As a student of the origins of Stalinist culture and propaganda, I have become more and more aware of the Stalinist tactics and mentality of much of the American Right since the virulent Clinton-hating publicity campaigns of the 1990s. The words "treason," "traitors," "unity," and "patriotism" are a good place to start in understanding this. Stalin was a great patriot and hunter of "traitors." Accusing political opponents of treason, lack of patriotism, or lack of resolution in the face of an external threat is quintessentially Stalinist. It has become a staple of Republican rhetoric since the September 11, 2001 al-Qaeda massacre.
I've been watching the public discourse sink ever further into a sewer of irrationality and emotional appeals over the last 10 years. The public denunciation of the entire Democratic party as treasonous is a given in mainstream Republican discourse. Why is this acceptable? I understand the political rhetoric is often overheated and just hot air. But how many repetitions of this sort of slime does it take to influence a younger generation into accepting it as a given? I'm always surprised when I run across a person under 30 who is virulently right-wing. I often ask what they read. The usual answer is that they don't; they watch Fox and listen to Rush. It's brainwashing a generation to hate the loyal opposition.
Can anyone think of a case when a Democrat has publically accused the administration or the entire Republican party of treason? My impression is that the Democrat's usually complain about the mismatch between Bush's words and his deeds (ie, he's usually lying, exaggerating, or misleading the public), or they accuse the administration of gross incompetence, cronyism, and policy failure. But treason? No.
If you can't win on the facts, win the propaganda war. It would be interesting to see how the Republicans and the mass media would respond to a charge of treason levelled against, say, Tom DeLay and George II.
My guess is that sauce for the goose WOULD NOT be sauce for the gander.