“Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” harkens back to the bad old days when careers and lives were ruined by Tail Gunner Joe McCarthy, an alcoholic, demagogic Senator from Wisconsin. His bullying excesses become known as McCarthyism and he and his supporters caused far worse damage to the nation than the most evil of Communists ever did.
Apparently, Rep. Allen West (R-FL) has begun channeling Fail Gunner Joe as a sop to Tea Partying extremists and to avoid talking about real issues. He claims there are 80 Communists in the House or rather he “heard” – without producing any names – the dastardly 80 were hiding as Commies in Democratic clothing. As with Joe, he prefers the insinuation method of proving his point rather than facts.
Allie, there are no Communists in the House. The ideologically closest politician on The Hill is self-identified democratic socialist (Independent on the ballot) Bernie Sanders and he’s a Senator from Vermont, not a Representative in the House.
BTW, there is also a difference between Socialism and Communism. It would behoove Republicans, who have great difficulty understanding the difference between Fascism and Socialism, to learn the difference before spouting more ideological hog-wallop. While you’re at it, look up liberal too. The term is not synonymous with Socialism, Communism, or Despotism.
Second, Sanders is a legally-elected, presumably effective Senator from a legal political party elected by the citizens of Vermont. If he weren’t, he would be ex-Senator Sanders. As much as West might like to try, Vermont’s Congressional representation is in their hands, not some half-baked interloper from Florida. If he is worried about Vermont Commies, he can move there and try to unseat Sanders. It will be no easy feat if he tries.
In West’s defense, he hasn’t proposed a formal McCarthyite “truth” committee to harangue those of a different ideological opinion – yet. However, he is strutting his red, white, and blue plumage on the Vice Presidential stage with the backing of those shining examples of Democracy and probity, Sarah Palin and Herman Cain. If anointed, he may not formalize his witch hunt, but I’d wager that if he enters the Presidential ballot as the Santorum clone the zany-right needs, he’ll be going all rogue about Commies behind every birth control pill every time he gets in front of a non-wingnut approved Teleprompter. Wait, I’ve “heard” Republicans don’t use those. Silly me.
But the saddest part of these Wars on Nomenclature is that Democrats run from being called Communist, Socialist, or just plain Liberal as if there is something wrong with words that may describe some planks of their platform. Hard line Conservatives blanch at being called extremists for the same reason. Part of their platform is extreme, but they’d never admit many of their positions are to the right of Genghis Khan and they think everyone else is left of Karl Marx. Both the left and right positions offer positives and negatives, making the terms to describe them obsolete. Problem solving is never a one-size-fits-all affair.
The bad old days of Tail Gunner Joe were born of an irrational fear, disproved after his Crapweasel Caravan, that Commies where everywhere. Since the Commies went away, with no help from Joe (and minimal help from St. Ronnie of Reagan) the Wests of the Republican party have no one left to vilify.
West needs to change his loopy rhetoric and join the rest of the nation in trying to fix big problems his party says are all someone else’s fault.
Oh, who am I kidding?
Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!