Politics: Red Baiting Returns

Red Baiting Returns

It was a throwback to a nastier era of political vituperation. In a report proposing strategies for next year's election, the National Republican Senatorial Committee suggested that Ohio Democrat Howard Metzenbaum had links to left-wing organizations during the 1940s and voters might be persuaded that his "Communist sympathies have found their way onto the Senate floor." One of his purported pinko proposals: setting up a national corporation to purchase and distribute imported oil.

When the Red-baiting tactic was unearthed last week, Metzenbaum denounced it as "lies, innuendos, McCarthyism and stupidity." A red-faced Rudy Boschwitz, the Minnesota Republican who chairs the G.O.P....