WOULD any sane politician (there's an oxymoron for you! ever express admiration for the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy? Not likely. And yet it appears President Bush, if not an admirer of McCarthy, is at least an emulator of the hate-mongering junior senator from Wisconsin.
Consider statements by officials of the Bush-Quayle campaign and other Republicans that Bill Clinton raised taxes anywhere from 43 to 128 times while governor of Arkansas. The president himself mentioned the 128 figure in his acceptance speech to the Republican National Convention in Houston. The New Republic's Michael Kinsley studied the "hilariously shoddy" list of alleged Clinton tax hikes and determined that the number is around 55 -- far below the number of federal tax increases enacted during the Bush presidency.
As Mr. Kinsley also suggests, the Republican citations of Clinton tax hikes are frighteningly reminiscent of Joe McCarthy's claims that a certain number of communists -- he, too, had trouble settling on a figure -- had infiltrated the State Department after World War II.