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What Howard Dean said about the tea party and race

Columnist George Will writes that former DNC Chair Howard Dean is guilty of 'McCarthyism on the left' for comments made at a Monitor breakfast. But further quotes provide context for Dean's assertion that the tea party is the 'the last gasp of the generation that has trouble with diversity.'

Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean speaks at a Monitor breakfast Jan. 5.

Michael Bonfigli/Special to The Christian Science Monitor

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In his latest column for The Washington Post, George Will has taken on former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean for comments that Mr. Dean made at a recent Monitor breakfast.

The column has created some controversy here in Washington, with Will accusing Dean of “McCarthyism of the left.” In particular, Will takes issue with Dean’s assertion that the tea party movement is “the last gasp of the generation that has trouble with diversity.”

Will writes: “Rising to the challenge of lowering his reputation and the tone of public discourse, Dean smeared Tea Partyers as racist: They oppose Obama’s agenda, Obama is African American, ergo….”

He continued: “Let us hope that Dean is the last gasp of the generation of liberals whose default position in any argument is to indict opponents as racists. This is McCarthyism of the left – devoid of intellectual content, unsupported by data….”

Though the breakfast took place before the shootings in Tucson, Ariz., Will cites Dean’s comments as an example of the sort of “half baked explanations, often serving political opportunism” that has characterized the aftermath of the attacks.

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