Pelosi And The Swastikas

A reader writes:

Yes of course these weirdos were carrying swastikas at the town hall shout fests. But wasn't Pelosi's obvious implication that the righty town hall crashers were carrying swastikas as a badge of honor, rather than as a criticism of Obama as a "fascist"? While certainly silly to paint Obama a fascist, these guys can't be called neo-nazis. That is what Pelosi was doing. Right out of the Bill Clinton, "It's nazi time" playbook. I'm surprised to see you come to Pelosi's defense on this one.

Well let's go to the video:

Now, I can see where the misunderstanding might come from.

The questioner asked if she believed the protests were a "legitimate, grassroot opposition" and when prompted by the interviewer whether they were astroturf, she said "well you be the judge." Then she notes that

They're carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on healthcare.

I took her to mean that only very politically motivated activists really respond to the health insurance reforms being weighed by the Congress by ringing the debate immediately to the equation of Nazism. That's her response to the question of "legitimate". Normal people debating health reform with their representative don't bring swastikas with them. But I can see no serious way to see her as saying they were dressed up as Nazis to gain support and credibility.

Fox News' Bill O'Reilly spun it that way, of course. He wants his audience to believe that Pelosi was accusing Republicans of being Nazis. It's great for ratings. But, so far as I can see, it's untrue.