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Wolf Blitzer should apologize to Allen West

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CNN’s Wolf Blitzer played the role of wise guy during a segment last Thursday on Rep. Allen West and communism. West “sounds like McCarthy,” Blitzer said, referring to his allegations of communists in Congress. The comment was designed to ridicule West, a combat veteran of the Iraq War and a man considered by many Republicans to be vice-presidential material. Blitzer urged West to issue a public apology.

But Blitzer is the one who should apologize, for he did not offer West’s comments in context. Blitzer also ignored clear and convincing evidence that the Communist Party USA, once funded by Moscow, regards the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Democratic Party as allies in the “struggle” for socialism in the U.S.

“What’s the difference between the CPUSA and progressive Democrats?” asked CPUSA writer Dan Margolis. “The CPUSA has worked to get Democrats elected, fought for health care reform with the public option, and embraced most of what organized labor has been doing.”

In the article, described as part of the discussion leading up to the Communist Party USA’s 29th National Convention in 2010, he goes on, “The strategy is pro-active, as well. Having looked at the current troubles, and the demoralization that has occurred since the 2008 elections, our line is even more important: Obama and the Democrats are not the enemy; they represent better possibilities for working people than the Republicans.”

If anything, then, West understated the problem. The CPUSA is working through the Democratic Party as a whole, as well as the Obama Administration. And we have their admission of all of this.

Addressing West’s remarks about communism, Blitzer, the CNN host of “The Situation Room,” said, “There’s virtually no,” before cutting himself off in mid-sentence and referring to the collapse of communism in Russia. He must have stopped, knowing that it would be foolish to say communism itself was dead when the world had been transfixed by the spectacle of the communist North Korean regime launching another missile.

It would also seem preposterous to talk about the collapse of communism internationally when, in addition to North Korea, there are communist regimes in China and Cuba.

And if there is no communist presence in the U.S. today, then why did a spokesman for the Communist Party USA give a quote to POLITICO denouncing West?

Blitzer showed his guests, Democratic strategist Maria Cardona along with Republican strategist Bay Buchanan, partial footage of West’s remarks: “I believe there are 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party.”

Buchanan said, “I would almost like to see what he said following that and did he explain it?”

Well, of course he did. And Blitzer would finally acknowledge that the West quote was about the progressive caucus in Congress. However, Blitzer wasn’t convinced: “But you agree, when he says members of the Communist Party, members of the—he should apologize. He should take it back.”

Blitzer used the phrase “sounds like McCarthy” in order to mock West and imply that the Florida Congressman was smearing the reputations of innocent people. This is the commonly accepted liberal definition of McCarthyism. It bears repeating that the communist threat was much greater than even Senator Joseph McCarthy had feared. The Venona transcripts of communications among Soviet spies in the U.S., many recruited by the Communist Party, and Moscow, demonstrated as many as 350 infiltrators, including numerous high-level government officials. 

With some prominent exceptions such as Democratic Rep. Danny Davis, who recently received an award from the CPUSA, members of Congress do not advertise their work or affiliations with the party these days. However, as West noted, the party has referred to “our allies in Congress, the Progressive Caucus, and John Conyers,” the Congressman from Michigan who participated in events sponsored by the U.S. Peace Council, the CPUSA front. Members of the CPUSA call themselves “progressives.”

Communist writer Dan Margolis himself noted, “…the fact that people confuse us with progressive Democrats is good; it means that we’ve tapped into mainstream sentiment; we’re not off in left field.”

Now that Rep. West has made that same point in a public venue, the CPUSA and the Congressional Progressive Caucus are crying foul. West deserves credit, not scorn, for highlighting a real problem in Washington, D.C.

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