All year, we’ve been hearing from Tea Party candidates who think Washington politicians have lost touch with average Americans. As a Nazi reenactor, Ohio Tea Party Republican congressional candidate Rich Iott has some harsh words for one of those professional politicians who just happens to be a Republican: House Minority Whip Eric Cantor. On CNN this afternoon, Iott, who was recently outed as a Nazi reenactment enthusiast, called Cantor out for repudiating him on Fox News Sunday yesterday. Iott even compared Cantor to a Democrat.
“I think that Representative Cantor did what so many career politicians do,” Iott said. “He reacted before he had all the facts. He didn’t know the whole story. He didn’t understand what historical reenacting is all about, or the education side of it. And he just made a decision without all the facts. My opponent here is cut out of the same cloth. Those are the people who passed the health care bill before they knew what was in it. The same folks who passed the stimulus bill…”
Throughout the appearance, Iott tried to argue for the educational value of his hobby.
“The purpose of historical reenacting is not to glorify war, necessarily, or the sides,” he said. “It’s to educate people. To learn about what happened. And to keep those memories alive, so we don’t let it happen again.”
Iot said “participating in historical reenactments, living history, is a much better way to get the message across” than other forms or education. “It’s a great outreach to the public,” he said.
When asked how he explained World War II to his son who started participating with him in reenactments at age 15, Iott said “on many, many occasions we talked about the horrific things that happened during World War II.”
“That was absolutely one of the low points, I think, in human history,” he said. “It’s a tragedy that we don’t want to forget.”
Asked if he regretted dressing up as a Nazi, now that he’s running for Congress, Iott said: “What I regret is that we’re wasting the time talking about this issue, when we should be talking about the real issues that are facing the country today.”
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com