Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean wasted no time comparing GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and the Republican Party in general to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during the progressive Netroots Nation 2012 conference Saturday in Providence, R.I.
“When people say that Mitt Romney wants to take us back to the ’50s, they’re not talking about the 1950s, they’re talking about the 1850s with the Know-Nothing Party,” said Dean.
The Know-Nothing Party, also called the American Party, was a U.S. political party active during the 1840s-1850s strongly opposed to immigrants and the Catholic Church. The party had a power base in the North, especially in Ohio and Massachusetts, but lost steam when it “refused to take a stand on slavery,” according to the Ohio Historical Society.
“Does everybody remember the Know-Nothing Party? They hated immigrants, they didn’t like Catholics, they didn’t like Jews, they didn’t like anybody,” said Dean. “They didn’t like gay people, but they didn’t believe gay people existed.”
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow referred to the Republican Party as the Know-Nothing Party during a televised segment in November 2011.
“You know, I think it was President Ahmadinejad in, back those days in 1850,” said Dean, referring to the anti-American and antisemitic rhetoric of the Iranian president.
“They’d like maybe that again? I don’t know what the Republicans want, but let them go someplace else and stop doing it to us, ’cause our country’s a great country,” said Dean.