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Moseley Braun's Hitler Comment Falls Flat

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Moseley Braun's Hitler Comment Falls Flat
Moseley Braun's Hitler Comment Falls Flat

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CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 29: Former U.S. senator and current Chicago mayoral candidate Carol Moseley Braun greets supporters following a press conference at her campaign headquarters December 29, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. Braun used the press conference to unveil her public safety plan for the city which included replacing the city's current superintendent of police Jody Weis. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

It’s true that Carol Moseley Braun was the black community’s consensus candidate.

But it wasn’t because she had the highest name recognition, or the most fundraising ability. It was because Rep. Danny Davis and state Sen. James Meeks decided, “Carol’s political career is dead. Let her take the fall against Rahm Emanuel.”

Moseley Braun is getting almost no support from black politicians who see Emanuel’s mayoralty as a fait accompli, and don’t want to get on Barack Obama’s bad side. Ald. Walter Burnett, who led the committee that chose Moseley Braun, is refusing to endorse a candidate. Bobby Rush gave Moseley Braun $25,000, but Rush doesn’t care about getting on Obama’s bad side. Obama got on Rush’s bad side back in 2000, and Rush walked away with the title of only man ever to beat Barack in an election.

“Some prominent African-American business people stepped up, John Rogers and Elzie Higginbotttom among them, and wrote sizable checks,” Carol Marin wrote in the Sun-Times. “But the black business community seemed to lack its own consensus. Braun has barely collected half a million dollars. Other local politicians? The next closest support comes from two white guys: Adlai Stevenson, the former U.S. senator, and Blair Hull, who failed in 2004 to become a U.S. senator.”

Even the preachers have deserted Moseley Braun. On Sunday, Rahm Emanuel, Miguel del Valle and Gery Chico all campaigned in black churches. Moseley Braun’s big event was a rally with Cornel West, an African-American scholar imported from Princeton University. Last week, a caller to the Smiley & West radio show tried to school Brother Cornel on his ignorance of Chicago politics. Said South Sider Gersh Meyer:

Well first of all, it almost knocked me out of my chair when I heard Dr. West talk about Carol Moseley-Braun as the candidate of conscience or… I forget the exact terminology that was used. I voted for Carol Moseley-Braun the first time she went into the Illinois State Legislature. And I voted for her when she ran for Senate. And I thought that she had a shot at being the first black woman president of the United States. But I think she really fouled her own nest with that whole episode and she hasn’t shown a whole lot since.

At the rally with West, Moseley Braun made her unfortunate comparison between the efforts of Rahm Emanuel’s admen to make him sound like a nice guy and the ravings of Franz Liebkind, a character in the movie The Producers. When Franz, author of the play “Springtime for Hitler,” sees Hitler portrayed as a fey, addled hippie, he drops the curtain and tells the audience the play is a slander on his beloved Fuhrer.

“The Fuhrer has never said this ‘baby’,” Franz shouts. “The Fuhrer was sweet, the Fuhrer was kind, the Fuhrer was good!”

Here's Moseley Braun's "joke," according to the Chicago News Cooperative.

She said Emanuel’s “so kind, so nice’’ image in his campaign commercials belied his record as a congressman of voting against 128 bills sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus and reminded her of the character in “The Producers,” who was “still in love with the Furher, which was Adolf Hitler,’’ she said.

She paused, waiting for the laughter.

It did not come.

“You don’t get the joke,’’ she said. “OK. We get the kind man, the gentle man on television and not the person who voted against $5 million for food aid to Africa.’’

That’s not exactly comparing Emanuel to Hitler, but it’s as tasteless as The Producers itself. (Why any politician would want to emulate Hitler is mystifying. The guy lost World War II.)

“I was not comparing [Emanuel] to Adolf Hitler; print that,” Moseley Braun said after the event. “I was trying to say...the kind, gentle concern for the public that is being portrayed in these ads does not square with the record.”

It’s another example of why the black community has left Moseley Braun to fend for herself. 

Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!

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