Nobody's talking about GM and the impact of health care costs in their downfall. What ever happened to debate based on the facts.
    First fact is that 47 million (and growing everyday) don't have healthcare. Many of us can't go to the doctor because it will ruin our credit or send us into bankruptcy. The number 1 reason for bankruptcy these days are medical and medical collections are by far the largest issue on many credit reports. People don't feel out a medical history at their doctor, they complete a credit application.
    Second an employer based healthcare system is discrimminatory and unsustainable. Many small businesses can't and won't provide healthcare and therefore will be at a serious disadvantage when it comes to recruiting and retaining talent. Everyday I think long and hard about whether I want to continue working for the domestic violence program I serve because I need healthcare and they can't provide it. And not all us are poor. Many people work 40+ hours, take care of our children and don't meet the requirement for government services for low income services.
    Third, the fact is that my people (the uninsured and underinsured aren't being heard. For once just maybe Congress could review the facts. 47 million people without healthcare is a death sentence. I have one child in college and another going next year and I can't see a doctor. My son has a pre-existing condition and this precious system doesn't serve people who have needs (they don't make the profit requirement).
    So I am asking everyone that already has coverage to please sit down, hush and let those of us that are on life support to speak. I am reminded of the sea gulls in "Finding Nemo" All they want is to talk about is "me, me, me" Maybe when the story of how many of us are your neighbors, pastors, friends and family becomes apparent you might stop saying "me, me, me" but look for a solution that makes us a better country.

    Cooper, we love you and the important work you do!

    August 20, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  27. Mike in NYC

    Yep, the History Channel a/k/a the Hitler Channel.

    To be fair though, the parade of Holocaust/WWII movies isn't helping.

    August 20, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  28. RLWellman

    Tom, Well I guess you never saw the picture of George Bush the Democrats made of him as Hitler? You must not watch CNN, NBC, ABC, or MSNBC either!

    August 20, 2009 at 8:58 am |