U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton
has been getting heavy social media abuse for a crack about socialism, part of the unhinged Republican reaction to a new member of Congress. Think Progress reports:

Some conservatives have gone bananas over everything connected with popular freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

The latest instance of this came on Friday — one day after Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) unveiled their resolution for a Green New Deal. Sen. Tom Cotton (R), the 41-year-old politician from Arkansas, took to twitter to voice his opinions on the ambitious climate plan.

He wrote: “The Democrats’ ‘Green New Deal’ brings to mind an insight from Churchill: Socialism may begin with the best of intensions, but it always ends with the Gestapo.”

Cotton is just engaging in familiar Republican branding. AOC is a democratic socialist — think Sweden — but invoking the dread word socialism and then painting all Democrats with it is political catnip for Repubs.


Some context is in order for Cotton’s crack, however.

CNN anchor and correspondent Bill Weir tweeted that Cotton had some “Missing context, Senator: Churchill gave the infamous ‘Gestapo Speech’ while running against Labor in ’45.” The result Weir notes, is that “He got crushed and despite his warnings, the left gave Britain the National Health Service but Prince Harry did dress up as a Nazi for Halloween that one time.”

Britain still has its National Health Service 73 years later and, though it is stretched, no one wants to get rid of it. Coton got piled on all over.


Cotton’s claim was so nonsensical that even tennis great, and former Czechoslovak, Martina Navratilova felt compelled to weigh in with multiple tweets

“Funny how you are so quick to compare socialism with Hitler,” she wrote, “when in fact Hitler and the Gestapo have a lot more in common with you and Trump than it ever did with Sweden, Denmark, Holland etc… get a clue!!! Not seeing any Gestapo like situation anywhere in Europe.”

As Think Progress notes, Churchill’s words are more suitable to the need for decisive action to deal with the climate crisis. But Cotton and Trump and Republicans are in thrall to the carbon titans and thus they brand the Green New Deal as socialism, a one-word pacifier for their base. The proposal is, among others, an economic stimulus program to encourage the development of alternative energy sources.  It has many parts and, in classic GOP fashion, the attack strategy is to single out and make a caricature of one or another facet of it. Thus a lot of misleading talk about cow farts.

Here’s the thing, whether Cotton likes it or not. Climate change is having a real impact on the globe. More and more people are concerned about it. The issue had proven resonance in the Democratic takeover of the House majority. Invoking the Gestapo and cow farts might work some places — Arkansas, alas, comes to mind in the short term — but the arc of science bends toward the need for a greener planet.