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Governor Jay Nixon's PR Efforts Like Hitler's Nazi Propaganda, Says GOP Rep. Holly Rehder

Categories: News, Police

holly-rehder.jpg
via hollyrehder.com / YouTube
State Rep. Holly Rehder.
Governor Jay Nixon's efforts opposing a controversial tax cut bill are similar to Adolf Hitler's Nazi propaganda techniques.

So says State Representative Holly Rehder, a Republican from Sikeston, in her most recent weekly Capitol Report e-mail sent to constituents on Friday.

"My degree is in Public Relations and one point that was hammered home throughout my study is that 'Perception Is Everything,'" her letter begins. "This tidbit has been proven for years, if you will remember propaganda served as an important tool to win over the majority of the German public during Adolf Hitler's rule. I say this to remind you that you simply cannot take one side's viewpoint and proclaim it as the gospel. It behooves us all to research both sides of a debate before weighing in."

See also: Francis Slay: Hitler Video Meme (That Implies Mayor is Gay) Promoted By Lewis Reed Backers

She then goes on to criticize the governor's efforts to drum up opposition to the bill:

I've had some very interesting emails regarding House Bill 253; the Tax Cut bill that the Missouri Legislature will attempt to over-ride next week. I've explained the details of this bill in a previous Capitol Report and requested that you not take my word for it, or the material being sent from the Governor's office. To make this as non-partisan as possible, I requested that you talk to a third party CPA or Accountant (as this is a tax bill) that you trust and get their opinion of the bill. To date, I have had more contacts from constituents in favor of this bill than those against it.

At least one lawmaker has already condemned the remarks as inappropriate and offensive, full letter on view below.

The legislation in question is House Bill 253, one of several proposals that may be debated once again on Wednesday. Nixon, a Democrat, vetoed the legislation earlier this year, and some Republican lawmakers are working to override the governor and enact the law.

In recent weeks, the governor has traveled across the state holding press conferences in a variety of venues to criticize this tax cut proposal, which he says in his veto message is an "ill-conceived, fiscally irresponsible experiment that would inject far-reaching uncertainty into our economy, undermine our state's fiscal health, and jeopardize basic funding for education and vital services." He and other critics argue that the legislation would increase taxes on prescription drugs and college textbooks and provide special treatment for some businesses while discriminating against others.

gov-jay-nixon-veto.jpg
via governor.mo.gov
Governor Jay Nixon discussing House Bill 253 in Kirkwood last month.

Nixon has made speeches at children's centers, schools, pharmacies and other settings around the state to make his case.

The legislation got a lot of attention last month when Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, came to Missouri to push for an override of Nixon's veto.

Rehder, in her e-mail, says "the opposition's talking points are simply not true."

She argues that the opposition's claim that Missouri could lose $1.2 billion in tax revenue is contingent on five separate factors, which she then outlines.

She adds, mentioning "propaganda" once again (emphasis hers):

The Governor's office has withheld $600 million in education funding since 2009. They understand how propaganda and fear moves our public.

I will say again, as I did in my last article - the facts are clear - Missouri is shrinking. A glaring reminder is that we lost a congressional seat in the 2010 census. Another fact - Missouri ranks 48th in economic growth over the past decade. We need to stop the scare tactics with education and government services.....our focus should be on growing Missouri.

The e-mail and Hitler reference has already received some media attention, but it does not appear that Rehder has offered any additional commentary. Daily RFT reached out to her over the weekend and will update if we hear back.

In the meantime, you can read her full comments here. State Rep. Stacey Newman, a Democrat, sent Rehder this letter yesterday:

Dear Rep. Rehder,

Last week you issued a public statement to your constituents regarding Governor Nixon's stance on House Bill 253. You wrote, "My degree is in Public Relations and one point that was hammered home throughout my study is that 'Perception Is Everything. This tidbit has been proven for years, if you will remember propaganda served as an important tool to win over the majority of the German public during Adolf Hitler's rule."

I was extremely offended, as were many of my family, of your comparison of opposing policy views to the insanity of the Holocaust. Your comment was completely insensitive to those families throughout our state who have been forever altered by this horrific event in world history. Your policy differences with our governor can be in no way comparable to the propaganda of Adolph Hitler.

There are many families in Missouri who include Holocaust survivors. My husband's grandmother, his father, uncle and two aunts barely escaped Nazi Germany. His grandmother (our daughter's namesake) lost her eight sisters and their extended families. One of the few remaining photos of her entire family are among the treasured photos displayed in our home and we do our best to keep their memories alive. I would be happy to share with you our personal family stories of survival and devastating loss. We would never show our surviving aunt, who is 91 years old, your remarks for fear of how it would personally cause her anguish. Such casual references to a man associated with unbelievable atrocities are a great insult.

I understand that you might be passionate about a particular policy and desire to influence others as to your particular views. But using Adolf Hitler's name to advance your viewpoint only incites and inflames. It does not persuade rational people.

Perhaps you were unaware that your statement was hurtful. I encourage you, as an elected official, in the future to be respectful and not lightly reference, what to you may be a chapter in a history text book, but to others never forgotten family horrors. These analogies do nothing to advance your argument and are severely inappropriate.

As your House colleague, I respectfully ask for your consideration in future debate.

Sincerely,

Stacey Newman
Missouri State Representative, 87th District
Chair, House Progressive Caucus
Deputy Minority Whip

And here's Nixon's full veto message:

House Bill 253 veto

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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51 comments
Philip Rock
Philip Rock

Yeah but he'd also be like putin or kim jong un. There are a lot of other oppressive governments you could be compared to especially when it comes to silencing the opposition hitler's just used as a buzzword to get people riled up.

James Madison
James Madison

When comparing to Hitler, one does not need to show 6 million deaths plus huge war mongering. To be Hitler-like, one only needs to exhibit a single trait of the infamous German leader. To compare is not to compare 100%, but some small fraction of what the one man did and another man is doing.

James Madison
James Madison

I think you are confusing Republicans and Democrats. The Democrats demonize all "extreme right wingers" as fascists. At least be honest about how much the GOP and the Democrats are alike in how they twist words. Stop being the tool of either of those political parties.

James Madison
James Madison

Foolishness. Hitler was more than just a genocidal maniac. If Jay Nixon grew a mustache and dyed his hair black, would not that make him "like Hitler"? If Jay Nixon uses the power of the government to squash opposition voices and promote his own view, that is also like Hitler. Not 100% like Hitler, but some small fraction like him. Being Hitler-like is not just one thing. It can be about any number of things.

Michael P Goggins
Michael P Goggins

The minute any politician compares another one to Hitler, they lose any sense of credibility whatsoever.

Gary Muich
Gary Muich

Why do all politicians have that cocky smirk?? Think about it

Patrick Gonzales
Patrick Gonzales

Nixon is trying to prevent MO from racing to the bottom with Kansas and Oklahoma. You want our kids to have a great education? YOU GOTTA PAY FOR IT.

Kristin Scudder
Kristin Scudder

Well the Dixie Chicks tried, and well since it was a white president, they weren't havin none of that here in Murica!

Kristin Scudder
Kristin Scudder

They are trying out a new catch phrase for their non-scandal scandal, BenghNazi.

Matt Hawkins
Matt Hawkins

wonders if she is related to Todd Akin?? :) LOL By marriage at least??

Kenneth Lee M
Kenneth Lee M

or what passes for Republicans these days ... I miss the old evil Empire - they at least made intelligible arguments.

Nathan Nico Vize
Nathan Nico Vize

This gentleman has officially met a Republican and described him accurately.

Kenneth Lee M
Kenneth Lee M

Because some politicians just whine and cry ... rhey don't really do anything. When stuff doesn't go their way it's the Marxist-commie-facist-liberal-socialists fault. And anyone who has read a GOP edited and approved New History book knows that Hitler was infact a gay Muslim alien and founded the Liberal Movement with his jackboot union thugs. He also liked to eat puppies and make small children cry.

Justin Wagner
Justin Wagner

Missouri is in the middle of the nation with limited ways to increase any economic development. She's acting like this tax reduction will put the state past California or Texas.

Sara Ivie-Trankler
Sara Ivie-Trankler

Damn unions. So how do you like those weekends, over time, holiday pay, child labor laws, labor day? Thank a union.

Nathan Nico Vize
Nathan Nico Vize

I'm surprised our state's GOP hasn't tried to succeed from the union or block the 13th amendment lately...

Nathan Nico Vize
Nathan Nico Vize

Because Republicans are full of shit and the only arguments they have are calling their adversaries Communists or saying that they are like Hitler.

Stephen Rutherford
Stephen Rutherford

Don't forget that Tim Jones also accused Nixon of using Soviet style tactics because the State Highway Patrol removed a couple of morons from a bridge. Our state's GOP has really gone off the deep end.

Paul Garrett Covey
Paul Garrett Covey

I wish I could like that comment twice...but I couldn't, so I unliked it just so I could like it again.

Philip Rock
Philip Rock

because she's a moron that's why. unless a politician is committing genocide they're not like hitler they're just like politicians. propaganda is part of politics. And to anyone who's going to try and make any comparison to any politician and hitler here... Healthcare is just something that has existed in europe for a while, hitler actually lowered taxes on the rich and believed in capitalism immensely. all politicians use propaganda, and hitler took control democratically, and if someone is a "socialist" they can't be the new hitler seeing as hitler was closer to fascism than socialism.

Matthew Moody
Matthew Moody

More like to fool the people into thinking they have any control over anything anymore

Dennis Fleming
Dennis Fleming

Finally, evolution proves that a Todd Akin can exist in the opposite gender. Don't let those two breed, wait, they'd never figure out how to do it anyway. No worry.

Jay Vines
Jay Vines

The problem for progressives is that conservative values don't look like values at all. They look like prejudices, misogyny, selfishness, lack of compassion, bullying, and selling our democracy to the highest bidder. Locking away people of color in for-profit prisons and keeping people from south of the border who do our most undesirable work from becoming citizens look like prejudices and lack of compassion. Trying to force women and girls to bear unwanted children, obstructing equal pay for women, consistently trying to underfund services for battered women and children, and soft-pedaling rape sure look and feel like misogyny and lack of compassion. Constantly trying to push the Christian religion beyond home and church into schools and public squares used by people of all faiths and no faith feels like bullying. Trying to deny rights and privileges to gays, even obstructing efforts to protect gay students from bullying in schools, looks like selfishness and prejudice. Allowing business interests to take precedence over people's interests and allowing the voices of powerful corporations and wealthy people to drown out the voices of the middle class and poor could spell the end of our democracy. In foreign policy, the execution of American exceptionalism looks more like selfishness and bullying. I actually do try to see the value of conservative values, but I simply cannot see much redeeming

Jay Vines
Jay Vines

In the past 40 years our government has undertaken a series of "conservative" reforms aimed at "unleashing" capitalism. Income taxes have been cut in half for the wealthy investor class. Their capital gains and stock dividend income are now taxed less than are common wages. Corporate income taxes have been cut. Businesses now pay little to no local tax. The Treasury now guarantees at public expense even the most ludicrously harmful business practices. The actual outcome of government realigning itself with business and big money, against consumers and labor, is now evident. "Unleashed" investment has mostly created jobs overseas even as the debt for the tax cuts that facilitate it remains at home. Real wages for American workers have fallen as they have risen for foreign workers. Foreign workers have no pensions so our government now allows businesses to renege on past pension promises made to former workers here. Social Security is being redefined as a "threat to society" because its funds had been "borrowed" by government to cover arbitrary federal income tax cuts. It seems Social Security might have to be repaid unless it can be recast as "evil." Medical care for ordinary people is said to be "communism," but the luxury of wealth is proper capitalism. Money in politics is "freedom" while universal voting is "corruption." I'll tell you what is a threat to society, proven recurrently in history: When economic elites gain untoward control of government and the economy they eventually bring ruin for all including themselves. History also shows that when ordinary people are provided and protected, everyone prospers.

Jay Vines
Jay Vines

There is a huge difference and you are very ignorant if you don't see it...

Jesda Ulati
Jesda Ulati

There is no difference between the two parties. It is a myth they've trumped up to build enthusiasm among supporters.

Mark C. Rich
Mark C. Rich

Comparing Nixon to Hitler. I guess she was educated in one of Missouri's failing schools due to GOP tax cuts.

Jason Patrylo
Jason Patrylo

Wow! Really? Hitler? You might as well say "only if it's a legitimate rape."

Michael P Goggins
Michael P Goggins

The perception from reading this is that you are a drooling idiot who needs to seek immediate medical and psychological help!!

Kristy Cognac Creighton
Kristy Cognac Creighton

Incidentally, I left a comment on her Facebook page, expressing my thoughts on her using comparisons to Nazis and Hitler when discussing her philosophical divergences with Governor Nixon regarding HSB253. It was deleted. Censorship. How very Nazi-esque. Love the irony.

Jay Brandt
Jay Brandt

She clearly didn't have family in Nazi Germany.

Kenneth Snyder
Kenneth Snyder

I invoke Godwin's law. You have lost your argument. By the way, you can easily make dozens of accurate comparisons to Hitler for anyone, that doesn't make someone Hitler or a Nazi and is just a lazy argument.

Don Benecke
Don Benecke

Steeling from the poor, to give to the rich, look in the mirror Lady!

Philip Rock
Philip Rock

it also annoys me because it's such an american thing to do. You don't hear MP's standing up in Parliament saying "cameron is a nazi". might hear someone say that about the BNP but that's because they believe in making britain british and deporting immigrants. It's pathetic that our politicians aren't advanced enough to actually have constructive debates and constantly lower themselves to name calling. it shows such a ridiculous desperation on their parts. I swear we throw the name hitler around more than the nazis.

Kristy Cognac Creighton
Kristy Cognac Creighton

I find the most objectionable, destructive, and under-educated people in existence are those who are the first to point a finger and scream, "Hitler!"

Gretchen Neff Piofcyk
Gretchen Neff Piofcyk

These people who bring up Hitler need to go back to History class and visit the Holocaust Museum.

Jay Vines
Jay Vines

Bush and the GOP created the most pro-corporate, pro-wealthy and pro-deregulation government we ever had along with massive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. During that time we lost more jobs than any time but the Great Depression, the financial sector almost collapsed and many large companies went belly up. And we're supposed to go back to that again cause it worked so well the first time? Really?

Marc Seleman
Marc Seleman

I agree Phillip. I am not necessarily a supporter of Nixon and his policies, but her argument just lost all credibility. And the word "propaganda" is a harsh word in any context. Both sides use whatever wording they feel is reflective of their argument. Only "independent" review can ever cull the true fact from fiction in any partisan debate. The fact that she has a background in PR only exacerbates the issue that you probably can't believe what she says, not the other way around.

puzzledpurfact
puzzledpurfact

@Philip Rock Corporate capitalism has revealed tendencies to most of the same problems as communism, though the failures are superficially different.  The large corporation, which is perhaps the ultimate expression of corporate capitalism, is the locus of many of the problems.  Corresponding to the privileged elite of the Communist party is the privileged corporate elite.  Just as the privileged elite of the Communist party rendered the political system useless for the average individual by promoting political corruption, the privileged elite of corporate capitalism has also done everything possible to render the political system useless for the average individual by promoting political and judicial corruption.  But in a way worse than this, corporate capitalism, like communism, does what it can to render the individual powerless politically, through practices like gerrymandering and voting machine tampering, cutting voting times, moving poling stations, creating rules to make it harder for college students, home bound, and low income people . The political and economic outcomes have been so similar under both communism and corporate capitalism it should hardly be surprising to anyone, given that the underlying problem is the same in both cases:  too great a concentration of ownership and control in too few hands. Who are the tax cuts meant for? They do need to work more on lowering wages to move the plan on.

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