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Rick Ayers

Rick Ayers

Posted: April 17, 2008 12:32 PM

Clinton's McCarthyism (and my Brother Bill Ayers)


Read more reactions from Huffington Post bloggers to ABC's Pennsylvania Democratic debate


Until tonight's debate, I didn't really think Hillary Clinton would go so far as to attempt to sink the whole Democratic Party campaign in her struggle for power. But now it is clear that she has no limits. Barack Obama, attempting to take the high ground, gave her a pass on her despicable behavior.

The fact that she would drag up this pathetic red herring about Obama's alleged ties to so-called terrorist Bill Ayers (my brother!) brings her right down to the level of Fox News and the National Enquirer (which also suggested that Obama had murdered his gay lover). Obama needed to call this tactic for what it is: McCarthyism. This is the most base version of McCarthyism: Did you know this communist? When were you last with this communist? Did you denounce this communist? When did you stop beating your wife?

This desperate strategy marks the kind of Republican tactics of the Clinton camp. We always knew Bill Clinton was the architect of the Democratic Party move into a Republican stance on policy. Now these so-called centrist Democrats are imitating the take-no-prisoners tactics of the Karl Roves of the far right.

The swift-boating of Obama over his remarks on the "bitterness" of white workers is a perfect example. You remember how the Republicans managed to make John Kerry, the Vietnam Veteran, seem like the weak soldier while George Bush, who hid out from the draft, was built up as the military guy. How do they manage that? Now Clinton is calling Obama the elitist -- Obama, the guy who worked as a community organizer while Hillary was raking in the dough on the Wal-Mart Board of Directors. She's got over $120 million and tags him as an elitist. Will the media really help spin this dreck? They will and do.

There's only one way to confront McCarthyism. Obama should have taken a page from Joseph Welch when he confronted the red-baiting senator during the Army-McCarthy hearings. He should have said, "Senator Clinton, are you really going to go there? Do you have no shame? Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty, or your recklessness. If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty, I would do so. I like to think I'm a gentle man, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me. Have you no sense of decency, ma'am, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?" That's the kind of language that Welch used to reduce McCarthy to the sputtering idiot he was.

Why give her a pass? Why claim that Bill Clinton had done something even worse, giving pardons to people from the Weather Underground. That's like trying to out-right the rightist Clinton. Have the courage to call her for what she is.


Read more reactions from Huffington Post bloggers to ABC's Pennsylvania Democratic debate