In History, Politics on May 8, 2012 at 12:00 am

On the last morning of his life–November 22, 1963–President John F. Kennedy found himself accused of treason.

Opening a newspaper in Fort Worth, Texas, he discovered his photograph offered full-face and profile, in the form of a “WANTED” poster.

On page 14 of The Dallas Morning News ran a full-page ad funded by right-wing billionaire H.L. Hunt.  There could be no mistaking its message: “WANTED FOR TREASON”.

Image 1

Under the headline ran the following:

“THIS MAN is wanted for treasonous activities against the United States.

“1. Betraying the Constitution (which he swore to uphold).  He is turning the sovereignty of the U.S. over to the communist controlled United Nations.

“He is betraying our friends (Cuba, Katanga, Portugal) and befriending our enemies (Russia, Yugoslavia, Poland).

“2. He has been WRONG on innumerable issues affecting the security of the U.S. (United Nations-Berlin Wall-Missile removal-Cuba Wheat deals-Test Ban Treaty, etc.)

“3. He has been lax in enforcing Communist Registration laws.

“4. He has given support and encouragement to the Communist inspired racial riots.

“5. He has invaded a sovereign State with federal troops.

“6. He has consistently appointed Anti-Christians to Federal office: Upholds the Supreme Court in its Anti-Christian rulings.  Aliens and known Communists abound in Federal offices.

“7. He has been caught in fantastic LIES to the American people (including personal ones like his previous marriage and divorce).”

Kennedy’s comment: “We’re really heading into nut country today.”

Now, fast-forward almost 49 years–to a May 7, 2012, town-hall meeting for GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Euclid, Ohio.

“We have a president right now who is operating outside the construction of our Constitution,” a female attendee told Romney.

As the audience applauded, she continued: “And I do agree he should be tried for treason.

“But I wanna know what you are going to be able to do to help restore balance between the three branches of government and what you’re going to be able to do to restore our Constitution in this country?”

Unlike John McCain, who in 2008 memorably corrected a woman who declared Obama was “an Arab,” Romney didn’t issue such a correction.  Instead, he chose to simply address the question.

Since the end of World War 11, Republicans have regularly hurled the charge of “treason” against anyone who dared to run against them for office or think other than Republican-sponsored thoughts.

Republicans had been locked out of the White House from 1933 to 1952, during the administrations of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman.

Determined to regain the Presidency by any means, they found that attacking the integrity of their fellow Americans a highly effective tactic.

During the 1950s, Wisconsin Senator Joseph R. McCarthy rode a wave of paranoia to national prominence. On February 9, 1950, he claimed:

“The State Department is infested with communists. I have here in my hand a list of 205—a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department.”

Joseph McCarthy

After four years of such frenzied attacks on Congress, the State Department and respected journalists such as Edward R. Murrow, McCarthy finally overstepped himself. He accused the United States Army of being an active hotbed for Communists.

At the Army-McCarthy hearings, McCarthy’s credibility was forever destroyed. He was finally censured by his fellow Senators and disappeared into anonymity, alcoholism and death in 1957.

The fact that McCarthy never uncovered one actual case of treason was conveniently overlooked during his lifetime.

And today, right-wing columnists like Ann Coulter try to rehabilitate his memory–just as right-wingers in Russia still try to rehabilitate the memory of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

Nevertheless, the success of McCarthy’s treason-charged rhetoric proved too alluring for other Republicans to resist.  Among those who have greatly profited from hurling similar charges are:

• President Richard Nixon
• His vice president, Spiro Agnew
• Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich
• Former Congressman Dick Armey
• President George W. Bush
• Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin
• Congresswoman Michelle Bachman
• Rush Limbaugh
• Glen Beck
• Sean Hannity
• Bill O’Reilly.

The election of Barack Obama pushed the “treason chorus” to new heights of infamy. With no political scandal (such as Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky) to fasten on, the bureaucracy of the Republican Party deliberately promoted the slander that Obama was not an American citizen.

From this there could be only one conclusion: That he was an illegitimate President, and should be removed from office.

Republicans also claimed–sometimes openly, sometimes in secret–that Obama was really a Muslim who intended to sell out America’s security to his Muslim “masters.”

To the dismay of his enemies, Obama–in the course of a single week–dramatically proved the falsity of both charges.

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