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Pat Roberts warns of 'national socialism' in the U.S.

If Pat Roberts doesn't know what "national socialists" are, he shouldn't use the phrase in a sentence.
U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts speaks at an appearance for his Senate re-election campaign Friday, November 8, 2013, in Overland Park, Kansas.
U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts speaks at an appearance for his Senate re-election campaign Friday, November 8, 2013, in Overland Park, Kansas.
Remember, Sen. Pat Roberts is supposed to be the experienced, mainstream Republican in Kansas.

Incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), who is facing an unexpectedly fierce challenge for re-election, warned Monday at a campaign stop that the United States is heading for "national socialism." It's not clear whether Roberts intended to make a reference to Nazism or simply meant to invoke the run of the mill looming specter of socialism.

Let's pause here to offer a friendly reminder to politicians everywhere: If you don't know what "national socialism" means, don't use it in a sentence.
In this case, Roberts has left his home in Virginia to campaign in Kansas full time, and in remarks captured by American Bridge, the senator argued the "America that we love and cherish and honor will not be the same America for our kids and grandkids."

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One interpretation is that the senator believes the United States is heading towards Nazism. The other interpretation is that he believes that the United States -- complete with record-high corporate profits and a soaring stock market -- will soon have a system in which the public controls the means of production.
In other words, Pat Roberts, after spending more than three decades as an elected federal lawmaker, doesn't know what "national socialism" means. At the same time, he doesn't know what "socialism" means, either.
This isn't exactly the senator's finest hour.
Ed Kilgore added, "You have to wonder what Bob Dole, who was sitting nearby Roberts when he made this incredibly offensive remark -- and who fought against actual National Socialists in World War II -- thought of it."
Meanwhile, Sean Sullivan reports today on related developments in Kansas, where it appears increasingly likely that Roberts will face the electoral circumstances he hoped to avoid: a one-on-one contest with Independent Greg Orman.

The Kansas Supreme Court on Tuesday sent the question of whether the state Democratic Party is required to appoint a Senate nominee to replace Chad Taylor to a lower court, a decision that helps independent candidate Greg Orman against Sen. Pat Roberts (R). [...] Rick Hasen, an expert on election laws, wrote on his blog that the court's order lessens the chance Democrats will have to appoint a replacement. That's good news for Orman, since it increases the odds he will not have to compete for anti-Roberts voters with a Democratic opponent.

Maybe this helps explain Roberts' bizarre rhetoric? The pressure might be getting to him.