Democratic political commentator Lanny Davis told Newsmax TV's
"America's Forum" on Tuesday that he would vote against Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry if given the chance, but that Perry's indictment reminded him of McCarthyism.
Perry was indicted Friday on charges of abuse of power and coercion. The issue involved his veto of funds for a public integrity unit in Travis County after the drunk-driving conviction of county District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat.
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"I don't particularly agree with Rick Perry. I'd vote against him, if I had a chance. But I wouldn't indict him," Davis, who also served as special counsel to former Democratic President Bill Clinton, said Tuesday.
Davis said the indictment "made me think of McCarthyism," because people assumed "guilt or even wrongdoing" just because an indictment was leveled against someone.
The term "McCarthyism" describes making accusations without evidence, and is named for Republican Sen. Joe McCarthy, who used the tactic in his investigations into alleged communist activities in the 1950s.
Davis broached the Perry indictment in an article in The Hill
, writing, "McCarthyism is McCarthyism — accusation and innuendo and 'investigations' used as surrogates for facts and truth and due process — whether by the left or the right."
"My father taught me about innuendo in the absence of fact ruining lives and, indeed, threatening lives, because McCarthy literally ruined lives," he told Newsmax.
Davis said the Travis County prosecutor's office had a "long history of what seems to be politically motivated prosecution," adding that the Perry indictment "stinks." He said that what was worse was the silence of some lawmakers.
"What I find worst of it is the silence of several Libertarian Democrats who allow politics to presume guilt because of an indictment, which is a meaningless, one-sided accusation by a prosecutor," he said.
Indictment should not mean guilt, Davis said, adding that it was "exactly the opposite, and it defies the presumption of innocence embedded in our Constitution."
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