It was just over 60 years ago that the tactics of Senator Joseph McCarthy were repudiated when he was censured by the Senate in December 1954. Ever since then, McCarthyism — the reckless hurling of accusations at adversaries so as to destroy their reputations — has been considered one of the lowest forms of political behavior and one liberals love to crusade against.
But McCarthyism isn’t limited to one party or ideology. And if liberals have any sense of self-awareness they will recognize the tactic has returned and is growing in their back yard.
Harry Reid, the top Democrat in the Senate, was asked by CNN’s Dana Bash this week if he regretted his 2012 accusation on the Senate floor that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney “hasn’t paid taxes for ten years.” Reid presented no evidence at the time and claimed he didn’t need any: “I don’t think the burden should be on me. The burden should be on him. He’s the one I’ve alleged has not paid any taxes.”
Reid’s response in the interview was fascinating. When asked by Bash if his tactic was McCarthyite he visibly shrugged on camera, smiled, and said “Well, they can call it whatever they want. Romney didn’t win, did he?” White House spokesman Josh Earnest refused to criticize Reid for his comment because it “was three years old,” when in reality Reid’s televised reveling in it was only three days old.
Las Vegas journalist Jon Ralston, who has observed Reid over the latter’s 30-year career in the Senate, has had enough. He revealed that he had written a harshly critical column in 2012 about Reid’s “ruthless, Machiavellian politics” in response to the senator’s accusation against Romney but saw it spiked by the Las Vegas Sun because its editor wanted to protect Reid.
The column pulled no punches in going after Reid: “He doesn’t care about being criticized for using the same tactics that Joe McCarthy used. . . . Is there anything more dangerous than a man who does not care? And a related question: Is there anything more sadly desperate than a party that will do anything not to talk about the economy and to change the subject to Mitt Romney’s wealth? . . . Sometimes the ends do not justify the means, even in the political swamp.”
But increasingly the political swamp is being governed by the law of the jungle. Take the Koch Brothers, who Reid has ceaselessly pilloried as “un-American” in speeches on the Senate floor. And the vilification continues, even with no election in sight. Just this past February, Salon published a piece by Thom Hartmann, America’s leading liberal talk-radio-show host, about the Koch Brothers. The title: “Fascism Is Rising in America.”
Liberals have become quite fond of using fascist imagery to denounce their opponents in some of the same ways conservatives used to warn about Reds under every bed. Al Gore calls his critics “digital brownshirts.” Last month, Vice President Joe Biden accused foes of union power of being “blackshirts.”
Any bets if dueling were still legal, Harry the slanderer wouldn’t have made his accusations?
is less hateful or intolerant than
So, it was gratifying to hear that the owners of the Memories Pizza in Indiana were given over $400,000 in support money over the course of this attack on them while the cretin baseball coach who voiced the 2nd quote lost her job.
Apparently that stupid Lefty thought she could say that threat on the web and no one would hurt her.
Actually I read loads of remarks of people who read her threat and wondered where she lived so as to give her a taste of her own medicine.