On her MSNBC show today, Andrea Mitchell accused Republicans of "red-baiting" Chuck Hagel, a reference to tactics most notably associated with the McCarthy period during which people were accused [often accurately, it should be noted] of Communist or affiliated sympathies.
Such cries of McCarthyism have of course become standard liberal fare when it comes to Hagel's confirmation process. View the video after the jump.
Mitchell's guest was Roger Wicker, the mannerly Republican Senator from Mississippi, who calmly deflected Andrea's criticism. Wicker responded that almost all of the debate was appropriate, that Democrats had privately expressed concern to him about Hagel, and that he felt that the questioning had exposed real flaws in the candidate. That said, he wished Hagel well and said he hoped that he will be a very successful secretary.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Do you think that the confirmation battle weakened him? And do you have any regrets about the way that confirmation battle was undertaken by his critics? . . . Shouldn't though some of the critics, some of the people that questioned him, have checked their facts first rather than asking him about whether he deposited $200,000 in an account, whether that money had come from some fictitious groups that don't even exist? I mean, wasn't there a lot of red-baiting and other kinds of, really unfair questions asked in a public forum?