Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly makes a really good point about how accustomed the political news media has become to accepting the GOP candidates charges that President Obama is “un-American”:
The idea that a leading major-party presidential candidate would throw around such rhetoric was, up until very recently, madness. The idea that such a candidate would face no pushback whatsoever, with journalists barely finding it worth mentioning at all, was unthinkable.
But as the Republican Party has become radicalized, such rhetoric has become routine. GOP officials and their allies have no qualms about using labels like “socialist,” “communist,” and even “fascist” — without any regard for what those words actually mean — and after a while, we just roll our eyes. There they go again, accusing Americans they don’t like of sedition, disloyalty, and national betrayal. It must be a day that ends with “y.”
Of mention is Rick Santorum’s two latest off-the-cuff remarks that Obama has “sided with our enemies” and that he has also taken part in “absolutely un-American activities.” That’s a serious charge to make about anybody, let alone the President of the United States. Really, an accusation such as the latter remark should not just be met with barely a stir by the media.
Come to think of it, it was only last August when Rick Perry charged that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was “treasonous”. Back then, saying something as accusatory as that was met with instant denunciation all around, even by Republican strategists. And that wasn’t even directed at President Obama.
If Santorum’s latest remarks are any indication of how much the reaction to McCarthy-like accusations has changed over the course of six months, than we’ve clearly come a long way in our collective understanding of what is allowable in mainstream political discourse.