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Is Ted Cruz the new McCarthy?

Updated

New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer on Friday became the latest to ask if Texas freshman Sen. Ted Cruz is the new Joseph McCarthy, the man who infamously accused countless individuals of communism based on no evidence.

Sen. Barbara Boxer and msnbc’s own Chris Matthews have made similar insinuations about Cruz after his aggressive questioning of Chuck Hagel and factually inaccurate allegations. But it turns out Cruz accused his own alma mater (Harvard Law School) of “harboring a dozen Communists”–and that discovery adds another plank to the argument.

In the speech, given at an Americans for Prosperity event in Texas, Cruz claimed, “There were fewer declared Republicans in the faculty when we were there than Communists! There was one Republican. But there were 12 who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government.”

Regardless of the topic he’s talking about, Cruz clearly has a habit of making claims with little factual basis. Of the four most recent times he’s been checked by Politifact, he’s received two “half-true” grades, one “false” and a “pants on fire,” the latter for his claim that Hagel’s nomination “has been publicly celebrated by the Iranian government.” His best rating has been “mostly true” and it came only when he described statements his opponent had said about him, and in one strange instance, that included said opponent, David Dewhurst, calling him a “Red Chinese Communist.”

It’s worth noting that Cruz is not the only Republican to gin up a red scare in recent years. Recently ousted Congressman Allen West told a crowd last year he’d “heard” that there were as many as 80 communists in Congress, all Democrats, of course.

Is Ted Cruz the new McCarthy?

Updated