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9/30/2004

Thune Compared to McCarthy

Eric Boehlert at Salon is comparing our very own John Thune to Senator Joe McCarthy.

"By adopting divisive rhetoric suggesting terrorists are working to elect John Kerry, Republican leaders are posing a challenge not only for the Democratic presidential candidate but also for the press. For the first time in decades journalists find themselves reporting on a kind of public character assassination that's reminiscent of McCarthyism, according to several distinguished journalists and historians."

Boehlert goes on to say,

"In a Sept. 24 article, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank catalogued the spate of loaded Republican statements suggesting alliances -- direct or indirect -- between Democrats and terrorists, revealing that many are coming from senior party and administration officials:

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, announced that terrorists are going to do everything they can between now and November "to try and elect Kerry." Appearing on MSNBC this week, Hatch suggested al-Qaida's primary target today is Bush's political prospects, not necessarily the United States.

Republican Senate candidate John Thune of South Dakota said of his opponent, Senate Minority Leader Thomas Daschle: "His words embolden the enemy." Thune, on NBC's "Meet the Press," declined to disavow a statement by the Republican Party chairman in his state saying Daschle had brought "comfort to America's enemies."

At a campaign rally on Sept. 18, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., told Republicans that al-Qaida "would like to influence this election" with an attack similar to the train bombings in Madrid days before the Spanish national election in March. Asked by a reporter if he thought terrorists would operate with more comfort if Kerry were elected, Hastert said, "That's my opinion, yes."

The previous day, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said terrorists in Iraq "are trying to influence the election against President Bush."

The Post also noted, "Earlier this month, Cheney provoked an uproar when he said that on Election Day, 'if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again, that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating,' adding that the United States would not respond vigorously. Cheney later said that he was not suggesting the country would be attacked if Kerry were elected. But a few days later, he said: 'We've gone on the offense in the war on terror -- and the president's opponent, Senator Kerry, doesn't seem to approve.'"


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