Tom Cotton still hasn’t learned the first rule of politics
Analysis by CNN Editor Chris Cillizza
The first – and I mean the absolute first – the policy rule goes like this: don’t compare anything to the Holocaust. Or the Nazis.
You see, the murder of 6 million Jews at the direction of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler is more gruesome than anything you could compare it to. There is absolutely nothing in modern American life that comes close to the Holocaust. Period. End of the conversation.
And yet, politicians keep breaking this rule.
The latest entrant is Republican Senator from Arkansas Tom Cotton, who decided it would be a good idea to suggest that Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson could have defended the Nazis in court.
“You know, the last Justice Jackson left the Supreme Court to go to Nuremberg and pursue the case against the Nazis,” Cotton said in a speech to the Senate on Tuesday. “That Judge Jackson could have gone there to defend them.”
Cotton was referring to Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, appointed by President Harry Truman to oversee the Nazi trials at Nuremberg in the aftermath of World War II.
And Cotton criticized Jackson for representing several Guantanamo Bay prisoners as a public defender in the mid-2000s. (“Federal public defenders can’t choose their clients,” Jackson said during his confirmation hearings.)
You can see the gears in Cotton’s head moving here. You see, Robert Jackson and Ketanji Brown Jackson have the same last name! And they’re both on the Supreme Court – or about to be! So to draw a comparison between how one Judge Jackson prosecuted the Nazis and how another defended four Guantanamo Bay prisoners will be a rhetorical slam dunk!
Which, well, no. You see – because I cannot repeat this enough – there is simply nothing in modern life, including the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, that directly compares to the Nazi regime and the Holocaust.
Because it’s 2022, Cotton made no apologies for making the comparison. Instead, he leaned into it.
None of these facts will stop Cotton from fueling the Conservative scandal machine. And due to the current state of the Republican Party, there’s a nearly zero percent chance that a GOP leader will ask Cotton to repeat his crude comparison.
But none of that changes that fact: no politician should EVER compare ANYTHING to the Nazis and the Holocaust. It fails every time.
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