A former Republican legislator who once scolded Democrats for calling Republicans Nazis is directing his displeasure, now, at fellow Republicans. Darrell Hanson of Manchester served eight terms as a state representative and, in the early 1990s.
Hanson stood on the floor of the Iowa House to lecture Democrats who’d doctored-up a photo to depict a bunch of newly-elected Republicans as Nazis. "It turned a key in my brain and got me pretty upset," Hanson says.
Now, almost two decades later, Hanson is upset again, but this time it’s with Republicans who’re accusing Democrats of being Nazis. "About two days ago I sent an email to a friend of mine spouting off about people comparing other people to Nazis just because they have a different view on how health concerns ought to be paid for," Hanson says.
"People don’t understand. I think it’s a real sad statement about our inability to separate true evil from normal disagreements." Speaking of disagreements, Hanson does not agree with the Obama Administration on many issues, including health care policy and the auto industry bailout.
"I’m still a Republican. I’m still a free-marketeer," Hanson says. "In a healthy democracy there’s a way you carry on disagreements and it’s not by trying to brand people as the equivalent of one of the two of the most evil political forces we’ve had on the planet in the last 200 years."
To make his point that the Nazis were the embodiment of true evil, Hanson cites one example of Nazi cruelty which is too graphic and disturbing to air on the radio. Hanson’s hope is that Americans will stop throwing around the "Nazi" label.
"I don’t care which side of the political spectrum does it," he says. "It’s not only really cheap political theater, it really betrays an incredible ignorance of history and I’d be embarrassed to reveal that I was so ignorant of history as to use that kind of terminology."
Hanson, who has taught economics, history and political science at the University of Northern Iowa and Upper Iowa University, is currently a member of the Iowa Utilities Board. He made his comments Thursday during an interview with Radio Iowa.