One of the worst charges liberals keep in their arsenal is an accusation of "McCarthyism."
Even if you went to public school, you've no doubt heard the broad outline of the tale of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who challenged Hollywood and elements of the government, holding hearings to uncover communist influence in the U.S.
What you almost certainly did not hear in school is that McCarthy was right, there really were communists infiltrating every level of American entertainment, society and government with the goal of transforming the country. We can see the long-term effects all around us today.
Because of communist -- excuse me, "Progressive" -- influence in education, liberals consider McCarthyism to be synonymous with "witch hunting," looking for evils where none exist. For those who understand the extent of what McCarthy was fighting, McCarthyism was a battle against overwhelming odds to save the heart and soul of the country -- a battle which ultimately was decided by the control over public perception exercised by the media.
All of which makes it doubly interesting that Sen. John McCain, Rep. Keith Ellison, the State Department and the leftist media are flinging accusations of McCarthyism at Rep. Michelle Bachmann, who with four other members of Congress sent a letter in June to the Inspectors General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence asking questions about the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood at the highest levels of our government, and demanding a probe into alleged "deep penetration" of the Obama Administration.
McCain was incensed by statements in the letter that Huma Abedin, the top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a Clinton family friend, has family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, an umbrella Islamist group with far-reaching influence in Africa and the Middle East.
Ellison, who is Muslim, has called the letter "nonsense." Bachmann sent him a 16-page, heavily footnoted follow-up letter (available here) with details about Abedin's family's associations and the other concerns expressed in the first letter. CNN's Anderson Cooper interviewed Ellison about the information in the follow-up letter, but Ellison declined to answer specific charges and stuck with general allegations against Bachmann.
The Muslim Brotherhood's maneuvering has been noted in the background of many of the Arab Spring uprisings, and a member of the Brotherhood has now risen to the presidency of Egypt.
The Brotherhood has also been involved in the civil war in Syria, a conflict which has brought Russian and NATO forces to the region and threatened to become a broader war.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused President Obama of instigating and funding the Mideast uprisings and trying to control the outcome in Syria, which Russia views as an ally and key counterbalance to American influence in the region.
According to the letter written by the Congress members, Huma Abedin's father, now deceased, was widely known to be a member of the Brotherhood. Her mother was a part of what's been called the Muslim Sisterhood, sort of the women's auxiliary of the Brotherhood. Abedin's brother is also widely acknowledged by Arab sources to have been involved with the Brotherhood, according to the letter.
In an interview, Bachmann pointed out that the letter did not accuse Abedin of being an agent of the Brotherhood but only questioned whether her ties had been examined before she was given her security clearance.
The answer to that should be an easy yes. Instead, Ellison, McCain and others have gone on the attack.
The letter also questions continued contact between the FBI and the Council for American Islamic Relations, with which the FBI had announced it was severing contact after the Holy Land Foundation trial. The Department of Justice's complicity with Muslim groups' efforts to outlaw "defamatory" language about Islam is raised, as is a "purge" of counterterrorism training materials.
The Congress members are right to inquire about the Obama Administration's connections with the Muslim Brotherhood. Ambassadors from the Brotherhood have met with White House officials repeatedly. Obama has invited Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi to the White House.
The administration seems to have cast our lot with the Muslim Brotherhood's takeover of much of the Middle East and North Africa.
So this raises a question for McCain, Ellison, the State Department and others on the Left: If the Muslim Brotherhood is good enough for us to sponsor and entertain as allies, what's the big deal if Abedin is associated with them?
The fact is, the Left knows that the alliance with the Brotherhood is dirty, and allowing someone associated with the Brotherhood to be involved in the top levels of the Administration would be reckless and possibly treasonous. If Abedin is not connected to the Brotherhood, great. If she is, then the Administration at least owes the country an explanation about why that's OK.
But the Administration and the Left have gone into distract-and-cover mode, which makes it seems even more likely that there is something to hide, and all the more important to get answers to the House members' national security questions.
So expect to hear a lot of cries of McCarthyism in the rush to drown out any information found in the search for the truth.