Who’ll Step the Goose Step Today?

This won’t help his campaign:

Iott, whose district lies in Northwest Ohio, was involved with a group that calls itself Wiking, whose members are devoted to re-enacting the exploits of an actual Nazi division, the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking, which fought mainly on the Eastern Front during World War II. Iott’s participation in the Wiking group is not mentioned on his campaign’s website, and his name and photographs were removed from the Wiking website.

When contacted by The Atlantic, Iott confirmed his involvement with the group over a number of years, but said his interest in Nazi Germany was historical and he does not subscribe to the tenets of Nazism. “No, absolutely not,” he said. “In fact, there’s a disclaimer on the [Wiking] website. And you’ll find that on almost any reenactment website. It’s purely historical interest in World War II.”

Personally, I don’t really have a problem with people playing dress up and doing war re-enactments. I think the way they seem to have romanticized it is ahistorical and creepy, but in a country where people openly celebrate the Confederacy, it is kind of hard to get worked up about some jackass play-acting as a Nazi.

On the other hand, it would be absolute political malpractice for Democrats to not exploit this for everything it is worth. On top of that, as JenJen and others from the region will point out, if there was to be a resurgent Nazism to emerge in the United States, SE and South Central Ohio is a pretty good guess as to where it would happen. Marge Schott wasn’t the only one living there.

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96 replies
  1. 1
    Ajay says:

    Doesn’t that mean that Tea party endorses Obama as Obama is the hitler? Its so confusing… May be Obama is really a Tea Party President.

  2. 2
    General Stuck says:

    Yea, and the idiot is using the Marge Schott defense of, well, maybe they did some bad stuff, but look at the efficiency in which they did it.

    I am going to start a Stuck’s no noes for candidates for public office.

    1. Never brings masturbation onto your platform, unless you also admit to noodling in witchcraft, where the laws of osmotic attention will shift in another direction.

    2. Never, ever, get photographed wearing an SS Officer uniform, unless it’s Halloween and you are too fucking drunk to know it.

  3. 3
    dhd says:

    You mean south-western Ohio, not south-eastern, right?

    SE Ohio is just an extension of Steeler Nation, but with more Quakers.

  4. 4
    Keith says:

    So just to recap the score, wanting universal healthcare makes you Hitler, but dressing up as a Nazi makes you a good father and avid historian.

  5. 5
    General Stuck says:

    Cincinnati is full of post WW2 old money types, which gives it a certain type of conservatism. When I was living near there back in the late 70’s, me and some buddies would get drunk and head out to crash the Polka parlors on riverboats mostly on the KY side of the Ohio River. Very creepy, everyone dressed up in 40’s gear with bouncers that looked like descendents of Himmler. They did not appreciate our happy asses intruding on their world, to say the least.

  6. 6
    BerkeleyMom says:

    I just spent a month in Germany including a long visit to Ober Salzburg and the comprehensive Nazi museum there. Just walking down into the underground bunkers gave us all the absolute chills, knowing who else had been in those tunnels. If these re-enacters really are students of history, there is just no way to put on a Nazi uniform and play pretend war and not know what they are representing. Sick.

  7. 7
    Alwhite says:

    Lived in the South for a bit & attended a couple of community 4th of July celebrations that included Civil War re-enactors engaging in skirmishes. it always pissed me off that people would cheer when the gray ‘prevailed’ but never when the blue did. Sometimes a cigar is more than a cigar.

  8. 8
    jl says:

    Cole survives! Good to know.

    However I am tired of these effete elite bicostal inside the beltway West Vriginians (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B.....ton_region) looking down their noses at the Heartlands of the American Fatherland, er, Homeland, like SC Ohio.

    Edit: And notice that the effete elitist Cole brags about fancy mustard and lettuces on the front page of his liberal blog.

    Editedit: I assume of course that all of WV is damned by the loss of those three eastern counties, Hampshire and Jefferson(?) and whatever the other one is. But the rest of the state is supping with the Devil, with a long spoon is all, is what I saying here. Also, too.

  9. 9

    Here’s a great idea for an ad. A dark background and a voiceover saying “The Tea Party claims that they’re not just another group of Republicans, and they’re right. They’re worse, they’re Nazis” and then show a picture of Iott in his SS officer’s uniform.

    And if he tries that “we’re just re-enacting the exploits of the 5th SS Panzer Division” defense just point out these exploits.

    Members of the division’s bakery column, led by Obersturmführer Braunnagel and Untersturmführer Kochalty, assisted Einsatzgruppe A in rounding up Ukrainian Jews. Witnesses report that the Jewish victims were forced to run a gauntlet formed by soldiers who would beat them as they passed, and when they reached the end of the gauntlet, Einsatzgruppen officers murdered them and their bodies were pushed into a bomb crater. The German 1st Mountain Division is also suspected of being implicated. Between 50 and 60 Jews were killed in this manner, as a part of the larger Einsatzgruppe operation which resulted in over 700 murders
    In addition historian Eleonore Lappin from the Institute for the History of Jews in Austria has documented several cases of war crimes committed by members of the 5 SS Division Wiking in her work The Death Marches of Hungarian Jews Through Austria in the Spring of 1945.
    __
    On March 28, 1945, eighty Jews from evacuation column, though fit for the journey, were shot by three members of the Waffen SS division Wiking and five military policemen. On April 4, twenty members of another column that left Graz tried to escape near Eggenfeld, not far from Gratkorn. Soldiers from the 5 SS Division Wiking that were temporarily stationed there apprehended them in the forest near Mt. Eggenfeld and then herded them in a gully, where they were shot. On April 7 and 11, 1945 members of the division executed another eighteen escaped prisoners.

    This guy is a sick fucking bastard.

  10. 10
    General Stuck says:

    @Alwhite:

    “We cannot change the hearts and minds of those people of the South, but we can make war so terrible … [and] make them so sick of war that generations would pass away before they would again appeal to it”

    William Tecumseh Sherman

    Whilst on his hike to the Savannah beach.

  11. 11
    JPL says:

    Personally, I don’t really have a problem with people playing dress up and doing war re-enactments. I think the way they seem to have romanticized it is ahistorical and creepy, but in a country where people openly celebrate the Confederacy, it is kind of hard to get worked up about some jackass play-acting as a Nazi.
    John, Although I understand your point, I still disagree with you. The Wikings slaughtered Jews under the premise that they were promoting personal freedom. It’s not a matter of the Democrats using this information, it’s a matter of standing up to the whackos that want to take over the country.
    Iott needs to dress up in his costume and fly to Germany and walk around parading his nice outfit.

  12. 12
    JenJen says:

    Ha! Just so happened I was reading the Cincinnati Enquirer’s write-up on this this very moment, and I’m shaking my head at the nutters just falling over themselves to acquit this guy in the comments section.

    So, we’ve actually reached a point in our national discourse where you can’t even make fun of some fuckknob who likes to dress up like a Nazi on the weekends without becoming a sworn enemy of the right. I mean… they’re sticking up for pretend Nazis now.

    Not sure that makes Ohio or Cincinnati any different than anywhere else in the country, though. Newspaper comment sections are universally loathsome, and depressing.

    ETA: Oh, and as far as the OP is concerned, this character is from Toledo, the northwest part of the state, not even the hotbed of junior-neo-fascism that I’m usually referring to down here by the Ohio River. While watching Maher last night I almost fell over when they said he was a Toledo guy.

  13. 13
    Brachiator says:

    Holy Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS! I guess you could argue that this is like playing a video game where you play the part of the Germans, or the Taliban. But what the fuck, the Democrats should run with this for all it’s worth.

    Tea baggin for Amerikkka.

  14. 14
    stuckinred says:

    @General Stuck: Headed there in the morning!

  15. 15
    dr. luba says:

    Election-related but a bit OT: What do West Virginians think of the “Hicky” ad, and the new Manchin ad?

  16. 16
    lamh32 says:

    Personally, I don’t really have a problem with people playing dress up and doing war re-enactments. I think the way they seem to have romanticized it is ahistorical and creepy, but in a country where people openly celebrate the Confederacy, it is kind of hard to get worked up about some jackass play-acting as a Nazi.

    Okay, can’t agree with ya there buddy. As an African American, obviously, I ain’t much of a fan of Confederacy reinactments. Let’s forget for a moment why I believe the Civil War was fought (slavery…duh).

    Let’s instead think about what “character” I would be designated to play during the re-enactment. Hmmh, African American female…? Yeah, I’m not liking what I’m imagining.

    Oh well John “you do you”. I ain’t mad at cha, I’ll just gonna let ya use the “cool white dude” card I gave ya from last Thursday.

    :D

  17. 17
    General Stuck says:

    @stuckinred:

    Say Hi! to Uncle Billy, if you see him roaming around.

  18. 18
    stickler says:

    Gen. Stuck:

    Sherman is good for a whole passel of really good quotes on War and the South in general. After he ordered the evacuation of the population of Atlanta, the grand civic leaders protested on humanitarian grounds. Part of his response:

    You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace. But you cannot have peace and a division of our country. If the United States submits to a division now, it will not stop, but will go on until we reap the fate of Mexico, which is eternal war. The United States does and must assert its authority, wherever it once had power; for, if it relaxes one bit to pressure, it is gone, and I believe that such is the national feeling. This feeling assumes various shapes, but always comes back to that of Union. Once admit the Union, once more acknowledge the authority of the national Government, and, instead of devoting your houses and streets and roads to the dread uses of war, I and this army become at once your protectors and supporters, shielding you from danger, let it come from what quarter it may. I know that a few individuals cannot resist a torrent of error and passion, such as swept the South into rebellion, but you can point out, so that we may know those who desire a government, and those who insist on war and its desolation.
    (…) You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop the war, which can only be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride. (…) We don’t want your Negroes, or your horses, or your lands, or any thing you have, but we do want and will have a just obedience to the laws of the United States. That we will have, and if it involved the destruction of your improvements, we cannot help it. (…) You have heretofore read public sentiment in your newspapers, that live by falsehood and excitement; and the quicker you seek for truth in other quarters, the better. I repeat then that, bu the original compact of government, the United States had certain rights in Georgia, which have never been relinquished and never will be; that the South began the war by seizing forts, arsenals, mints, custom-houses, etc., etc., long before Mr. Lincoln was installed, and before the South had one jot or title of provocation. I myself have seen in Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi, hundreds and thousands of women and children fleeing from your armies and desperadoes, hungry and with bleeding feet. In Memphis, Vicksburg, and Mississippi, we fed thousands and thousands of the families of rebel soldiers left on our hands, and whom we could not see starve. Now that war comes to you, you feel very different. You deprecate its horrors, but did not feel them when you sent car-loads of soldiers and ammunition, and moulded shells and shot, to carry war into Kentucky and Tennessee, to desolate the homes of hundreds and thousands of good people who only asked to live in peace at their old homes, and under the Government of their inheritance. But these comparisons are idle. I want peace, and believe it can only be reached through union and war, and I will ever conduct war with a view to perfect an early success.

    And then he burned the place down. See also “Sherman’s neckties,” a way of both decorating the landscape and destroying transportation infrastructure.

    (edit: bold didn’t show up.) Note well the bolded bit: anyone else notice the parallel to the epistemic closure on the right today? (so here it is: “You have heretofore read public sentiment in your newspapers, that live by falsehood and excitement; and the quicker you seek for truth in other quarters, the better.”)

  19. 19
    Nethead Jay says:

    Wow. Being photographed in actual Nazi gear has to be the stupidest thing yet done by a candidate this season (though the Art Robinson-Maddow interview the other day comes close). WTF was this guy thinking?

    On the other hand, just got linked to a truly despicable post by Bryan Fischer of the AFA. Not trying to re-ignite the firefighter wars but check this out: Firefighters did the Christian thing in letting house burn to the ground.

  20. 20
    JenJen says:

    I can see the ad now:

    “It’s true. I am a Pretend Dress-Up Nazi. But you know what else I am? I’m you.”

  21. 21
    Cermet says:

    Sorry, but this is in no way the same as civil war enactors – many people are descended from soldiers from the civil war – it is our history.

    Also, the vast majority of CSA soldiers were enlisted/NCO’s and did not own slaves and were fighting for their States feeling they were defending their homes (I give no pass for most CSA officers and especially not for the ass licking Lee the worst traitor we have ever had – that pig should have been executed for his war crimes (the crater battle that as commanding officer, he was responsible and fully knew of the murder of so many black Union soldiers in cold blood.)

    NAZI’s killed vast numbers of American soldiers and there are many WWII soldiers still living as well as many victims of the SS. This is not play acting, this is hero worship in the worst way – this teabagger isn’t playing NAZI he is dreaming of being one!

  22. 22
    SoINeedAName says:

    “I’m not a Nazi. I’m you!”

    Oh, wait a second … that’s O’Donnell’s campaign slogan isn’t it?

    OK, how about: “SS We Can” … or … “I Like Reich” … or … “The few. The Proud. The Morons.”

  23. 23
    General Stuck says:

    @stickler:

    And they thought he was crazy before the war, saying it would be a long and very bloody affair. I always liked his quote about his friendship with Grant, that he keeps me sane, and I keep him sober.

  24. 24
    stickler says:

    Oh. And anyone who dresses up as a freaking SS “soldier” in his spare time is either:

    a) a damned fool who should have no role to play in our public life and really shouldn’t have the right to drive or find unpaid female companionship

    or

    b) a Nazi in all but membership-card-possession. And I’ll bet not a few even have those in their back pockets already.

    The SS, including the Waffen-SS, had some damned snappy uniforms (designed by Hugo Boss!), but that is really about the extent of their positive attributes. Everything else is actively awful.

  25. 25
    Mike in NC says:

    Years ago I knew a bunch of guys who were deeply into Civil War reenacting. They’d often be willing to don either blue or gray, depending on the ‘needs’ of the event. A great book on the subject is called “Confederates in the Attic”. I always thought they’d have more fun if every fifth reenactor was allowed to use live ammo.

    Today there are reenactor groups for just about every period: Ancient Rome, both World Wars, and even Vietnam. A friend who was once approached about joining a WW2 German unit had parents who fled Poland in 1939. He said “There’s no way I’m going to wear a fucking Swastika!”

  26. 26
    Gravenstone says:

    In the (limited) defense of those who re-enact the Confederacy, they have counterparts who re-enact the Union to fake battle against. I can’t say I’m aware of too many folks who re-enact many, if any of the Allied forces for these erstwhile faux Nazis to tilt against. So yeah, I’m gonna go with creepy adulation of inhuman monsters.

  27. 27
    El Cid says:

    I don’t see what’s so weird about this. Me & my friends get together on weekends and dress up as famous serial killers and re-enact some of the most famous grisly murders. We’re really good on the historical detail and simulations of the blood and organ loss.

    What?

  28. 28
    El Cid says:

    Look, I don’t do any of the Nazi dressing up, but I do have a lot of money each year in the Fascist Fantasy League.

  29. 29
  30. 30
    eemom says:

    @Cermet:

    Sorry, but this is in no way the same as civil war enactors

    I agree.

    And I don’t understand why people have so much trouble acknowledging the unique evil of Naziism, and just laying off the fucking comparisons.

  31. 31
    4tehlulz says:

    The lesson I’ve learned about this is that I need to keep pictures of my reenactment of the Lidice massacre off the Internet.

    (theoretically speaking, of course, not that I would ever endorse such a thing, cuz Lidice was bad)

  32. 32
    Karen says:

    @John,

    Personally, I don’t really have a problem with people playing dress up and doing war re-enactments. I think the way they seem to have romanticized it is ahistorical and creepy, but in a country where people openly celebrate the Confederacy, it is kind of hard to get worked up about some jackass play-acting as a Nazi.

    You see it as equal?

    Maybe being Jewish makes me biased but I don’t see it that way. Civil War re-enactments are the North vs South. The issue may have been slavery but it wasn’t a fight to slaughter a whole ethnicity.

    Nazis killed not only Jews but Gypsies, gays, the disabled, other religious groups. It wasn’t the spoils of war, it was extermination.

    Please tell me if I’m seeing it wrong but I don’t equate them at all.

  33. 33
    JenJen says:

    @General Stuck: Apropos of nothing, and all things considered, Stuck, what did you think of our Reds last night? :-(

  34. 34
    MikeJ says:

    @eemom: Sadly, NAzis were in no way unique. Enslaving people in Africa, chaining them below decks without minimal access to water and working the survivors to death doesn’t really put the traitors from the US south up on the Germans.

  35. 35
    eemom says:

    @Karen:

    I agree with you too, and I’m not Jewish.

  36. 36
    David says:

    Perhaps he’s in the chorus of Springtime for Hitler.

    Do you suppose they take turns invading each other? What other costumes are involved? French farm boy? Milkmaid? Wetsuits?

  37. 37
    Martin says:

    @El Cid: Rookie. Call me when you’re ready to join our Donner Party and Uruguayan Rugby team re-enactments.

  38. 38
    Bella Q says:

    @JPL: I wish he’d go play dress up auf Deustchland, where such attire would get him arrested. I read our local (Cinti Enquirer) story, but knew the comment section would be bad for my blood pressure, so I skipped those.

    Though Jenjen may recall my personal favorite ever Enquirer reader comment. It was when Krikorian alleged an Oil of Olay conspiracy to get air time and extra votes for Surya Yalamanchili in the primary because there was an Oil of Olay ad on Olbermann the night he ran a story about Krikorian saying “nobody can get elected in SW OH with a name like Yalamanchili.” Who had been a P&G brand guy. One of the commenters said:

    What a crock – everybody knows it’s the Bounty Paper Towel group that has all the political juice.

    I laughed for days when I thought about that, for no real good reason.

  39. 39

    Just another case of reality imitating The Onion.

  40. 40
    El Cid says:

    @Martin: Not coming up. My group is scheduled for two sequential weekends, the first doing the Rwandan Interahamwe machete chopping up people hiding in a church, and then the following weekend we’re doing our Khmer Rouge re-enactment driving the educated out into the rice paddies and then creating a pyramid of skulls out of marzipan.

  41. 41
    Martin says:

    @Karen: The only reason it wasn’t a greater slaughter of blacks in the south is because they were given a purpose. The mindset and willingness to kill what they viewed as ‘sub-human’ are the same.

  42. 42
    trollhattan says:

    Hey, is Bohner stumping for this ReichDouche? Because that’s a tie-in I’d love to see made.

    “Ve vill round up das Orangemann.”

  43. 43
    Mornington Crescent says:

    Next time they could decide to do something in a lighter vein:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMqSmiC_xHg

  44. 44
    Martin says:

    @El Cid: Heh. Aren’t we the PC hippies?

    I was just reminded of one of my favorite Sam Bee segments.

  45. 45
    somethingblue says:

    You know who else liked to dress up in a Nazi uniform?

  46. 46
    Mnemosyne says:

    I have to agree with John here — it’s pretty fucking sick to be dressing up as traitors to the US and pretend to fight battles against the federal government already, so I’m not surprised to find that some idiots have taken it a couple of steps further so they can envision themselves as foreign enemies of the US.

    And can we please not play the Victim Olympics where people try to claim that 10 years of outright genocide was worse than 200 years of race-based slavery? Thank you.

  47. 47
    General Stuck says:

    @JenJen:

    I think the Reds are a very young and very talented team that froze some in the spotlight. against the best team in the NL , and well seasoned in post season play. I still love em, no matter.

  48. 48

    Wiking Division, made up of foreign volunteers.

    My study of history has convinced me that Evil always attracts people eager to help, while Good has few friends.

    Wonderful creatures, those humans.

  49. 49
    Cat Lady says:

    @somethingblue:

    Sign of the Wingularity – trying to unGodwin a thread.

  50. 50
    General Stuck says:

    I don’t know, telling thousands of people at a time to strip down for a shower, when you intend to gas them, kind of has the top shelf in the evil department for me. But the fascist ideal of sub human is the same, like Martin said.

  51. 51
    El Cid says:

    @somethingblue:

    You know who else liked to dress up in a Nazi uniform?

    Prince William?

    Jesse James?

  52. 52
    JenJen says:

    @Bella Q: Gotta love a good P&G joke in this town. ;-)

    @General Stuck: I love the Reds to death, always have, always will. We still have Sunday, and I still have faith. A little.

  53. 53

    You see it as equal?
    Maybe being Jewish makes me biased but I don’t see it that way. Civil War re-enactments are the North vs South. The issue may have been slavery but it wasn’t a fight to slaughter a whole ethnicity.
    Nazis killed not only Jews but Gypsies, gays, the disabled, other religious groups. It wasn’t the spoils of war, it was extermination.
    Please tell me if I’m seeing it wrong but I don’t equate them at all.

    I live for these kinds of comments. You see, I’m a black Jew… sorta. My dad is black and my mom is a white jew, which would make me Jewish except for the fact that I’m adopted. My mom is “a reformed Jew” as she calls it. Neither of my parents are religious. However, having been forced to eat gefilte fish at my grandma’s Seder dinners, I’m Jewish enough damnit!

    All of that is to say: this is as offensive as reenacting the Confederacy, IMO. I just don’t buy the whole “we just like reenacting the Civil War” nonsense from southern republicans who come from states that were fighting to keep their slaves.

    And I don’t buy the “but we’re just reenacting the WWII.” How many liberals do you see running around reenacting wars, a central premise of which was the denigration of an entire race/group of people?

    I have had a couple few (hundred) beers, so pardon me if this doesn’t make any sense.

    STEVE HOLT!

  54. 54
    RSR says:

    John: you follow @KagroX, right?

    I thought his question carried more weight than the satire I assume inspired it: Are there a lot of Viet Cong reenactors?

    Civil War and Revolutionary War reenactments make sense as they took place here. People can visit the actual battlefields and experience some token of what happened there and the life as it was when it did. (But even some of those events can get questionable: http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....-its-1859/ )

    Presented in appropriate venues and context, such as at historical societies, and offering examples of uniforms or other military items on display rather than worn or carried, a discussion of Nazis or any military events should be acceptable.

    But WWII did not happen here, and you don’t work at the Renaissance Faire. Do not dress up and play Nazi.

  55. 55
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @General Stuck: I think there is a level of evil that one can reach where measuring and comparing no longer matter. It is like the old story about the primitive tribe who counted in this fashion, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, many.”

  56. 56

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    I studied the Einsastzgruppen, using the reports they sent back to headquarters plus first-hand witness reports.

    Nasty business. Two things they [mostly] did not do: They did not rape and they tried to not bury anyone alive. Everything else you may have heard is probably true.

    Intercourse with untermenchen was most verboten, of course.

    Making sure that folks were dead before they were buried was an effort to make sure that the dead stayed dead for one thing. More efficient that way. It also was the result of an effort by high command to make the campaign as “clean” as possible, so that the soldiers would carry out their orders. A totally revolted soldier is not a trustworthy soldier.

    The high command had problems with this and that is why they switched to gas chambers. The insides of the chambers were out of view and the process was less traumatic for the soldiers.

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    Not to mention that trying to “solve the Jewish problem” with bullets was slow and expensive compared to the clean, modern efficiency of gassing them.

    Plus that way you could sell their clothing, hair, and the gold from their teeth and make some money from their corpses instead of burying all of that valuable merchandise in the ground.

  58. 58
  59. 59
    mr. whipple says:

    Mother dear, did you hear
    How they’re teaching me to do the goose step?

  60. 60
    stickler says:

    Linda Featheringill and Mnemosyne make excellent points. The Einsatzgruppen were a brutal and inefficient method for mass murder, and their work posed serious problems (“externalities?”) for occupied USSR territory — groundwater pollution from mass graves, say.

    But the grand daddy of awful might be this speech by Himmler to SS officers at Posen in 1943:

    http://www.holocaust-history.org/himmler-poznan/

    It includes this incredible sentiment:

    “Most of you will know what it means when 100 bodies lie together, when there are 500, or when there are 1000. And to have seen this through, and — with the exception of human weaknesses — to have remained decent, has made us hard and is a page of glory never mentioned and never to be mentioned.”

    To have seen the bodies piled up, and to have remained “decent” … Good God in heaven.

  61. 61
    General Stuck says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Maybe, but purposeful intense effort to exterminate an entire people is the high bar to meet for such an equilibrium, imho.

  62. 62
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @General Stuck: I can’t argue with that. I just think that parsing degrees of evil once one has hit a certain point doesn’t get us anywhere. Unless, of course, we are Dante and we need to rank folks in order to fit them in the right circle of hell. If we are going to do it though, genocide of millions is way up there.

  63. 63
    Mark S. says:

    WTF? Do Civil War re-enactors get this into it?

    Iott participated in the group under his own name, and also under the alias “Reinhard Pferdmann,” which has also been removed, and which Iott described as being his German alter ego. “Part of the reenactor’s [experience],” Iott said, “is the living-history part, of really trying to get into the persona of the time period. In many, not just in our unit, but in many units what individuals do is create this person largely based on a Germanized version of their name, and a history kind of based around your own real experiences. ‘Reinhard’ of course is ‘Richard’ in German. And ‘Pferdmann,’ ‘pferd’ is a horse. So it’s literally ‘horse man.'”

    It also doesn’t seem like anybody is playing the part of the Soviets, which makes me think these guys just like dressing up as Nazis.

    @Mike in NC:

    Years ago I knew a bunch of guys who were deeply into Civil War reenacting. They’d often be willing to don either blue or gray, depending on the ‘needs’ of the event.

    That’s how I always thought they did it. It’s a little hard when you’re in the role of Reinhard Pferdmann.

  64. 64
    ksmiami says:

    As bad as slavery was in the south… AND IT WAS REALLY EFFIN AWFUL (As was Jim Crow and the white terrorists that enforced it) I have to say that I can at least sort of understand the “myth of the lost cause” and the southern heritage that still romanticizes it. BUT any nut that wears gestapo gear should be dragged through the streets and feathered because what the Nazis did to the world starting with the basques in Spain and continuing to the Ukrainian Jews was about as calculated and evil as humanity can get and we are still recovering from it. This fellow barely deserves citizenship, let alone a public office. What a scumbag and I will blame Ohio forever if they elect this miscreant.

    Dear Americans:

    HAVE YOU LOST YOUR FRIGGIN MINDS??? Vote sane, vote Democrat and things will get better.

  65. 65
    General Stuck says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    agreed

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    JenJen says:

    A much-overlooked part of this story is how the GOP apparently scrubbed the Nazi dress-up candidate from their “Contenders: Young Guns” page.

    He’s 58.

  67. 67
    kdaug says:

    I guess Imma just missin’ out on the funny here. But correct me if I’m wrong – this guy has a greater-than-zero chance at being one of the congressman of the United States, no?

  68. 68
    mclaren says:

    Anyone is entitled to this kind of historical re-creation and I simply do Nazi anything wrong with it. (rim shot)

  69. 69
    Mike in NC says:

    @kdaug:

    I guess Imma just missin’ out on the funny here. But correct me if I’m wrong – this guy has a greater-than-zero chance at being one of the congressman of the United States, no?

    Mentioned it before, but the Repubs are running a guy named Pantano in my district against a hack good ‘ole boy Blue Dog. Pantano shot some unarmed Iraqi prisoners in the back with a full mag of ammo. That makes him a “war hero” in the local media. Apparently there were no child rapists or serial killers available to put in the race.

  70. 70
    ksmiami says:

    @mclaren:

    Meh – too cute by half… though I guess we always knew that much of Repuke party is made up of fat effing fascists.So now that we have proof, what next?

  71. 71
    kdaug says:

    @Mike in NC: Oh, yeah, think I heard about that. That’s the guy who hung the “No better friend, no worse enemy” sign over their corpses, right?

  72. 72
    Lihtox says:

    Yeah, just to reiterate: Iott’s in the Toledo area, NORTHwest Ohio. Granted, we’re only an hour south of Adrian MI where that militia group was picked up a few months ago.

    He got a jumpstart on Kaptur for lawn signs, so I’ve seen
    “RICH IOTT” all over the place; I am constantly tempted to write “ID” in between his names.

  73. 73
    mai naem says:

    Somebody should ask Eric Cantor whether he will endorse this guy? Is he going to go do events for the guy? Is he donating money to his election campaign? Inquiring minds want to know.

  74. 74
    Mo MacArbie says:

    So how exactly does one reenact a tank division?

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  76. 76
    SRW1 says:

    @Mo MacArbie:

    So how exactly does one reenact a tank division?

    Well, you put on the uniform, get in formation, put your lips together and say Vrrrrrooooom. It has to be real loud though.

  77. 77
    celticdragonchick says:

    @JPL:

    I guss this may not be the right thread to mention I’m a Revolutionary War re-enactor??

    In any event, I have little problem with portraying a standard Wehrmact unit soldier for re-enactments, but many of these guys seem to gravitate to Waffen SS…and I do find it creepy and more than a little fetishistic.

    What disturbs me the most and raises red flags is that these guys seem to be trying to sanitize the history of the unit they portray instead of being frank and upfront about the accurate history. That looks more like apologists than dedicated living history enthusiasts.

  78. 78
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Mo MacArbie:

    So how exactly does one reenact a tank division?

    A number of re-enactment outfits for WW II have acquired surplus tanks. A friend of mine in Indiana who does both Civil War and WW II was telling me how he saw a nasty accident with an old Russian T-34 that resulted in some serious burn injuries at one event.

  79. 79
    celticdragonchick says:

    @lamh32:

    Let’s instead think about what “character” I would be designated to play during the re-enactment. Hmmh, African American female…? Yeah, I’m not liking what I’m imagining.

    Underground Railroad conductor would be a cool character and one that would be educational for the public. Living history isn’t just battle engagements, and there are limitless oportunities to portray people from the past in a manner that illuminates them and what they did, and brings them to life for people now.

    My school (Guilford College) is a famous stop on the railroad, btw.

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    asiangrrlMN says:

    @lamh32: I, too, am no fan of the Civil War reenactments, though there weren’t many Asian American women around during that time period in our history.

    I found this story particularly repugnant, especially as noted elsewhere, this asshat would have been arrested in Germany had he worn his get-up. This is not play-acting or whatever. This is idealizing an amoral and vicious group of people who deserve only scorn and antipathy.

    @Martin: I agree with you. Besides, the Confederates enslaved an entire race and decimated it from within by raping the women and selling off the children (for starters). I am not comparing one situation with the other, but they were both heinous.

  82. 82
    Mark S. says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    Really!? You can buy a surplus tank?

    And can I ask, what goes on in re-enactments? Do you pick a battle? Are the same people always the British or Americans? I ask because I thought these guys were weird in making up their own German names (such as Reinhold Horse-Man or whatever it was).

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    Jon H says:

    @General Stuck: “Cincinnati is full of post WW2 old money types, which gives it a certain type of conservatism. When I was living near there back in the late 70’s, me and some buddies would get drunk and head out to crash the Polka parlors on riverboats mostly on the KY side of the Ohio River. Very creepy, everyone dressed up in 40’s gear with bouncers that looked like descendents of Himmler. They did not appreciate our happy asses intruding on their world, to say the least.”

    Way back when there was a canal through the middle of Cinci, which they called the Rhine. Thus the neighborhood still known as ‘Over The Rhine’.

  85. 85
    Jon H says:

    @Mark S.: That’s no tank, that looks like a home-made attempt to build one of Jabba the Hutt’s speeder boat things from Return of the Jedi.

    If you want tanks you have to go to EBay.

    Here’s a post-WW2 British Ferret armored car.

    Lots of big military trucks. No real tanks available at the moment, just a couple of faked-up ones, though one has real treads from an old US tank.

  86. 86
    Ruckus says:

    Study history. I can absolutely see that, there’s quite a bit to learn, if one tries. But reenact war? War is brutal, war is inhuman(not that we’ve let that stop us), war is not just death, it is also maiming and life altering for a very large percentage of the participants and spectators. War should be studied to see how not to have to do it, not to see how glorious it never, ever is. I do not understand how one learns this from reenacting battles without the bleeding. So what does one learn from reenacting?
    How much fun wars are?
    Wars are grave inhuman atrocities that sometimes have to be fought to keep them from being bigger and worse than they end up. Nothing more.

  87. 87

    if there was to be a resurgent Nazism to emerge in the United States, SE and South Central Ohio is a pretty good guess as to where it would happen. Marge Schott wasn’t the only one living there.

    Just wanted to point out that Mr. Iott is running in the 9th District in Ohio, which is Toledo, which is NW Ohio, not SE or South Central. Toledo itself has been a Democratic stronghold for a long time; they’ve had one GOP Congressperson there for one term in the 1980’s, but before and after it’s been Democrats. It also has a large multicultural population, including Muslims, and just south of Toledo (in another district) is the Islamic Center of NW Ohio, one of the largest mosques in the country.

    That said, having grown up there, you don’t have to get too far out of town before you run into the sentiment that dressing up like Hitler is just part of Oktoberfest at the beer hall.

  88. 88
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    @Mustang Bobby: A friend owns a tank and is part of a group that reenacts the Battle of the Bulge — the next one will be January 2011 in Pennsylvania. He has a saying — friends don’t let friends reenact the SS.

  89. 89
    eemom says:

    @Ruckus:

    Well said, and you are absolutely right. That should be all there is to say.

  90. 90
    russell says:

    My favorite bit from the whole article is Iott’s explanation of his nom-de-Nazi:

    ‘Reinhard’ of course is ‘Richard’ in German. And ‘Pferdmann,’ ‘pferd’ is a horse. So it’s literally ‘horse man.’

    “Richard” in German, is, of course, “Richard”.

    What a dumb-ass.

    “Literally horse man” is, of course, comedy gold.

    Stuff like this is just so deeply and profoundly fucked up that I can’t even get upset about it. The dude is in some other moral universe that I don’t even want to try to understand.

    It’d be like getting all outraged about Mafiosi bumping somebody off. Duh – it’s what they do. Mafiosi kill their business rivals, and punk-ass authoritarian fascist wanna-be’s dress up like Nazis, collect Nazi memorabilia, and look for the positive spin in Mein Kampf.

    The most disturbing thing of all of this, to me, is that I don’t know if it would hurt Iott or help him if the Democrats put this crap front and center.

  91. 91
    Stefan says:

    Members of the division’s bakery column, led by Obersturmführer Braunnagel and Untersturmführer Kochalty, assisted Einsatzgruppe A in rounding up Ukrainian Jews.

    Seriously, the bakery column? Makes you wonder what horrors the division’s baristas were up to…..

  92. 92
    Stefan says:

    Maybe being Jewish makes me biased but I don’t see it that way. Civil War re-enactments are the North vs South. The issue may have been slavery but it wasn’t a fight to slaughter a whole ethnicity.

    No, it was just a fight to for the right to continue to kidnap, enslave, rape, torture and exploit a whole ethnicity. Which may not be as bad as slaughtering them all, but still…c’mon. As bad things go, it’s pretty far out there.

  93. 93
    dadanarchist says:

    The most fucked data point is that, as celticdragonchick pointed out, they weren’t play acting at the poor Fritzes drafted into the Wehrmacht but chose the Waffen SS, an all-volunteer unit. Hardly coincidental.

  94. 94
    Stefan says:

    I do have some sympathy for this since my friends and I re-enact the Army unit that was guarding the Abu Ghraib prisoners in 2003. I play Lyndie England. (we are having some problem finding fellow re-enactors to play the prisoners, though, so if people have some time on their hands on weekends and don’t mind being piled in naked pyramids and photographed….) Our interest is purely historical and we don’t subscribe to the tenets of the Republican Party. In fact, there’s a disclaimer on our website. It’s purely historical interest in the Iraq War……

  95. 95
    Sock Puppet of the Great Satan says:

    “Really!? You can buy a surplus tank?”

    A used tank costs about the same as a new family car, depending on scarcity.

    Anybody in the SF Bay Area should check out the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation in Portola Valley. They have about 100 tanks and two SCUD missiles.

  96. 96
    socraticsilence says:

    @Cermet:

    I get what you’re saying and I’d agree the Nazi’s haven’t had as good a publicists as Confederates but in fairness Confederates killed more Americans in uniform than did the Nazi’s.

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