Skip to comments.Patrick J. Buchanan: Of "Treason" and Tailgunner Joe
Posted on 07/16/2003 6:37:51 AM PDT by Theodore R.
Of 'Treason' & Tailgunner Joe
Posted: July 16, 2003 1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2003 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
In the 1968 campaign, when Hubert Humphrey said he would end the bombing of North Vietnam, Spiro Agnew said Hubert was "soft on communism." A media firestorm erupted over such "McCarthyism."
Yet, in 1948, Harry Truman had so savaged Tom Dewey that the New York Times ran this headline: "President Likens Dewey to Hitler as Fascist Tool." Was Harry called to account? No. His "Give-'em-Hell-Harry" campaign remains a glorious episode in the archives of liberalism.
Point: What the Left calls McCarthyism smearing an enemy on false or non-existent information has been its stock-in-trade since the Left invented the term to destroy its great antagonist, the ex-Marine and Wisconsin senator known as Tailgunner Joe.
This is a theme of Ann Coulter's brave book, "Treason," which is a heroic defense of that most reviled of patriots. Joe had his flaws and made his mistakes, but on the century's great issue the mortal struggle between America and the evil empire of Lenin and Stalin for control of mankind's destiny Joe was right and his enemies worse than wrong.
Some were traitors, other tolerated treason, others were derelict in their duty to root it out of the republic. And, in part, because of treason and Establishment blindness to it, the fruits of America's victory in World War II were lost. Stalin was allowed to swallow up Eastern Europe, Mao the greatest mass murderer in history seized China by the throat, and Moscow got the atom bomb.
There are three great questions to ask about Joe McCarthy:
First, was Joe right that FDR and the New Dealers were as soft on Stalin as Neville Chamberlain had been on Hitler?
Yes. At Tehran, FDR ceded Poland to Stalin, the nation for which Britain had gone to war, asking only that he not let the word out until after the 1944 election, as FDR needed Polish votes. At Yalta, FDR ceded 10 Christian countries to Moscow, including the Baltic republics Stalin had acquired in his devil's pact with Hitler.
Truman called Stalin "Good Old Joe." When Churchill sought to rouse America with his Iron Curtain speech, Truman, according to his biographer, David McCullough, sent "a letter offering to send the [USS] Missouri to bring [Stalin] to the United States and promising to accompany him to the University of Missouri so that he might speak his mind, as Churchill had." Talk about groveling appeasement.
Second, were the FDR-Truman administrations shot through with traitors? Yes, even more deeply than we knew. Alger Hiss and Lawrence Duggan of the State Department were not only communists but Soviet spies, as was White House aide Lauchlin Currie; Treasury's No. 2 Harry Dexter White, father of the IMF; Judith Coplin, who headed up a spy ring at Justice; and William Remington at Commerce. The atom bomb project was saturated with Stalin's spies, like the Rosenbergs.
Third, was America gripped by a McCarthy-induced "hysteria" in the 1950s? Total nonsense. In Gallup polls of the era, not 1 percent of Americans ever considered "anti-communist hysteria" or McCarthyism to be great concerns. Those afraid of Joe were those who had reason to be afraid for what they had done or failed to do.
The great failing of conservatives, Whittaker Chambers wrote, is that they do not retrieve their wounded. Ann Coulter is not that kind of conservative. Her gutsy decision to argue the case for the most hated enemy of the American Establishment shows true grit and an instinctive sense that the Right cannot, must not, cede the writing of history to its adversaries.
On Joe, Coulter is right. McCarthy was more sinned against than sinning, a better patriot and man than those who brought him down, or deserted him in his hour of need, or those who turn their backs on him today, because the social price of saying a kind word over his grave would be too high.
No other American did more to rouse the nation to fury over the Left's failure to confront, and battle, the 20th-century's greatest enemy of freedom. No man did more to horsewhip out of town the New Deal-Fair Deal Democrats who had frittered away the fruits of victory. In 1952, Republicans swept the House, Senate and White House, and it was Joe McCarthy who led the bayonet charge.
That is why Joe is hated. Not for what he did wrong, but for what he did right. America's young should ask themselves: If Joe McCarthy was such a monster, why did Joe Kennedy back him, the Kennedy girls date him, Robert Kennedy work for him and JFK defend him as a "great patriot" in his year of censure? And why was McCarthy asked to be the godfather to Bobby Kennedy's firstborn?
The postwar era in America was indeed Scoundrel Time, but the scoundrels were the ones Joe was after. And Ann Coulter is a public defender who believes that if the verdict of history is a lie, she will appeal it till hell freezes over. And conservatives should be filing amicus briefs, not hiding in the tall grass.
One of the things I always found entertaining about all this is something the liberals move heaven and earth to try to bury. Joe McCarthy had a couple of lieutenants that did a great deal of heavy lifting. One was a guy by the name of Roy Cohn.
The other was Robert Kennedy. And that's the rest of the story.
Fourth, did McCarthy's tactics advance the cause of anti-Communism by one iota? No.
Sorry, but having one's heart in the right place only counts for liberals.
Somewhere .. in some article or book .. I read a somewhat similar statement:
The function of moderate Republicans is to shoot the wounded.
I can't remember where I read it, but I thought it amusing at the time.
Didn't you read Pat's comment, that they were all thrown out in 1952 with Joe leading the charge?
So is it your point that he should have kept quiet about Communist spying at the highest levels of the U.S. government? Who else was out there advancing the cause of anti-communism?
There's a right way and a wrong way to open one's mouth, and McCarthy opted for the wrong way.
Nixon got things done. McCarthy simply (a) grandstanded and (b) made ALL anti-communists look like grandstanders.
The "right way" is as follows:
1. Don't make allegations unless you're dead certain your right. McCarthy FREQUENTLY violated this rule.
2. Don't make up figures (the ever-shifting number of "card-carrying Communists" in the State Department, for example).
3. Don't wave your laundry list (literally) during a speech and say "I have here a list of Communists in..." Eventually, the fact that you're just waving a list that has two shirts, three pairs of pants, and six boxers will get out.
4. Don't use people of dubious ethics (Roy Cohn, Bobby Kennedy) to do "dirty work." If the work's too dirty for you to do it yourself, it shouldn't be done.
5. Remember that you are supposed to be a good guy. Act like one.
I don't believe he was advancing the cause of anti-communism. He talked about the cause of anti-communism. He reminds me of the Public Health Director Dr. Almus Pickerbaugh in the novel Arrowsmith, who had no better idea about fighting infectious disease than to hold public rallies promoting the notion of health.
Yes, Nixon nailed Alger Hiss but paid for it with the death of a thousand communist cuts climaxing with Watergate. He also enacted the EPA, OSHA, AMTRAK, did away with the draft and created an "independent" (just never any competition!) Postal Service at the behest of an activist Democrat Congress. I'm reminded that Reagan had a Democrat Congress too. Were it not for that embarrassing Hiss business Nixon would probably be a "progressive" hero.
McCarthy was the victim of the first liberal-communist Borking in my memory. It's had a tremendous impact on me. I wish you'd be specific about some of his FREQUENT incorrect allegations.
Do you think anti-McCarthy luminaries said things the "right" way" How about Drew Pearson and the press in general including "journalist" I.F. Stone (a paid Soviet agent), Senator Scott Lucas, Harold Ickes, Lillian Hellman, Sen. William Benton (whose own lawyer called his anti-McCarthy statement so scurrilous it "was the most libelous document he had ever seen;" to mention a few. If Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Buddha and Zoroaster had dared to stand up to entrenched communists in the U.S. government at that time, they'd have been Borked too.
You really should read Coulter's book.
He made it very uncomfortable to be a fellow traveler.
How many more did he get re-elected because he made anticommunists look like flaming nutcases?
Also, kindly note that he "discovered" anti-communism because he was in political hot water for defending members of Kampfgruppe Peiper. Seems that most American voters don't cotton to their Senators supporting people who massacre unarmed POWs.
Think I'll pass bothering to type it all out again. You know the story I am sure.
Liberals thought McCarthy damaged them.
Treason page 119:
( The Liberal) passion of hate for McCarthy had only one cause, candidly explained by Hubert Humphrey:" McCarthy's real threat to American democracy (was) the fact the he has immobilized the liberal movement." So they created a hobgoblin for the masses to fear. . .Read this to get a taste of what McCarthy was fighting.
No, just someone who thought defending SS troops would help him politically.
Yes, comrade, that is the official line. One which keeps being repeated no matter how many people explain what the SS story was all about.
The only defect, so far as I could tell, with the US Army's treatment of Waffen-SS troops captured after December 18th, 1944, was that we didn't just give them Tarleton's Quarter on the spot.
The public didn't care about the SS stuff anyways. That is just another liberal hit on McCarthy.
No, he just wanted them rearmed and aimed east.
Not necessarily a bad idea, but I would've been too Old Testament with SS troops to have any left in my AO.
The public didn't care about the SS stuff anyways.
Those who did care didn't like Tailgunner Joe siding with pond scum. And Tailgunner Joe was looking for an issue to make his own. Not because he actually believed it, but because he was just another political hustler in a town rife with political hustlers.
That is just another liberal hit on McCarthy.
I don't view McCarthy as anything other than another political opportunist.
The broader question that goes far beyond McCarthy is how deep political controversies and demands for orthodoxy should enter into our private lives. It may be that all of the internal security and communist hunting measures were justified in the 1940s and 1950s but just what the boundaries between dissent and disloyalty are is always a living and hotly debated question, now as well as then. I get the feeling Coulter is riding high on the emotions of the moment and not looking at the deeper problems and consequences that highly politicized ages bring with them.
In 1934, the McCormack/Dickstein committee went after conservatives by claiming those opposed to FDR were planning an armed "putsch" to undo the New Deal.
On Feb.11, 1941, Dickstein (D-NY) took to the floor of the House and declared:
One hundred and ten fascist organizations in the United States have had, and have now the key to the back door of the Un-American Activities Committee!Dickstein, by the way, was a Soviet spy.
Please provide an example.
2. Don't make up figures (the ever-shifting number of "card-carrying Communists" in the State Department, for example).
You are the one making things up. please prove McCarthys lists were false.
Have you read Ann Coulter's book?
I agree. I was young at the time (born 1945) but I recall some of the nutjobs who were feeling their oats at that time. Anything not straight from the JBS handbook was "pinko."
I don't know if McCarthy was sincere or politically expedient but his effect was counterproductive, IMO.
. . . Her gutsy decision to argue the case for the most hated enemy of the American Establishment shows true grit and an instinctive sense that the Right cannot, must not, cede the writing of history to its adversaries.
Commercial journalism is the profession of using mass media for influence and profit; its claims of objectivity are self-serving and utterly fatuous.McCarthy was . . . a better patriot and man than . . . those who turn their backs on him today because the social price of saying a kind word over his grave would be too high.
Ann makes the point that the "McCarthyism" "
scollarship" propaganda is all based on secondary sources written by McCarthy's enemies rather than on primary sources.
The objectivity of journalism is bunk--and to the extent that "Journalism is the first draft of history," Henry Ford was precisely right about history.
Is that the shoe that fits??
Ann Coulter is a public defender who believes that if the verdict of history is a lie, she will appeal it till hell freezes over. And conservatives should be filing amicus briefs, not hiding in the tall grass.
The Emperor's New Clothes
and the "Dumb" BlondeSlander beguiled
the wisest child;
no cry of "Treason" made he.
Yet truth be told,
the truth was told--
and by a FOXy lady.
Not year but years.
I'm not sure why that would matter.