Jonah Goldberg

This in itself is a backhanded way to question the patriotism of your opponents. After all, to liberals, Joe McCarthy is synonymous with “un-American.” So, by preemptively and wantonly declaring any criticism to be McCarthyite dirty pool, Democrats are questioning the patriotism of their opponents in order to silence dissent (they play a similar preemption game with charges of racism as well).

But Democrats did worse than merely question the patriotism of their opponents; they flat-out denied it. Sen. Bob Graham called Bush’s war policy “anti-patriotic at the core.” Kerry dubbed Bush’s “creed of greed” — you guessed it — “unpatriotic.”

Howard Dean, the nearly invisible Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, used to get himself into those I’m-turning-into-the-Hulk rages over the merest hint that Republicans questioned the patriotism of Democrats. But he saw nothing wrong with righteously proclaiming that John Ashcroft “is no patriot. He’s a direct descendant of Joseph McCarthy.”

And now with Rush Limbaugh, Democrats, starting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, are lining up to call the radio host “unpatriotic” and do whatever they can to discredit him.

Now, the fact that no serious person actually thinks Limbaugh really or intentionally called soldiers dissenting on the war “phony” doesn’t matter to the Democrats. Rather, they’re just gleeful to play the pot to Limbaugh’s kettle. Never mind that it’s unfair and dishonest, never mind that what they’re doing is far closer to the McCarthyism they routinely denounce, never mind that such Limbaugh-lynching Democratic senators as John Kerry and Dick Durbin have suggested, respectively, that American troops are “terrorizing kids” in Iraq and are akin to the torture masters of Nazi Germany or Pol Pot’s “mad regime.”

All that matters is that Democrats get a free hand — thank you, mainstream media — to do what they’ve spent years denouncing as the worst, lowest form of politics. And, unlike Republicans in most cases, the Democrats actually know they are lying. They just don’t care.

But don’t take my word for it. I’m the worst person in the world.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Jonah Goldberg's column. Sign up today and receive daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.