Journalist Slams West For Communists in Congress Remarks

Posted on April 16, 2012


John Avalon wrote a piece for CNN.com drowning Rep Allen West in a sea of sensational comments.

The ghost of Joe McCarthy’s ulcerous accusations hung over a disturbingly casual comment this past week by U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Florida.

When asked by a constituent at a town hall, “What percentage of the American legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists?”

“That’s a fair question,” West replied. “I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party.”

Aside from comparing West to Joe McCarthy, he equated the Communist Party to murderous people known for mistreating their “subjects” in Red regimes around the globe from China to Cuba.  He equated West’s remarks with those that could have been made by a liberal journalist such as himself no doubt:

To equate liberals in Congress with communists is like equating conservatives in Congress with fascists — something only the most brain-dead Occupy protester would attempt.

And just for a moment imagine if a liberal member of Congress made an equal and opposite accusation, saying that all the members of the tea party caucus were Nazis. It would be rightly greeted with wall-to-wall outrage.

But the asymmetric polarization of our politics has made such accusations within the easy reach of politically successful ideologues at unguarded moments.

I love a writer who gets so wound up in his/her argument that he slips and falls into the pit he fancies others are in.  “[A] symmetric polarization of our politics” – is he referring to the job of it Bill Mahr does as a “commentator” on CNN?

And these remarks took the article to a new low:

West’s comments were simply extensions of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s infamous statement in 2008 about how then-candidate Barack Obama — and many Democratic members of Congress — held “anti-American views.”

That, my dear Mr. Avalon, is a boarding house reach for the argumentum ad ridiculum.