Cruz’s critics paint this as part of the “inference and innuendo,” the “guilt by association” that are the hallmarks of their reductive conception of McCarthyism. But of course it is no such thing. It is ridiculous to think that Cruz was implying any connection between Hagel and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — or much of anything at all. Cruz’s lament is about what we don’t know as a result of Hagel’s intransigence — namely, whether he’s been by paid by forces antithetic to American interests — not about what we do know. Cruz might have just as representatively said, “It is at a minimum relevant to know if that $200,000 deposited in his bank account came directly from the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants or the Romulan Star Empire.”
On these two thin reeds the Democrats have hung their case for Cruz’s “McCarthyism,” and in doing so sought to not-so-subtly discredit the entire brief against Chuck Hagel. The truth is that Senator Cruz has offended certain of his colleagues’ cherished notions of Senate propriety, and further complicated the confirmation of a man whose checkered record was going to make it an uphill climb in any event.
Senator Cruz has ably and aggressively executed his duty as a United States senator to advise on and consent to a nominee to the momentous post of civilian head of the United States military. He has not, as Senator McCarthy was reputed to have done, slandered an honorable man by cavalierly associating him with an odious and politically radioactive “ism.” But we can think of some Senate Democrats and cable-TV hosts who have.