“If anyone was upset, we certainly regret it.”
— Alex Stroman, South Carolina Republican Party executive director
So if anybody called you a Nazi, would you be upset?
Stroman issued his conditional “regret” for a graphic, atop a Tuesday fundraising email from state GOP chairman Matt Moore, that placed the words “Obama’s Gestapo” under the IRS logo.
As non-apology apologies go, that was just another transparent variation on the theme of “If you are stupid, silly or hypersensitive enough to be offended, we’re sorry.”
Stroman’s lukewarm “regret” statement even defended the “Obama’s Gestapo” insertion as a “subject line meant to grab the attention of those receiving it.” He added: “Our goal was to highlight the IRS’s questionable tactics and their decision to selectively scrutinize and target certain groups, including those in South Carolina.”
At least Republican Gov. Nikki Haley didn’t hedge in calling the “Obama’s Gestapo” theme “unfortunate” and “uncalled for.”
In case you missed this 20th century history lesson: The Gestapo was Nazi Germany’s notorious secret police force that routinely tortured and killed innocent people.
No Miranda rights. No bail. No due process. No kidding.
OK, so you shouldn’t buy President Barack Obama’s “phony scandal” pitch on IRS bullying of conservative organizations on his watch.
But that doesn’t make our federal tax collection agency, despite its bullying tactics, the Gestapo, which didn’t have to answer to Congress.
The IRS — and the White House — do. And fuller investigation of those politically driven IRS abuses are fully warranted.
Also needed: More constructive political debate, less destructive name-calling and greater willingness to say you’re sorry like you mean it.
A lowdown putdown
Our state Democratic Party has worked the Third Reich into its rancorous-rhetoric act, too.
After Haley did TV spots from a basement studio at the NASCAR Hall of Fame during last September’s Republican National Convention in Charlotte, then-S.C. Democratic Chairman Dick Harpootlian said: “She was down in the bunker a la Eva Braun.”
Braun was Adolf Hitler’s long-time mistress and short-time wife (the newlyweds committed suicide less than 40 hours after their marriage in der Fuehrerbunker as the Red Army overran Berlin).
Harpootlian didn’t apologize.
Neither did Majority Leader Harry Reid after he told this blatant lie about Mitt Romney on the U.S. Senate floor last August: “The word’s out that he hasn’t paid any taxes for 10 years.”
Such divisive, and frequently deceptive, mud-slinging echoes broadcast blowhards who usually don’t apologize for their verbal excesses until their advertisers demand it.
For instance, perpetually overwrought left-wing crank Chris Matthews, on his MSNBC “Hardball” show Wednesday night, branded Texas Sen. Ted Cruz a “political terrorist” for proposing that Congress de-fund the onrushing Obamacare mess.
What’s in a name?
Back to high, hard ones from the right: Radio-ratings powerhouse Rush Limbaugh coined “feminazi” and “Lindsey Grahamnesty.”
Conservative radio star Mark Levin, who often calls Obama a “Marxist” and some other Democrats “fascists,” is also rough on Graham. Among Levin’s labels for our Republican senior senator: “goober,” “goofball” and “disaster.”
So is our president really a “Marxist” aided and abetted by “fascist” lawmakers?
Actually, he’s a liberal Democrat who’s a big believer in big government — and has presided over a big jump in our big national debt.
Yet Obama also has compiled the two biggest presidential-race popular-vote totals in U.S. history. We conservatives are evidently outnumbered.
Meanwhile, we Americans ultimately get the elected leaders we choose — and thus, deserve.
So cool the overheated urge to condemn each other as Marxists, Nazis, commies, fascists, terrorists, racists, race hustlers, tax cheats, flat earthers, tree huggers, tree haters and other reckless terms of embitterment.
And if anyone is upset by this column, I certainly regret it.
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.