NY Times uses McCarthyism to attack Romney adviser

Not content with savaging Mitt Romney's solid support of Israel, the New York Times now is using McCarthy-type, guilt-by-association tactics to smear Dan Senor, one of the candidate's top foreign-policy advisers.

Senor, the author of "Start-Up Nation," which demonstrates how an entrepreneurial spirit has made Israel a global economic success, helped shape Romney's agenda on his visit to Jerusalem.  That's enough for the Times to go after him with all pejorative guns blazing.

The anti-Senor attack is spread in a four-column article by Michael D. Shear in the Aug. 2 edition ("Adviser Draws Attention to Romney Mideast Policy" plus two photos of Senor on page A10)

Shear starts by telling Times readers that Senor is "one of the key people shaping Mr. Romney's increasingly hawkish views on the Middle East -- a triple threat as an adviser in Mr. Romney's presidential campaign."

The story's alarmist tenor gets amplified as Shear, in not so subtle ways, depicts Senor as Romney's Rasputin - a gray eminence who bears watching for his special influence on the candidate's views of Israel.

"His presence in the tight orbit of advisers around the Republican candidate foreshadows a Romney foreign policy that could take a harder line against Iran, embrace Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move away from being the honest broker in the conflict with the Palestinians," Shear somberly warns.   Senor's cardinal sin is that he doesn't follow the Times' ultra-dovish stance, which would have Israel compromise its basic security with more and more concessions to the Palestinians.

Shear would have preferred that Romney had picked someone else as his top adviser during the Jerusalem visit.  The candidate, he bemoans, "passed over more seasoned strategists, some of them veterans of Middle East peace efforts."  Never mind that they all turned out to be failures.

And then, Shear really lowers the boom. "In Mr. Senor," he writes, "Mr. Romney turned to an advocate of neo-conservative thinking that has tried to push presidents to the right for years on Middle East policy.  His sister, Wendy Senor Singer, runs the Jerusalem office of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, an influential lobbying organization."

With the NY Times, "neo-conservative" is beyond the pale.  But that doesn't suffice.  Shear also has to resort to the ultimate McCarthy tactic of guilt by association -- Senor's sister works for AIPAC in Jerusalem.  To the NY Times, that clinches the argument that there's something downright subversive going on inside Romney's staff.  AIPAC may represent the vast majority of Jewish organizations when it comes to pro-Israel advocacy, but in the eyes of the Times, it's suspect - not kosher.  The Times prefers to go with J Street, an ultra-dovish outfit that keeps pushing President Obama to take an even greater tough-on-Israel stance.

Attacking Senor via his sister's work for AIPAC is despicable.  It's right out of Joe McCarthy's playbook at the historic Army-McCarthy hearings when Joseph Welch, counsel for the Army, admonished McCarthy, "Have you no sense of decency, sir; at long last, have you left no sense of decency."

Like McCarthy, the Times is bereft of decency by lowering itself to the level of the late senator from Wisconsin.