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Dan Rather: I fear we have a demeanor in chief in the White House now

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As Dan Rather suggests, “I fear we have a demeanor in chief in the White House now. This is not about policy or even politics. This is about a common decency.”

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“You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?”

These are the immortal words of army lawyer Joseph Welch in response to Senator Joseph McCarthy during the communist witch hunts of the 1950s. They are sadly just as apt today.

I do not like rising to the bait of the tweets of President Trump. But this morning’s demeaning, sexist, and scurrilous attack on Mika Brzezinski cannot go unmentioned. I have known Mika for many years. We were colleagues at CBS News and she is a fearless and fair journalist. I also knew her late father, Zbigniew, who was President Carter’s national security advisor. The fact that this attack comes while Mika is still mourning his death only adds to the outrages and disgust.

For years we heard sanctimonious and cynical attacks on President Obama by many in the GOP about how he was demeaning the office of the presidency. Really? Check your twitter feeds folks, for I fear we have a demeanor in chief in the White House now. This is not about policy or even politics. This is about a common decency.

Senator McCarthy once was powerful, and then the fever broke and much of the country saw a small, vile, hateful man. His name is now an epithet for an era of shame in our country’s history.

In that 1954 testimony, the army lawyer Welch added: “”Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.” Imagine if McCarthy had Twitter. There can be no more surprise about the level of cruelty or recklessness we are witnessing today.

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