A SMEAR CAMPAIGN IN THE MAKING - THE HARD LEFT GOES AFTER HISTORIAN ALLEN WEINSTEIN
To become the head of the National archives is an honor for a scholar but it hardly makes you a household name even among academics, so normally Allen Weinstein's nomination for this nonpartisan post would sail through without a second glance.
Well, except for two things: first this is an election year and the President nominating Weinstein is the much reviled George W. Bush, so naturally academics are starting to leap to the conclusion that this must be part of a grand neocon conspiracy cooked up by Karl Rove to shut off access to Bush administration records forever
. I'm not sure, if that was the case, why the alleged cabal in the White House would not have picked a lesser known academic of reliably conservative views when Weinstein's historical writings are apt to attact much attention from the wingnuts of the Left and the Alger Hiss defense league
over at The Nation Magazine
Weinstein as the author of both Perjury
and The Haunted Wood
is anathema to the Old Left, the New Left and many liberals of the anti-anti-communist persuasion who hold the schizoid view that Joe McCarthy and Joe Stalin were roughly co-equal threats to liberty and democractic society. Weinstein is now the focus of an incipient smear campaign, more in an effort to destroy his reputation than actually derail his nomination, that began in an HNN article by Roger Sandilands, himself an apologist and apparent protege of unmasked Soviet spy Lauchlin Currie
- a relationship Sandilands had not bothered to disclose in his attack on Weinstein.
This is a pattern we have seen before. Ideologues floating vague and ominous allegations in journals and on the net until mainstream press reports begin treating the charges as if they had merit without examining who is making them and why. Eventually, a Democrat will rise up in the Senate and sonorously ask that the President put the nomination " on hold " so that the Senate can investigate the fabricated reports of " extreme " political views. The game is most often played with Federal judicial nominees but the practice is now creeping down to the most obscure of federal posts. How many emails with the subject heading " Allen Weinstein" are currently flying back and forth between Democratic Senate staffers and wingnut academics like Cass Sunstein
is anybody's guess but I'd wager that the traffic is steady and increasing.
Let's call them on it before the ball gets rolling.