It all began innocently enough when, in his weekly radio address, Maine Governor Paul LePage compared the Internal Revenue Service to the Gestapo, saying, "We the people have been told there is no choice, you must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo — the IRS."
As a Jew raised with stories of Nazi atrocities, as passed down by relatives who had personal experience with World War II in Europe, I was heartened by LePage's fanning of the historical flame. The plan by Nazi Germany's secret police to round up Jews, gays and political opponents, hand them health insurance cards and provide them with subsidized coverage is surely one of the 20th century's lesser known atrocities, but LePage is right that we must never forget.
Unfortunately, LePage couldn't leave well enough alone and offered clarification of his original remarks…
Said LePage: "What I am trying to say is the Holocaust was a horrific crime against humanity and, frankly, I would never want to see that repeated. Maybe the IRS is not quite as bad — yet."
A reporter asked, "But they're headed in that direction?"
LePage responded, "They're headed in that direction."
The governor was then asked if he thought the IRS was going to kill a lot of people like the Nazis and he responded, "Yeah."
Apparently, that wasn't good enough for some people. So today, LePage formally apologized. "Millions of innocent people were murdered and I apologize for my insensitivity to the word and the offense some took to my comparison of the IRS and the Gestapo," he said in another radio address. There. He's sorry you were offended.
Photo by Diane Bondareff/NBC — NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images
Tags: Health Care, IRS, Jewish, Maine, Nazis, Paul LePage