John Boehner To Appear With Candidate Who Likes To Wear SS Uniforms

Add this to the list of things you really shouldn’t be doing the weekend before Election Day:

I’d thought Richard Iott had been put out to pasture after news broke that his main hobby was Nazi reenacting. After that Rep. Eric Cantor (R) denounced him. And then everything pretty much went down hill from there when he started saying that he didn’t think we were in a position to judge the SS soldiers who did all the cool stuff on the Eastern Front.

But apparently Iott is out of the dog House. And back in John Boehner’s House.

This Saturday John Boehner is going to appear at a special pre-election rally with Iott in Toledo.

From the Iott campaign website …

RALLY WITH LEADER BOEHNER

Oct 30, 2010
When: Saturday, October 30th 8:30 am – 9:00 am

Where: Lucas County GOP Victory Center, 10 S. Superior St, Toledo

Calling all Iott Volunteers! Please join us for this very special pre-election rally with House Minority Leader, John Boehner. What a great way to start off our pre-election weekend. Please wear any Iott gear you may have! Should you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to call 419.324.[xxxx]

I don’t surprise easily. But who exactly told Boehner or someone on Boehner’s staff this would be a good move on the weekend before election day?

File this under “Incredibly Stupid Things Politicians Do”

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Michael says:

    No one cares Doug. You have what appears to be a non-partisan blog…but it is antyhing but….buth then again no one cares.

  2. Michael,

    From where did you get the idea that I am claiming to be “non-partisan” ?

  3. John Peabody says:

    Ah, I miss the old Doug…. on his own site, he would have filed this under the tag “dumbasses”. And quite right, too!

    Condensing hours of cable blather into the single word “dumbass” was the greatest thing at BelowtheBeltway.com.

    C’mon, Doug… call it!

  4. Perhaps I need to do that John.

    Boehner is a dumbass.

    Iott ? I’m not quite sure what word best describes a guy who likes to dress up like an SS officer.

  5. sam says:

    Well, this isn’t surprising at all, nor should it be to anyone. (I’m trying to imagine the conversation in the cloakroom):

    Boehner, Cantor take different approaches on Nazi reenactor:

    In a departure from House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is planning to campaign with GOP House candidate Rich Iott despite the controversy over his Nazi-reenactment hobby.

    The two leaders have charted separate paths with regard to the controversy since photos of Iott dressed in Nazi garb surfaced on the internet earlier in October.

    Boehner will attend an event supporting Iott in Ohio on Saturday, but Cantor has denounced Iott.

    Iott was removed from the GOP’s Young Guns program over his hobby, but Boehner still backs his campaign.

    Cantor, during a recent appearance on Fox News, responded to Democrats’ criticism of Iott by condemning him and his reenactment activities.

    Referring to fellow Fox guest Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Cantor said, “She knows that I would absolutely repudiate [Nazi reenactments] and do not support an individual that would do something like that … You know good and well that I don’t support anything like that.”

  6. ptfe says:

    “Please wear any Iott gear you may have!” Copywriter humor.

  7. Vast Variety says:

    I honestly still don’t understand the issue with this guy doing WWII reenactments. It’s no different that the guys who dress up as Confederates for Civil War Reenactments. He isn’t glorifying what the SS did in the holocaust.

  8. reid says:

    VV, do some googling on it. I didn’t pay much attention, but apparently he’s also said some things that were positive about the SS. I don’t know how much to read into the comments, but it certainly wasn’t smart to say.

  9. mantis says:

    I honestly still don’t understand the issue with this guy doing WWII reenactments.

    He belongs to a group that reveres the Waffen SS. That’s really creepy, dude.

    He isn’t glorifying what the SS did in the holocaust.

    No, they just kind of ignore the holocaust, but they are certainly glorifying what the SS did in the war.

    Iott says the group chose the Wiking division in part because it fought on the Eastern Front, mainly against the Russian Army, and not U.S. or British soldiers. The group’s website includes a lengthy history of the Wiking unit, a recruitment video, and footage of goose-stepping German soldiers marching in the Warsaw victory parade after Poland fell in 1939. The website makes scant mention of the atrocities committed by the Waffen SS, and includes only a glancing reference to the “twisted” nature of Nazism. Instead, it emphasizes how the Wiking unit fought Bolshevist Communism:

    Nazi Germany had no problem in recruiting the multitudes of volunteers willing to lay down their lives to ensure a “New and Free Europe”, free of the threat of Communism. National Socialism was seen by many in Holland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and other eastern European and Balkan countries as the protector of personal freedom and their very way of life, despite the true underlying totalitarian (and quite twisted, in most cases) nature of the movement. Regardless, thousands upon thousands of valiant men died defending their respective countries in the name of a better tomorrow. We salute these idealists; no matter how unsavory the Nazi government was, the front-line soldiers of the Waffen-SS (in particular the foreign volunteers) gave their lives for their loved ones and a basic desire to be free.

    Historians of Nazi Germany vehemently dispute this characterization. “These guys don’t know their history,” said Charles W. Sydnor, Jr., a retired history professor and author of “Soldiers of Destruction: The SS Death’s Head Division, 1933-45,” which chronicles an SS division. “They have a sanitized, romanticized view of what occurred.” Sydnor added that re-enactments like the Wiking group’s are illegal in Germany and Austria. “If you were to put on an SS uniform in Germany today, you’d be arrested.”

    Still don’t understand why some people might have a problem with this?

  10. Vast Variety says:

    “Still don’t understand why some people might have a problem with this?”

    Yes

    Ever play a computer war game based on WWII and play the German Side? If so, by your description, then your in support of what the Nazi’s did.

  11. mantis says:

    Ever play a computer war game based on WWII and play the German Side? If so, by your description, then your in support of what the Nazi’s did.

    Apparently you didn’t read what I wrote, because getting together on the weekend with a group of people who devote a lot of time and energy into pretending to be Nazis, who they explicitly “salute” as “valiant men” and “idealists” who just wanted to be free, is a lot different than playing a video game. If I fire up Call of Duty on my computer, I am not putting on a Nazi uniform and joining a group of people who glorify a Waffen SS division.

    If you don’t see the difference between the two, you’re a moron.

  12. Vast Variety says:

    As a teenager Every other Tuesday night me and a group of friends would get together and use miniatures to recreate battles from WWII. Part of that process is reading about and learning about the units and what they did in the war.

    There is also a group of civil war reenactors in town who several times a year get together and put on a display at the county fair grounds, sometimes the elementary schools even make a field trip out of it, which isn’t much different that what Richard Iott is doing, the difference being which war it was.

  13. mantis says:

    Part of that process is reading about and learning about the units and what they did in the war.

    Did you also put stuff up on the internet about how great you thought the Nazi soldiers were?

    There is also a group of civil war reenactors in town who several times a year get together and put on a display at the county fair grounds, sometimes the elementary schools even make a field trip out of it, which isn’t much different that what Richard Iott is doing, the difference being which war it was.

    I think people who revere the Confederate Army and spend a great deal of time pretending to be part of it are just as creepy, and would never vote for one of them. Which war it is does make a difference, however, as there are still people alive who survived the Holocaust and fought in WWII, so dressing up as a Nazi and talking about how great those Nazi soldiers were is all the more distasteful as a result.

    Thanks for your steadfast defense of people who glorify the actions of some of the worst scum to ever walk the Earth. It’s been illuminating.

  14. Vast Variety says:

    “Did you also put stuff up on the internet about how great you thought the Nazi soldiers were?”

    Since we are talking about the late 80’s and early 90’s that would have been rather difficult. Had the internet been available to me in rural Iowa at the time I would have more than gladly posted images from the battles we played out and discussed things like tactics, armor, and what it was like to fight in the war. It’s all part of learning about the history.

    “Thanks for your steadfast defense of people who glorify the actions of some of the worst scum to ever walk the Earth. It’s been illuminating.”

    Dressing up in the uniforms of WWII combatants to get an understanding of what it was like to participate in the war and to understand history is not glorifying the vile actions of the Holocaust.

  15. mantis says:

    Had the internet been available to me in rural Iowa at the time I would have more than gladly posted images from the battles we played out and discussed things like tactics, armor, and what it was like to fight in the war. It’s all part of learning about the history.

    That’s not what I asked.

    Dressing up in the uniforms of WWII combatants to get an understanding of what it was like to participate in the war and to understand history is not glorifying the vile actions of the Holocaust.

    Come on, stupid. Scroll up and read what they put on their website, since you obviously didn’t bother to before. Tell me they are not glorifying the soldiers of the Waffen SS. Here, I’ll make it easy for you:

    thousands upon thousands of valiant men died defending their respective countries in the name of a better tomorrow. We salute these idealists; no matter how unsavory the Nazi government was, the front-line soldiers of the Waffen-SS (in particular the foreign volunteers) gave their lives for their loved ones and a basic desire to be free.

    They don’t just want to understand history. They revere those Nazis. That’s just sick.

  16. Vast Variety says:

    That statement in no way glorifies the holocaust it is a very factual statement. Even soldiers on the loosing side of a war are making the ultimate sacrifice for their country and they should be remembered for that, and no that doesn’t mean we forget about the evils that some of the committed.

  17. mantis says:

    That statement in no way glorifies the holocaust it is a very factual statement.

    And I never said it did. Nice strawman.

    Even soldiers on the loosing side of a war are making the ultimate sacrifice for their country and they should be remembered for that, and no that doesn’t mean we forget about the evils that some of the committed.

    Some of them? So these were the good Nazis? Tell it to the Hungarian Jews these fine patriotic men of the Wiking division slaughtered when they already knew the war was lost.

    This evacuation column had been heavily decimated even before departing on March 28, 1945, since eighty Jews, even though fit for the journey, had been shot by three members of the Waffen-SS “Wiking” division and five military policemen. On orders from their unit commander Alfred Weber, the boys from the Hitler Youth who had been assigned to guard the Jews after the SA men previously guarding them had fled, brought the victims from the camp and handed them over to their murderers. Together with men from the Waffen-SS, members of the Hitler Youth were also assigned to escort the column. During the march they murdered more exhausted prisoners. On the first day, the evacuation column traveled over minor roads through St. Kathrein, Kohfidisch, Kirchfidisch, and Mischendorf to Jabing. From there it continued on the following day to Rotenturm a. d. Pinka, Oberdorf, Litzelsdorf, Wolfau, and Hartberg. In Sebersdorf, the Hitler Youth handed over the column to members of the Volkssturm, who then took it on to Gleisdorf, presumably via Ilz and Gnies.89 The men from the “Wiking” division most probably accompanied the evacuation transport to Graz.90

    Another column of some 4-5,000 prisoners assembled in Rechnitz was marched via Hartberg and Grosspesendorf to Gleisdorf.91 Numerous prisoners escaped during this stretch of the march. In the small Styrian village of Kalch, at least fourteen Jews were hidden by villagers and rescued.92 In the vicinity of Prebensdorf, the Volkssturm, on orders from the local Kreis party leadership, pursued escaped prisoners and tracked down eighteen persons, who were then executed by members of the “Wiking” division men between April 7 and 11, 1945.93

    Other evacuations of varying sizes, though smaller than that of April 4, left Graz at a later date. Thus, some 1,500 persons were marched through Gratwein on April 12, 1945.103 A column of approximately 500 Hungarian Jews is reported to have left Graz for Leoben only on April 26 or 28.104

    In all these evacuations the guard units—made up of Gestapo and SS men, police, and members of the Volkssturm—murdered numerous exhausted prisoners. Some twenty members of the column that left Graz on April 4 attempted to escape near Eggenfeld, not far from Gratkorn. Men from the “Wiking” division temporarily stationed there apprehended them in the forest near Mt. Eggenfeld and then herded them in a gully, where they were shot. One of the “escapees” had hidden in a hayloft but was also discovered by an SS man. He kept the prisoner locked up for two days in a stable and then shot him.

    “The death marches of Hungarian Jews through Austria”

    When you’re done, kiss my ass, you Nazi apologist.

  18. Vast Variety says:

    “When you’re done, kiss my ass, you Nazi apologist.”

    Personal attacks are not really necessary. I am in no way attempting to apologize for the horrors that were caused by Nazi’s. I simply understand that not every solider that wore the uniform was guilty of committing those crimes just like not every solider who wore the Confederate uniform is guilty of rounding up and killing escaped slaves, or that every solider who wore the uniform of the Union Army is guilty of the horrors were committed against the Native Americans.

    Reenactments are about understanding how solders on the field lived, what equipment they used, their vehicles, and tactics, and no it’s not any way meant to gloss over the evils of war, the horrible things that are committed by all sides, in every war that has ever happened and ever will.

  19. Vast Variety says:

    Oh, and just to note, as a gay man who has studied the history of World War II for some time, I’m painfully aware of the events of the holocaust and what the Nazi’s did to people like me. I’m also aware of the fact that when Allied Solders liberated the concentration camps, those who had been incarcerated in those camps becuase they were homosexuals were often not freed and were still considered to be criminals. In fact the Anti-Gay Nazi laws didn’t get repealed in Germany until 1994.

  20. mantis says:

    Personal attacks are not really necessary.

    I take the Nazis personally. They killed members of my family in the camps. You want to tell me how some of them were really good folks. That’s sick. I don’t give a shit if you don’t want me to take that personally.

    I simply understand that not every solider that wore the uniform was guilty of committing those crimes just like not every solider who wore the Confederate uniform is guilty of rounding up and killing escaped slaves, or that every solider who wore the uniform of the Union Army is guilty of the horrors were committed against the Native Americans.

    And what you don’t seem to understand is that this reenactment group glorifies the actions of a specific SS division that committed acts of unconscionable evil, some of which are detailed above. You ignore that.

    no it’s not any way meant to gloss over the evils of war

    Yet that is exactly what they do, as I’ve already pointed out. You can’t defend their words, and you can’t defend the actions of the division they glorify, so you come back with vague notions that war is awful and everyone is culpable. This is exactly what Nazi-apologists and historical revisionists do. And it’s evil, designed to clear the way to perpetrate more evil. You are now a part of that. Congratulations.

    I don’t really care what idiot Nazi-apologists do with their free time, but if they want to be elected to the US Congress, I’ll be damned if I’m not going to oppose them. If you had a conscience, you would too.

  21. Vast Variety says:

    “I’ll be damned if I’m not going to oppose them. If you had a conscience, you would too.”

    I oppose him because he is a Republican.

    “And what you don’t seem to understand is that this reenactment group glorifies the actions of a specific SS division that committed acts of unconscionable evil, some of which are detailed above. You ignore that.”

    Your ignoring the whole point of reenactment groups.