The Justice Department's Tracy Schmaler and 3 Characteristics of Political Thugs

In the days following the Night of the Long Knives in 1934, a bizarre press conference took place in Berlin.  Hermann Goering stood before the foreign press corps and explained why Hitler’s regime had the obligation to murder hundreds of Germans in the dead of night without due process.  The farce is described in Erik Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts.

At the time, Germany still had one foot barely in in the democratic past and the other foot dragging the Reich toward indescribable madness.  One wonders what the unrecorded thoughts were of the assembled journalists.  Some might have considered this an aberration, a frightening yet short fit of madness by a man trying to reverse Germany’s malaise.  Such apologists were particularly common in Roosevelt’s State Department.  Others reporters surely had enough human decency to recognize the warning signs of a democratic and enlightened people experiencing a rapid moral collapse.

Goering, however, as was his way, had no shame in standing before representatives of the foreign free press and justifying murder.  It should have been obvious to everyone listening to him that the Nazis were a demonic sort, capable of anything, and afterwards equally capable of justifying their twisted behavior.

Today’s revelation by Matt Boyle that the Justice Department is coordinating attacks on private citizens (including me) and coordinating with Media Matters on a wider scale than I first reported some months ago here at PJ Media provokes the question -- why?

I raise this German history not to compare the events of that era to events today in America, but rather to note peculiar characteristics common to political thuggery, regardless of the degree or nationality of the thuggery.

To be perfectly clear, Eric Holder is no Hermann Goering, so the flying monkeys at Media Matters can abandon that meme. Others, at Investor’s Business Daily, for example, are willing to make comparisons I do not:

After the acts, the DOJ then praised them: "Great piece," gushed Schmaler after Media Matters attacked DOJ whistle-blowers J. Christian Adams and Christopher Coates. . . .

Incredibly, this isn't happening in some totalitarian dictatorship or banana republic, but here in the U.S.

Now we see something else — Media Matters acting as an ideological goon squad of the Justice Department to enforce the kind of press Obama wants.

This thuggish meddling crosses the line into dictatorship, and calls for a congressional investigation.

Some time has passed since Matt Boyle broke the story today about the close coordination between Tracy Schmaler, head of the Office of Public Affairs (OPA), and Media Matters. Megyn Kelly’s Fox report notes that Schmaler writes “great piece” after attacking former Justice Department Voting Section Chief Christopher Coates.  Coates is one of the most decent and courteous lawyers I have ever met.  An attack on him by the head of OPA while he was still employed at DOJ is a disgrace.