That verdict doesn’t come from me, at least not this time. David Zurawik, the media critic for the Baltimore Sun and not exactly a man sympathetic to conservatism, blasts the Democratic Party for its accusations against the Chamber of Commerce, and especially for the imagery in its new ad. The spot shows Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie as the evil twins that are apparently mugging women in parking garages all throughout America in a political campaign he calls “a new low”:
Here is what’s so appalling to me: The ad makes the totally unsubstantiated charge that the Chamber of Commerce is taking money from foreign interests and using it to “steal our democracy.” And worse, President Obama is out on the campaign trail, according to the New York Times, creating an echo chamber by making the same reckless claims just as the ad hits the airwaves. And when CBS newsman Bob Schieffer Sunday asks David Axelrod if there is any proof for the claim, the senior Obama aide says they don’t need proof — it’s up to the Chamber of Commerce to prove it isn’t true.
The Democratic National Commitee [sic] is using the same sort of tactic and logic that Sen. Joe McCarthy used in the 1950s: Level a headline-grabbing and unsubstantiated charge, like the State Department is filled with communists, and then say it is up to the State Department and the employees so charged to prove it is not true.
So much for hope and change; this is the politics of fear, slander and divisiveness on the eve of an election that looks as if it could deliver a damning verdict on the first two years of the Obama administration.
FactCheck doesn’t sound any more impressed with HopeandChange, either, and notes the “guilty until proven innocent” posture of the Democrats:
Democrats, from President Barack Obama on down, are trying to turn an evidence-free allegation into a major campaign theme, claiming that foreign corporations are “stealing our democracy” with secret, illegal contributions funneled through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It’s a claim with little basis in fact. …
Accusing anybody of violating the law is a serious matter requiring serious evidence to back it up. So far Democrats have produced none.
Zurawik, though, comes closer to the point. It’s not just “Democrats” who are demanding that the Chamber of Commerce prove itself innocent. It’s the executive branch of the American government demanding it, including its two top officers, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. They have publicly accused the Chamber of illegal operations without a shred of evidence, basing their official actions on an unsubstantiated allegation from John Podesta at the Center for American Progress. That is nothing short of an attempt by this administration to intimidate its political opponents into silence.
That is an unconscionable affront to the rule of law, and it reeks of the McCarthyism that the Left supposedly reviles. Without a public price paid for this attack on dissent from the highest offices in the government, this will become the norm and we will be less free as a result.
Politically speaking, though, this shows the bankruptcy of the Democratic Party. They have no answer for the failures of Obamanomics. They only have fear to peddle, and voters simply aren’t buying it — and neither is the media.
Note: People objected yesterday to the use of the word “McCarthyism” in my post, but I use it for two reasons. First, it’s a term that the Left throws out with abandon any time people dissent from their orthodoxy and have the temerity to question their motivations. Second, it is a clear, concise description that immediately conveys the kind of guilty-until-proven-innocent abuse of power from government officials when it occurs.
Some people objected because later information proved Joe McCarthy correct in general about Communist infiltration in the government, but that doesn’t acquit McCarthy of his abuse of power. He accused people without evidence, many of them the wrong people, and did so as a representative of the government that is supposed to protect the individual presumption of innocence until evidence proves contrary. McCarthy was a dangerous man, and perhaps even more for the discredit he heaped on the anti-Communist effort when the Soviet Union was at its most aggressive.