Skip to comments.It's Time to Correct the Record on Joseph McCarthy
Posted on 05/02/2014 11:53:56 AM PDT by Kaslin
Dear Victor Davis Hanson,
You suggest in your syndicated column, "Harry Reid: A McCarthy for Our Time," that we "ask Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) the same question once posed to Sen. Joseph McCarthy by U.S. Army head-counsel Joseph N. Welch: 'Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?'"
First, I would like to ask you a question: Are you aware of the context of Welch's showboating remarks?
M. Stanton Evans did the spadework in "Blacklisted by History," his groundbreaking -- no, orbit-reversing -- book about the late Sen. McCarthy, who died in 1957. The book devastates the fact-devoid conventional wisdom (including the "no decency" fable) on McCarthy and reconstructs an evidence-based record. A very different person emerges from Evans' research: a political leader who -- alas for the purveyors of "court history" -- in no way resembles the execrable Harry Reid.
Yes, Welch theatrically denounced McCarthy at a June 1954 Senate hearing for outing Welch's assistant Frederick Fisher as a former member of a Communist front, the National Lawyers Guild. But weeks earlier, on April 16, 1954, Welch himself outed Fisher -- confirming that he'd relieved Fisher from duty over his previous front membership -- in the pages of The New York Times!
It sounds fantastic -- it is fantastic -- but somehow Welch's baseless "no decency" accusation lingers, its staying power derived from wells of pure ignorance, laziness or mendacity. It cries out for correction.
Next, you equate Reid's smear of the peaceful patriots supporting Cliven Bundy as "domestic terrorists" with what you describe as McCarthy's "smearing his opponents with lurid allegations, while questioning their patriotism." Peaceful patriots demonstrating about federal government overreach equals covert Communists infiltrating the federal government? Is that a logical pairing? Which peaceful patriots did McCarthy smear with "lurid allegations," anyway?
I note that despite your being a widely respected historian, the historical record is not a part of this essay. That is, your examples of Reid's allegedly McCarthy-like evil come down to the familiar buzz phrases -- "Have you no decency?" and "lurid allegations," the famous list of names, "un-American."
Take Reid's slander of Mitt Romney as a tax cheat and what you deservedly call Reid's "pathetic rejoinder" on being asked for proof: "I've had a number of people tell me that." You compare that to McCarthy's 1950 list of Communists on the State Department payroll. You write: "One wonders how many names were on Reid's McCarthyite 'tell' list -- were there, as McCarthy used to bluster, 205 names, or perhaps just 57?"
Again, is this an apt historical parallel? Malicious slander against a GOP nominee and allegations about serious security lapses in the State Department? I don't think so. If the implication in your use of the word "bluster" is that McCarthy had no list of names, I'm sorry, but the evidence laid out in "Blacklisted by History" (Chapter 14) tells us otherwise.
Your column continues: "When asked again to document the slur, Reid echoed McCarthy perfectly: 'The burden should be on him. He's the one I've alleged has not paid any taxes.'"
In what instance has "Reid echoed McCarthy perfectly"? Are you implying that McCarthy's investigations into Communists in the federal government were based on evidence of no higher caliber or substance than Reid's wholly unsubstantiated bombast?
Then you ask: "So how does Reid's reckless career continue with the Senate leader avoiding the sort of congressional censure that finally did in McCarthy? Why is there is no progressive muckraker to take on Reid the way that Edward R. Murrow once exposed McCarthy?"
It would be fun to throw a pop quiz at all historians and journalists who write on this issue to see what they really know about the "congressional censure" that "did in" McCarthy. Would they know that out of the original 46 charges against McCarthy, the Senate voted to censure McCarthy on only one single count? And what was that count? McCarthy's alleged stonewalling of the Gillette committee, a fishing expedition into the finances of his family and friends during one of multiple witch-hunt-style investigations the Senate initiated against him.
No doubt it's easier to allude to such events than to explain them. Ditto on how "muckraker" Murrow "exposed" McCarthy. I have a hunch that the punditry's explanation would closely track the synopsis of the completely ahistorical George Clooney movie on Murrow, "Good Night and Good Luck." Instead, I suggest "Blacklisted by History," pages 538 and 539.
Tragically, the recurring and gratuitous slander of the late, great McCarthy prevents Americans from understanding the enormous debt we owe the man for having had the unflagging courage to bring to light the dangerously lax security practices in the federal government that enabled Soviet agents and agents of influence (American traitors) in their extremely successful -- I call it victorious in my book "American Betrayal" -- covert war on this country.
More relevant to our time, so long as we profoundly misunderstand "McCarthyism," I believe we will be unable to protect our Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Meanwhile, it is a plain truth that McCarthy correctly identified more than "a few" Communists in the federal government, as other historians such as Harvey Klehr have written. In fact, McCarthy identified scores of them. In articles for Human Events and Breitbart News, M. Stanton Evans recently tallied up no fewer than 50 (when, for brevity's sake, he stopped counting).
You conclude: "Part Tammany Hall-style fixer, part pre-civil rights Democrat, and part demagogic Joe McCarthy, Harry Reid is a throwback to a type of American politics better left forgotten."
I don't think the demagogy here is McCarthy's.
Ann Coulter in Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism, and M. Stanton Evans in Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies also have both done great work on correcting the liberal lies about Joseph McCarthy.
Everybody remembers McCarthy but only the democrats remember Richard Nixon and what he did to Alger Hiss. Watergate was payback.
That is the well that sup[lies the kool-aid the Demoncrats thrive on.
The media/liberal indoctrination has been so successful most people don't know that McCarthy had nothing to do with Hollywood. His targetswere mostly in the State Department.
Amen! Excellent article. Most libtards still associate Senator McCarthy with HUAC. Morons.
Watergate was payback for exposing a traitor. Hiss was guilty and should have been executed, along with other agents of soviet influence in the government.
And the answer is.......
Senator McCarthy was RIGHT.
” Hiss was guilty “
Not if you ask Anthony Lake or Obama.
“McCarthy’s terrible Hollywood blacklisting as a member of HUAC”
I hope that you also impart the news that the House Committee on Un-American Activities had nothing to do with the Hollywood blacklist.
No congressional body or government office maintained a blacklist or ordered any studio to fire anybody.
The men who drafted and enforced the blacklist were the heads of the studios. They were private citizens who held no government office.
His very praiseworthy service to our nation was as a member of the SENATE Internal Security Committee.
Maligned in life, he was substantially vindicated after his death and that of the Soviet Union by the release of Soviet KGB files co8ntering the hysterical distortions and outright lies of those "Americans" who resented his efforts that soooooo humiliated and exposed their Soviet puppetmasters and/or the objects of their revolutionary affections.
I had not read your #5 when I posted my #11. I should have known that someone would have posted that Joe McCarthy was a US Senator and neither a member of the House or HUAC. My apologies! May God bless you and yours!
“There is also the fact that Joe McCarthy never served in the House of Representatives and therefore never served on the HOUSE UnAmerican Activities Committee.”
Yes, the poster who wrote what I was responding to has his hands full making that fact clear to the uninformed.
My point was the House Committee on Un-American Activities (on which the Senator assuredly didn’t serve) had NOTHING to do with the Hollywood blacklist.
Hollywood blacklisted itself.
They obviously didn’t get the memo that the left has given up on trying to pretend Hiss wasn’t guilty ;-)
Thank you for the article, Joe McCarthy is an American Hero.
Everybody remembers McCarthy because he is still shown as an extremist in every social studies class in America. They are sure to get students to remember him with fear, when in fact he should be a hero, definitely a prophet!
The historians as a whole ignored the new evidence on McCarthy, and he remains a despised figure even by such as the Kennedys and the Bushes.
Joe, they wouldn’t listen even in your own WI.
Who did hollywood blacklist? Anti commies?
After the Hollywood 10 were held in contempt of congress, the major studio heads met at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York in 1947 to do damage control. Here are some of the big cheeses who were there:
Louis B. Mayer: MGM
Harry Cohn: Columbia Pictures
Spyros Skouras: 20th Century Fox
Barney Balaban: Paramount Pictures
Albert Warner: Warner Bros.
William Goetz: Universal-International
Dore Schary: RKO Pictures
After their strategy meeting, they issued a press release known as the Waldorf Statement. Here’s an excerpt from it:
“Members of the Association of Motion Picture Producers deplore the action of the 10 Hollywood men who have been cited for contempt by the House of Representatives...”
“We will forthwith discharge or suspend without compensation those in our employ, and we will not re-employ any of the 10 until such time as he is acquitted or has purged himself of contempt and declares under oath that he is not a Communist...”
“We will not knowingly employ a Communist or a member of any party or group which advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States by force or by any illegal or unconstitutional methods.”
And that was the beginning of the blacklist.
Google “Waldorf Statement” or “Hollywood Blacklist” if you want to read the the whole statement or history in depth. Interesting.