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.