THEY’RE NOT DEMS…. Last week, the Weekly Standard‘s John McCormack noted the activists showing up at health care events with signs featuring swastikas, Nazi “SS” lettering, and images comparing the president to Hitler. McCormack described the activists as “Democrats.”
It’s part of a twisted kind of logic. As McCormack sees it, the extremists are Lyndon LaRouche cultists. LaRouche ran a ridiculous presidential campaign as a Democrat years ago. Therefore, swastika-waving activists are Democratic activists. It is, of course, a cheap and lazy argument, even for the Weekly Standard. Tom Schaller made the strong case that McCormack “ought to take down that post, and then apologize to his readers publicly.”
Instead, McCormack is doubling down. Today, he noted the lunatic who confronted Barney Frank last night was a LaRouche cultist, but McCormack blasted CNN for failing to identify her as a “Lyndon LaRouche Democrat.”
No one disputes that LaRouchites are on the fringe — but it’s indisputable that they are fringe Democrats. They oppose Obamacare because they want a single-payer plan.
McCormack has to realize how wrong this is. As David Weigel explained, “This is misleading. The LaRouche cultists oppose Obama’s plan because they think he’s trying to euthanize old people and the infirm. They oppose it for one of the reasons that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) oppose it, and they’re providing a lot of the ‘research’ for this smear. Instead of grappling with this or rebutting the smear, McCormack smears Democrats, who have repeatedly purged these conspiracy theorists from their party.”
It’s tempting to ignore the substance of McCormack’s comparison altogether, but it’s probably worth noting that having some fringe nut run on a party ticket does not reflect any meaning on the party itself. In Indiana last year, a neo-Nazi ran for Congress as a Republican. The party, of course, wanted nothing to do with him. It would be unfair and insulting for anyone to say, “No one disputes that neo-Nazis are on the fringe — but it’s indisputable that they are fringe Republicans.”
I can appreciate McCormack’s dual goals here. On the one hand, he’s probably uncomfortable with the fact that right-wing activists and LaRouche crazies are singing from the same hymnal. On the other hand, McCormack wants to bash Democrats. This silly argument lets him do both.
But that doesn’t change the fact that McCormack’s playing an offensive game.
Update: For more background on Lyndon LaRouche and his followers, Avi Klein’s article from 2007 is a must-read.