On Bill Press’ Thursday radio show, simulcasted on Current TV, Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison responded to Florida Republican Rep. Allen West’s accusation that members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are “communist.”
Even though West later claimed the remarks were taken out of context by The Palm Beach Post, Ellison — a co-chair of the progressive caucus — took to the airwaves to challenge West, and likened his comments to former Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s crusade against supposed communist infiltration of the U.S. government.
Ellison echoed U.S. Army head counsel Joseph Welch’s 1954 rebuttal to McCarthy.
“I think that he had us in mind,” Ellison said. “But just like Joe McCarthy was deluded and seeing phantoms and you know, all kinds of crazy stuff, who is the guy that said, ‘Sir, have you no decency?’ OK, so that’s what I feel like saying to my colleague from Florida, from the 22nd Congressional District of Florida, ‘Sir, have you no decency?’”
According to Ellison, his progressive caucus colleagues aren’t as far out of the mainstream as West would have people believe.
“The bottom line is the progressive caucus budget has things in it that Americans really, really want,” Ellison said. “Like, we front load jobs. We have the Buffett rule. We allow the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to expire. We put money in to a youth corps, a parks corps — so we can get young people back on a job. We do the things Americans want to be done. We begin to get ourselves out of Cold War weaponry like this nuclear arsenal. Part of the bill contains the SANE Act, which is Ed Markey’s version of getting us out of the nuclear business since there is no more Soviet Union.”
Ellison added that it is imperative to show voters that West and his ideological brethren are “standing in the way of their good fortune.” (SEE ALSO: Progressive caucus: Allen West ‘childish,’ has ‘no ideals or principles’)
“The fact that he would attack this budget and attack us and call us communists is just a cheap way to try to dismiss but he can’t dismiss because what we are standing for is what the American people really want,” he said. “Just like the Buffett rule that got defeated in the senate the other day, 78 percent of Americans want it. The only thing we got to do is help Americans see that politics have consequences and if not everybody in Washington standing in the way of their good fortune. It is a particular ideological group and Mr. West is part of that group.”