Former Dem Rep. Obey accuses GOP Senate candidate of McCarthyism

Wisconsin Senate candidate and businessman Eric Hovde's (R) recent remarks to The Hill that Rep. Tammy Baldwin's (D-Wis.) political philosophy is based in "communism" amounts to McCarthyism and should disqualify him from serving in the Senate, according to former Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.).

Hovde told The Hill last week that Baldwin's "philosophy has its roots in Marxism, communism, socialism, extreme liberalism."

Obey, the fiery former head of the House Appropriations Committee, reached out to The Hill with an angry response, comparing Hovde's "shameful comments" to those of former Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-Wis.), famous for his anti-communist witch hunts.

"Long before Eric Hovde was born, and long before he moved to Wisconsin to run for U.S. Senate after spending the last 24 years in Washington, D.C., working as a hedge fund banker, Wisconsin had a U.S. senator who, like Eric Hovde, made shameful comments about his opponents. His name was Joe McCarthy and he held the seat that Mr. Hovde is seeking," Obey said in a statement to The Hill. "Either Mr. Hovde's comments represent a viciousness and nastiness that voters are sick and tired of, or they represent an appalling ignorance of Wisconsin history where Bob La Follette founded Progressivism with the belief that government must keep the powerful big boys honest.'

Obey wasn't done.

"Clearly, Hovde's uninformed reading of Wisconsin history — he hasn’t learned the shameful lesson of McCarthyism — disqualifies him to represent the people of Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate," he continued. "I am confident the people of Wisconsin will teach that lesson to him."

Hovde's campaign stood by his comments and attacked Obey.

"The hyper-partisan opinions of a career politician like Congressman Obey who spent 42 years in Congress spending our nation to the brink of an economic collapse are of no concern to our campaign," Hovde spokesman Sean Lansing told The Hill. "His comments seem to be just the latest attempt by the Baldwin campaign to distract Wisconsin voters from her dismal record in Washington."

Obey supports Baldwin's Senate run but has not been involved at all in her campaign.