Imagine the Radical in front of the Senate Committee on Disloyal Activity. She is being questioned by Senator McCarthy-Cain, a ranking Republican member of the committee who has aspirations for Higher Office.
Senator McCarthy-Cain: "Are you or have you ever been a friend or acquaintance of someone who took violent action against the United States government?"
TR: "Yes, Senator, I have."
Senator McCarthy-Cain: "And is it not true that you write a blog called Tenured Radical?"
TR: "Yes, Senator, I do."
Senator McCarthy-Cain: "And is it not also true that you have worked for the election of Barack HUSSEIN!! Obama?"
TR: "Yes Senator, I have."
Senator McCarthy-Cain (adjusts glasses to allow for a pregnant pause; the only sound is the snapping of camera shutters): "I see. Let the record show demonstrated proof between Barack Obama, radical propaganda and domestic terrorism."
TR: "Senator, I hardly --"
Senator McCarthy-Cain: "You are OUT OF ORDER Dr. Radical. Don't force me to hold you in contempt. Now, to return to your personal connections to domestic terrorism. As I understand it, you support, and have relationships with, members of the terrorist group formerly known as the Weather Underground?"
TR: "Senator, I have met these people at parties, but I have no connection to Weatherman, which is defunct. I do know people, and people who know people, who were active in Weatherman over thirty-five years ago, if that is the question. For example, I once attended a fundraiser for a prison education project some years back where I met Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers. Ms. Dohrn was wearing a hot little leather mini-skirt, as I recall, and looked damned good for a woman who was at least sixty at the time. And I might add, Senator, that the only reason such fundraising was necessary was that in 1995 you and your Republican colleagues prohibited the use of public money for educating prisoners, the only documented form of rehabilitation that consistently prevents recidivism."
Senator McCarthy-Cain: "Please just answer the questions and do not distract the committee with irrelevant information, Professor Radical. Now, do you have any other connections to Weatherman?"
TR: "Senator. I have repeatedly said: like Senator Obama, I am not connected to Weatherman, and was in high school while they were most active. But I am involved with a great many people in the school reform movement in the New York, Boston, and Chicago areas, many of whom are the children of former communists, most of whom are former activists from 1960s social justice work, such as the civil rights, welfare rights and anti-war movements; and some of whom have parents who were blacklisted because of your political ancestor, Senator McCarthy. The vast majority of the Weather Underground people I am acquainted with have gone into non-violent social reform projects, some of them inside prisons where they will remain for the rest of their lives, and some in public schools and community education projects. I have met, or know people who have met, a number of associates of Mr. Ayers from Weatherman, people who I decline to name. I have reviewed Cathy Wilkerson's memoir, and others like it on my blog. But these associations, Senator, are honorable ones, and they are not unusual among academics, politicians and social reformers in metropolitan areas. As a member of your own party involved in school reform said yesterday on National Public Radio, she and other Republicans also know Mr. Ayers well; he administered a major education grant for the Annenberg Foundation; and it is impossible to be involved in school reform in the Chicago area without working with, or doing business, with Mr. Ayers. 'It's ridiculous,' this Republican activist said. 'There is no reason at all to smear Barack Obama with this association. It's nonsensical, and it just makes me crazy. It's so silly.'"
Senator McCarthy-Cain: "And from my notes here, I see that you have also taught Bill Ayers' memoir Fugitive Days to a class of impressionable Zenith undergraduates? And a memoir by Jane Alpert called Growing Up Underground?"
TR: "Yes Senator."
Senator McCarthy-Cain (beginning to unloose his famous temper, causing his voice to go up a notch): "And can you describe to me, Professor Radical, why these would be suitable readings for a college course, and why you are in any way suited to teaching college history?"
TR: "Yes Senator, I can. It was a course on political violence, and I was using books that are published by major publishing houses and that are publicly available to everyone in bookstores and on the internet. I taught these books right before I taught your memoir, in which you justify your participation in a protracted bombing campaign over North Vietnam, a campaign in which you helped to slaughter innocent civilians as part of an illegal war."
The Chamber erupts in chaos. Will the Radical be convicted of contempt of Congress? Will she be hounded from her tenured position at her beloved Zenith? Will the media ever make a connection between Senator McCarthy-Cain's attacks on Barack Obama and a long tradition of red-baiting, and politically paranoid smear tactics generated by the right wing of the Republican party? Will Senator McCarthy-Cain be able to deflect attention from his own, and his running mate Sarah Palin's moral lapses and documented corruption by once again trying to link a centrist, African-American man with terrorist agendas he has nothing to do with? Stay tuned for the next episode of Are You Or Have You Ever Been!