Lyndon LaRouche, Hitler and the Health-Care Debate

by Conor Clarke

That clip of Barney Frank mocking a townhall protester who compared proposed health-care reforms to Nazism has been making the rounds on the Internet. Now, via Dave Weigel, it looks like the woman is a Lyndon LaRouche cult member, or at least a sympathizer. The relevance of this fact eludes me. But John McCormack of the Weekly Standard, tagteaming with Michelle Malkin, says this is evidence that some of the vilest town hall protesters are Democrats, not conservatives: "No one disputes that LaRouchites are on the fringe -- but it's indisputable that they are fringe Democrats."

Well, no. It's actually quite disputable. LaRouche (whom I interviewed and profiled for the New Republic a few years ago, and who really doesn't like me) has never been recognized by the Democratic Party, which won't let him seat delegates at its conventions and has cited his "explicitly racist and anti-Semitic” views as a reason for the ban.

I confess I don't know the political registration of the young woman in question, and I have neither the means nor the inclination to find out. But I think it's disingenuous for McCormack to refer to "Lyndon LaRouche Democrats" when the Democratic Party has done everything in its legal power to keep LaRouche and his wacky cult at pole's length.

But really, who cares either way? My sense is that when most people call attention to town hall protestors behaving like Nazis ("Heil Hitler") or calling Obama a Nazi ("Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy?"), they aren't trying to make the point that all Republicans are Nazis, or think Obama is a Nazi. I'm sure 99% of the townhall attendees are good and decent and honest people. But the remaining 1%, wherever they come from, are doing something extraordinarily ugly and harmful to the public discourse on health care.