- The Washington Times - Monday, October 28, 2019

In the 1950s, Wisconsin Sen. Joe McCarthy believed there was a Soviet agent lurking under every bed and began naming some without much proof. Critics were correct to lambast him, but today’s Democrats would embarrass even McCarthy.

Any Joseph R. McCarthy Award would have to be awarded to Hillary Clinton, and then perhaps retired. No figure in politics today or in any rationally imaginable future is likely to channel the late senator as well as Mrs. Clinton.

Since dreaming up the “vast right-wing conspiracy” as the source of her husband’s troubles in the 1990s, the woman has developed into quite a conspiracy buff. What’s more, she has managed to set the tone for an entire party, which has come to blame its every misfortune on Russia. Mrs. Clinton lost to Donald Trump in 2016 not because most voters found her and her views unlikable, but because Donald Trump’s campaign was and is in cahoots with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Mrs. Clinton set out to “prove” the existence of the conspiracy by using campaign cash to pay other presumably more trustworthy Russians to dig up or make up dirt on her opponent and to persuade her fellow Democrats that the Russian “collusion” narrative could be used to weaken or even bring down a president they disliked.

Democrats in Congress and their friends in the progressive media loved labeling political opponents as Russian “agents,” “assets” or “dupes,” and set about doing so with a vengeance that would have made the staunchest McCarthyite proud. Congress launched numerous investigations and an independent counsel was appointed to gather evidence both of collusion and the supposedly pivotal role Vladimir Putin played in helping the forces of darkness steal the 2016 presidential election. Since they knew, after all, that not even the most deplorable among us would have voted for Mr. Trump over Hillary if we were thinking rationally, they charged that voters had been duped by Kremlin-inspired social media propaganda.

At one point, a Republican congressman observed that he was checking the labels on the vodka he enjoyed to make sure it wasn’t from Russia lest he be accused of being a Russian puppet. The attorney general of the United States was condemned for attending a program at The Heritage Foundation also attended by Moscow’s ambassador to the United States. As a former NRA president, I was personally attacked and labeled a Russian agent for leading a gun group to Russia to talk guns and attending a “secret” meeting in Moscow in 2015 with that country’s deputy prime minister. My “meeting,” like Attorney General Jeff Session’s at Heritage was also part of a much larger meeting, hosted in this case by the Russian Shooting Federation.

When no one was able to demonstrate any collusion, one might have expected Democrats and the media would move on, but instead they have doubled down and now claim virtually everything that happens in Washington is orchestrated by the Russians. 

That poor Mrs. Clinton is delusionally fixated on Mr. Putin’s ability to manipulate and control the politics of this country through dupes, assets and agents is obvious, but her remarkable ability to persuade fellow Democrats that anyone who disagrees with their views is an agent of a foreign power and a borderline traitor is remarkable. McCarthy’s charges though closer to being true than Mrs. Clinton’s never garnered such support. Even though labeling the Senate Majority Leader “Moscow Mitch” raised few eyebrows, Mrs. Clinton and her fellow witch hunters may finally have gone too far. Last week, without any evidence whatever, she denounced Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic congresswoman and presidential wannabe, a “Russian asset.” 

One might have expected Democratic leaders to denounce this baseless and mean-spirited attack on a combat-tested veteran, but most, with the exception of Sen. Bernie Sanders and a few minor wannabes remained silent, even as many in the media rushed to Mrs. Clinton’s defense. An MSNBC panelist went so far as to suggest that Hillary’s charge should be taken seriously since Ms. Gabbard “has never denied being a Russian asset.” 

In the interview where Mrs. Clinton slandered Ms. Gabbard, she felt compelled to repeat her belief that in spite of all evidence to the contrary, she continues to believe the worst of the president of the United States, declaring that while “I don’t know what Putin has on him, whether it’s both personal and financial … I assume it is.” 

As far as Mrs. Clinton, her fellow Democrats and the media are concerned the conspiracy that dominates their thinking explains all, a view best articulated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a White House meeting. Pointing at the president she charged “All roads lead to Putin.”

It’s time for responsible political leaders of both parties to say “enough” and dismiss Mrs. Clinton and her fellow conspiracy buffs’ rants. 

• David A. Keene is an editor at large for The Washington Times.

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