The spirit of McCarthysim is alive and well in America.
There I was thinking that the old demagogue’s risible legacy
was dead, buried and banished from memory when I came across television pundit
Rush Limbaugh’s latest on-air comments on Barack Obama.
“He (Obama) was indoctrinated as a child,” rants
Limbaugh, as quoted by Maureen Dowd, a New
York Times columnist. “His father
was a communist. His mother was a
leftist. He was sent to prep and Ivy
League schools where his contempt for the country was reinforced.”
If that quote had no context, you’d swear it had been
extracted from a scratchy 1950s news clip of the red-baiting junior senator
(It’s surely a bit odd identifying the
Ivy League as a breeding ground for commies and leftists. I’d always thought of it more as a reliable incubator
of Republican Party bigwigs, corporate lawyers, investment bankers and other east-coast
establishment figures. Didn’t both Bushes
go to Yale?).
Limbaugh is of course a seasoned rabble-rouser for the
extreme Right, not taken terribly seriously except by elderly refugees from the
former so-called Eastern Bloc, but he is far from alone in his view of Obama as
an apologist for the communist cause.
Others of Limbaugh’s political ilk have spouted fatuities questioning Obama’s
patriotism and fitness for office, the latter on spurious grounds ranging from
the belief that he wasn’t born on American soil to his secret adherence to the
Muslim faith (and by implication sympathy for Islamic terrorism).
Dowd in the same column quoted above also attributes
to John Sununu, a one-time governor of New
Hampshire, and Ronald Reagan’s former chief of staff,
the following remark: “I wish this president would learn how to be an American”.
Sununu did later, apparently, apologize for the remark,
but that’s like the courtroom interrogator tossing out a statement knowing that
it will be stricken from the record but will have lodged in the recollection of
Where’s that old legal curmudgeon Joseph N.
Welch when we need him? (And if you