Rest assured that if a leading Republican compared Democrats in Congress to members of a murderous cult, there would be calls for the offender to be shunned in Washington. No amount of apologies would suffice for President Barack Obama, Democrat leaders on Capitol Hill or liberal media pundits.
But John Podesta, newly appointed as a White House aide, apparently can get away with mass character assassination.
Podesta, who worked in former President Bill Clinton's administration, last fall said Republicans are "a cult worthy of Jonestown in charge of one of the houses of Congress."
His smear received little attention at the time. Now that he is set to resume his place at the center of political power, however, Podesta's remark is receiving more attention.
For those who may have forgotten, Jonestown was the commune in Guyana founded by insane, charismatic American Jim Jones during the mid-1970s. In 1978, Jones convinced most of his followers to commit suicide, taking many of their children with them. Many of those who refused were murdered, and only a precious few managed to escape Jones' madness alive. Rep. Leo Ryan, D-Calif., was in Guyana at the time, on a fact-finding mission. He and four others with him were killed.
Podesta has apologized, and seems to think that ought to be an end to the controversy. He ought to be held to the same standards liberal leaders insist Republicans ought to follow.