by Max Brantley
The Arkansas Democratic Party is demanding an apology from Republican Rep. Nate Bell, a Mena chicken farmer, for his strange Facebook post that seemed to compare Democrats and fellow travelers with Nazis.
We linked his Facebook comment here yesterday. As a little research showed, the quote apparently wasn't something the Nazi dictator ever said. On his Facebook page later, Bell explained that he was comparing liberals with Nazis for legislation to which he objected — such as requiring thorough cooking of hamburger. Really.
The Democratic Party's statement follows. I don't think they're likely to get much comfort from Bell. A fellow who can draw comparisons between regulation of cell phone use in school zones and the Holocaust is not a fellow prone to much rational thought. I asked him for an explanation yesterday and he chose not to respond. I tried again today. Still mute. Wuss.
I've asked House Minority Leader John Burris if he'd repudiate this point of view, if not directly call for an apology from a Republican colleague. Silence from him, too. When they came for me .....
UPDATE: Burris sends a statement from Nate Bell (man up, Nate, I don't bite)
The purpose of the quote and the accompanying thread was to serve as a warning against what elected officials should avoid becoming. I do not believe that Democrats are Nazis. Nazis were killers responsible for the death of members of my extended family in the past. I continue to remain focused on representing the people of my district and helping Arkansas overcome the high unemployment and economic troubles we currently have.
— Nate Bell
A non-apology apology, to be sure, but better than nothing. He could have added something about how people sometimes exaggerate when they get worked up in regrettable ways, like comparing those who propose cell phone restrictions and careful hamburger cooking to those who used gas chambers for mass killing.
(Little Rock) The Democratic Party of Arkansas called on State Rep. Nate Bell (R-22) to apologize for his statements comparing Democrats to Adolf Hitler this week and called on Republican leaders to condemn the statement.
Arkansas Democratic Party Communications Director Candace Martin demanded an apology from Bell and that his caucus leader Rep. John Burris and Party Leader Doyle Webb join in condemning the remarks by Bell.
“All politicians in our state should be above this kind of rhetoric, comparing those with differing opinions to Hitler. Rep. Bell compared Democrats to Adolf Hitler and Nazis— whether he meant elected Democrats or anyone in the state who has ever voter for a Democrat doesn’t matter. This kind of hate speech and hyper-partisanship is the kind of Washington political nonsense that we don’t need here in Arkansas,” Martin said.
“Nate Bell owes an apology t o the people of our state for resorting to this base level of rhetoric and to our World War II veterans who fought on the battlefield against the Nazis. As his caucus and party leadership, John Burris and Doyle Webb should publicly condemn this kind of politics,” Martin continued.
Bells rants began with a post to his Facebook page Saturday at 10:57 p.m.
Post from Nate Bell Facebook Page
“As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.— Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler.”
“Comparing Dems to Nazis is wayyyy to easy. Let's start with banning cell phone use while parked in a school zone,” Bell wrote.