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Call Me a Nazi and I'll Deck You

Politics: For some liberal Democrats, it's their way or the wrong way. Republicans need to take off the kid gloves.

January 18, 1998|DOUG GAMBLE | Doug Gamble of Carmel, a former humor writer for Presidents Reagan and Bush, now writes for other prominent Republicans

As the Democrats dust off their demagoguery to further demonize Republicans in an election year, I propose introducing an element to modern politics as American as the Super Bowl: the good, old-fashioned punch in the nose.

Independent Counsel Donald Smaltz missed an opportunity to defend his honor in this way in December, when Rep. Tom Lantos (D-San Mateo), a classic liberal bully, compared Smaltz's membership in the GOP with former U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim's membership in the Nazi party. I think Smaltz should have challenged Lantos to either take back the outrageous insult or step outside to settle the matter with bare knuckles.

Since the Democrats began their brilliant, Dick Morris-inspired campaign in 1995 to position the GOP as the party of evil, Republicans have been called everything from radicals and extremists to terrorists and Nazis, as if disagreements with Democrats on matters of fiscal and social policy somehow compare with World War II atrocities or mass murder.

Republicans like me have been accused of wanting to starve children and kill the elderly, with emphasis on the word "wanting." Disingenuous Democrats are claiming that harm to kids and seniors would not be the unintended consequences of GOP policies, but that they are the goals. The concept of "well-meaning but misguided" has no place in liberal thinking. Conservatives aren't merely wrong, we're wicked. We want to demolish Social Security, devastate Medicare, rape, pillage and plunder.

Liberals always have been ruder than conservatives--have you ever heard of a liberal speaker being booed off the stage at a conservative university?--but the level of Democratic obnoxiousness has risen sharply since the GOP captured Congress. If Kermit the Frog thinks it isn't easy being green, he should try being Republican in my part of the country, where conservatives are as plentiful as Janet Reno fans at Microsoft.

Prior to the demonization of my party, I had been more or less tolerated by Democrats I'd encounter in social situations. Comments over the nacho dip such as "You seem like a pretty nice guy for a Republican" were common, and I'd laugh along. But in crossing paths with Democrats over the past three years, things have turned ugly at times. I've been accused of contributing to the Oklahoma City bombing because I listen to Rush Limbaugh, called a fascist for defending Ronald Reagan as my political hero, insulted with an obscenity for pointing out Bill Clinton's deftness at stealing GOP ideas, called a racist for supporting a ban on preferences and a misogynist for opposing women in combat.

Well, as Howard Beale said in the movie "Network," I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore. I'm speaking only for myself, but I urge other Republicans to join me in drawing a line in the mud. From now on, if a Democrat calls me a Nazi, I'll deck him. If a Democrat calls me a racist, I'll deck him. If a Democrat accuses me of wanting to starve children and kill the elderly, I'll deck him.

And I'd like to see Republican honor defended in this way on the campaign trail as well. If a GOP candidate is called a Nazi or something just as insulting during a debate, I think he should immediately walk over to the opponent's podium and challenge him to either take it back or take off his jacket. Republicans should no longer tolerate vile, hyperbolic, personal insults.

This includes Newt Gingrich, who has allowed the Democrats and their allies in the media to paint him as a cross between Jack the Ripper and the Boston Strangler from the day he became House speaker. Come on, Newt, you have nothing to lose. The next time a liberal portrays you as a monster, make a fist and physically wipe the smirk off his face.

Clinton has described Republicans as mosquitoes to be swatted away by Democrats. I'm one mosquito who is prepared to swat back. To paraphrase Barry Goldwater, a punch in the nose in defense of personal honor is no vice, and restraint in the face of disgusting insults is no virtue.

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