24 March 2008

A Democratic Hierarchy of Offense

As strange as it may strike some readers, it's actually worse, among Democrats, to compare a fellow Democrat to Joe McCarthy than to compare one to Judas Iscariot. That's because, as far as I can tell, Judas has become a figure of mythology akin to characters from Homer rather than an embodiment of evil capable of chilling the spine. By comparison, "McCarthyism," whether perceived accurately or not (see below) is still widely feared as a malignant force in American politics. Joe McCarthy is taken seriously, felt palpably as an evil presence in a way that Judas (whom some would rehabilitate, after all) is not, even by the most devout Christians. So it seems to be reaching on the part of Obama supporters for them to compare James Carville's tacky remarks about Gov. Richardson as a Judas with the general's implicit comparison of Bill Clinton with Joe McCarthy. Within the Democratic sphere, the Obama team has committed the worse offense, though it is one that the Clintonites should refute with reason rather than whine about it. Now, as for the Obama man who said Clinton's remarks were a bigger stain on his legacy than the one he left on Monica Lewinsky's blue dress ...yuck!

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