Rep. Gohmert Touts Column Comparing Obama To Hitler Over Handling Of BP

June 23, 2010 12:25 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

Last night on the House floor, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) read approvingly from a column by conservative thinker Thomas Sowell comparing President Obama to Hitler in part because of his handling of BP.  Gohmert described Sowell as "brilliant," adding, "I didn't vote for Barack Obama in 2008, but I sure would have voted for Thomas Sowell."

GOHMERT: There's a brilliant man named Thomas Sowell.  And, um, I didn't vote for Barack Obama in 2008, but I sure would have voted for Thomas Sowell.  This man, well, his article says quite a lot.  His editorial, um, says here — and it's just been posted this week — but it says, "When Adolph Hitler was building up the Nazi movement in the 1920's" — and I'm quoting from Thomas Sowell in his editorial:

...leading up to his taking power in the 1930s, he deliberately sought to activate people who did not normally pay much attention to politics.

Such people were a valuable addition to his political base, since they were particularly susceptible to Hitler's rhetoric and had far less basis for questioning his assumptions or his conclusions.

"Useful idiots" was the term supposedly coined by V.I. Lenin to describe similarly unthinking supporters of his dictatorship in the Soviet Union.

And this isn't in the article — this is my comment — but we do have useful idiots today, who are heard to say, "Wow, what we really need is for the president to be a dictator for a little while." They know not what they say.  

Gohmert continued reading, including the part where Sowell bashes President Obama over the BP escrow fund:

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.


It's difficult to overstate how absurd all of this is.  Sowell's leading argument (and by extension Gohmert's) is that both Obama and Hitler were able to "activate people who did not normally pay much attention to politics." Of course, the same could be said of the Tea Party movement.

After Sowell's column was published, the Washington Post's David Weigel commented that it was out of touch with political reality following Rep. Joe Barton's (R-TX) apology to BP. "[T]here is no appetite -- really, none -- for criticizing the BP fund," he wrote. "The gap between conservative intellectual leadership and Republican politicians on this issue is as wide as we've ever seen it during the Obama era."

But Gohmert isn't the only conservative lawmaker who disagrees.  While President Obama fights for the Gulf region, Republicans — Rep. Tom Price (GA), Gov. Haley Barbour (MS), Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN), Sen. John Cornyn (TX), Rep. Steve King (IA), Barton and Gohmert — continue to stand up for BP.