The Dallas Morning News' Todd Gillman interviewed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) over the weekend and noted that the far-right senator has been "compared to McCarthy by several people." Cruz responded by saying the criticism "may be a sign that perhaps we're doing something right." It led to this interesting exchange.
GILLMAN: Is McCarthy someone you admire?
CRUZ: I'm not going to engage in the back and forth and the attacks. Several Democrats have demonstrated a willingness to attack me by name. I'm not going to engage in that argument.
I'm curious why not.
As Jed Lewison wrote, "Okay, Ted. Fine. Don't engage in that. But how hard is it to say "no" when the question is whether you admire Joe McCarthy?"
It's hardly an unreasonable question given the circumstances. In February, his first full month as a senator, Cruz railed against Chuck Hagel's Defense Secretary nomination, suggesting without proof that Hagelmay have received unreported funds from foreign enemies of the United States. It led Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to note that Cruz's antics were "reminiscent of a different time and place, when you said, 'I have here in my pocket a speech you made on such and such a date,' and, of course, nothing was in the pocket. It was reminiscent of some bad times."
A few weeks later we learned Cruz argued that Harvard Law School harbored 12 secret communists -- each of whom supported "overthrowing the United States government" -- on its faculty during his time as a student there.
So it seems only fair for a reporter to ask whether Joe McCarthy is someone Cruz admirers. It's not like it's a trick question, and I suspect most public officials could give a straight answer.
In the meantime, others on the far right continue to embrace the legacy of McCarthyism. Townhall.com published an item a month ago arguing, "It's Time to See Joe McCarthy For the Hero He Was."