Whitehouse’s Attacks on Private Groups

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Rhode Island Democrat U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has repeatedly shown that he’s got no problem using government to go after people and groups he perceives as political enemies.  He’s sympathetic to the literal conspiracy of attorney generals to prosecute those who take a different view on the question of climate change, and now he’s coordinating a smear campaign from the floor of the Senate.

Whitehouse’s office circulated assignments for his fellow Democrat senators for a two-day extravaganza of attacking private center-right think tanks and advocacy groups, from the local (Nevada Policy Research Institute) to the national (Heritage Foundation), from the morally focused (Acton Institute) to the libertarian (Reason Foundation).

To be sure, much of this is the pure stagecraft of politics, but it ought to, in any event, make us a little uncomfortable.  The senators are using a government podium to embark on a coordinated attack on Americans, dividing the country as if their domestic opposition is the real enemy.  One could suggest that it would be incorrect to see Whitehouse as representing all of Rhode Island.  He represents a specific worldview, and he’ll use our money and other resources to advance that worldview and impose its conclusions on everybody who live within the borders of his reach.

English has multiple words by which to describe that sort of behavior.



  • Mike678

    The man is an embarrassment….

  • Russ

    “Whitehouse’s office circulated assignments for his fellow Democrat senators for a two-day extravaganza of attacking private center-right think tanks and advocacy groups…”

    Is this blog receiving funding from those organizations or their corporate sponsors? How many of your “adjunct scholars” have ties to those groups? Not disclosing those ties in a piece like this kind of says it all.

    • OceanStateCurrent

      Is this blog receiving such funding? Not of which I’m aware, but it says pretty much nothing either way. I hardly need to disclose the point of view of this site, and most readers will understand that it is in sympathy (generally and specifically on the matter of climate change) with most of the listed groups. Whether they have, do, or will help to fund our sympathetic activities adds no significant context. Indeed, it would even be a matter for debate whether Whitehouse’s activities help or hurt them.

      What really says it all is that you, like a typical progressive, go right for irrelevant distractions in a way that implies that only financial benefit could make one object to U.S. senators (working, note, with activists on the other side) behaving in this way.

      • Russ

        Now you’re parsing words, you’re paid for by the same folks but “this blog” is not? And I disagree, this is exactly the issue: casting light on the front-groups that are engaged in a coordinated disinformation campaign.

        Let me get this straight, you think Senators should never use their office to “attack” private organizations?

  • Mike678

    Mostly true….but he does provide a great example of how the self-serving rationalize their behavior.

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