Spirit of '47


Eric Alteman observes a like-father-like-son moment today; here's smilin' Bill Kristol on GWB in the Washington Post:

But the American people, whatever their doubts about aspects of Bush?s foreign policy, know that Bush is serious about fighting terrorists and terrorist states that mean America harm. About Bush?s Democratic critics, they know no such thing.

Now here's poppa Irving on Tailgunner Joe in the pages of Commentary:

For there is one thing that the American people know about Senator McCarthy; he, like them, is unequivocally anti-Communist. About the spokesman for American liberalism, they feel they know no such thing.


NEXT: Just Say Nano

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  1. The common attitude expressed towards Democrats and liberals somehow made me think of Lady MacBeth’s chastisement of hubby for not being man enough.

  2. Lest everyone forget there actually were Soviet spys in our government and in the American Communist Party( maybe there still is, who knows). I don’t have a very high opinion of either Kristol but Irving was right about McCarthy.

  3. Well, he’s right in that McCarthy was anti-Communist, I suppose. But since his claim to fame is a self-aggrandizing campaign that harassed a lot of basically harmless people who had stupid politics without catching actual Soviet spies, I don’t know that this exculpates him.

  4. “without catching actual Soviet spies”?

    Are you serious?

  5. found this on lewrockwell.com:

    I’m not saying McCarthy was some great statesman or something, but he appears to be right about soviets in our government.

  6. Clever enough on Alterman’s part, I suppose, although I don’t know how his transmission made it out of the conservative-controlled media gulags. I must speak to the guards about stepping up the beatings. In any case, it’s possible that the two statements say as much about the Democrats as they do about GWB, McCarthy, or either of the Kristols.

  7. Ok, fine, Mary Jane Keeney, who the FBI already knew about. But McCarthy set back serious anti-communism by using the issue to boost his career. The fact that there were Communists in government doesn’t mean that McCarthy was accurate or responsible in his specific accusations.

  8. I?m just plinking around here at work between things so I?ll do some more research when I get home but Smokin? Joe?s record on exposing Commies was better than what Julian is portraying.

    Plus, we have to remember that the stated purpose for Joe?s hearings wasn?t to convict anyone of espionage, only to expose government employees who were affiliated with the Communist party.

    Also, doesn’t this make Julian 0 for 1 on accuracy? Not even 10 posts into a thread and he’s already had to retract a supposedly factual statement.

  9. What retraction? Julian said that McCarthy didn’t catch any Soviet spies. Fingering one spy who had already been caught doesn’t count.

  10. And neither the Alteman?s screed nor Julian?s thread is trying to prop up any old McCarthyism myths.

  11. “Ok, fine, Mary Jane Keeney”…

    And the sky isn’t blue and the earth isn’t flat.

  12. What’s this about ’47 anyway?

    The article in question was from ’52 and Joe wasn’t elected until ’47 which predates his “Era of McCarthyism.”

  13. What about Mins, Remington, Duran, Bisson, Belfrage, and Franz Newman, all named by McCarthy?

  14. And regardless of McCarthy?s overall score, the fact is that our government was replete with Soviet spies and Communist party members so this seems to be more about McCarthy?s personality.

    ?Well, yeah the last two administrations had Soviet spies in the highest echelons but that ol? Joe was just too much of a jerk so it evens out.”

    Nice. Ad hominem always brings out the intellectual in everyone.

  15. Wow. Throw a few facts out and the riff-raff scatter like roaches when the lights come on.

  16. matt:

    The post wasn’t about McCarthy, it was about plagiarism.

  17. Well, people tend to forget that there were American spies in the Soviet government, and of course the American Communist Party at one point had more FBI informers than simple members. McCarthy attacked “Communism,” (I maintain that the USSR was never a Communist state) whoopty-shit. Lots of people attacked “Communism,” but McCarthy’s demagogic style, his willingness to flat out lie concerning the number of communists in the American government (remember those unsubstantiated shifting numbers), did very little in the end to defeat Communism, and even helped many communists, fellow-travellers, as well as innocents, gain the sympathy of the American people.

  18. “McCarthy’s demagogic style, his willingness to flat out lie”. . .

    Ad hominem drivel. Point remains that the US govt was deeply infiltrated with Soviet spies and the most powerful men in the Democratic party and at that time, the nation itself, not only ignored it but even promoted them and demonized those who pointed it out.

    “and even helped many communists, fellow-travellers, as well as innocents, gain the sympathy of the American people.”

    So which was it? Did McCarthy ruin lives and reputations or did curry favor for the Commies with the American people? You can’t have it both ways.

  19. Judging from Julian’s first post and his subsequent factual errors I think he has McCarthy confused with HUAC.

    The “H” in HUAC of course stands for “House” and as all of us scholars know, McCarthy’s title was that of Senator.

    It should also be noted, at least for Julian, that Senator McCarthy had tried to keep names from the public and only name them in closed committee but the Democrats wouldn’t let him. The “name names” mythology that is attached to Joe was actually a creation of the Dems.

  20. So Soviet spies were rampant in the govt, McCarthy was both responsible for exposing Communists in the US govt and providing enough pressure to discourage future Democrat Presidents from employing quite so many Soviet spies and he did this all while avoiding self-aggrandizing politics as shown by his attempts to keep the juicy stuff in closed committees.

    What was Julian’s point anyway?

  21. Gimme a break, Ray. Far as I know, the one person McCarthy named later confirmed to have been a bonafide Soviet agent was Keeney, and naming someone the FBI was already on to doesn’t count as “catching” in my book. If I’m in error, though, by all means, enlighten me. Name another confirmed Soviet spy McCarthy named.

    And to the anonymous poster: the whole point is that McCarthy didn’t actually expose any spies, and while he hit on a couple of people who attended Party meetings, he swept up so many innocents in the process that he discredited the perfectly worthy cause of finding genuine communists in government posts.

  22. The demonization of innocent people was never a regrettable side effect of McCarthy’s witch hunts, but their purpose from the beginning. The issue of Soveit spies was brought up for the purpose of scoring political points against Democrats by accusing men like George Marshall of being communist subversives. George Marshall!

    Fascist John Birch freaks.

  23. wow I didn’t realize that not hating that that evil McCarthy made me a “fascist John Birch freak” Now I know…thanks for setting me straight joe.

  24. To look upon the damage that man did, and think it is ok, requires mental derangement or fascist political leanings.

  25. What I find striking is how many of these comments are defending Joe McCarthy.

  26. But since his claim to fame is a self-aggrandizing campaign that harassed a lot of basically harmless people…

    Don’t know if that’s strictly true but I recall it being true of some using McCarthy’s statements as an excuse to take the next step.

    …and naming someone the FBI was already on to…

    Generally overlooked is that McCarthy had to have gotten his information from somewhere. That there was a “somewhere” indicates that the situation was known.

  27. …or simple misconception.

  28. Whether there were spies in the State Dept. or not (almost certainly yes), the fact that George II is being praised in terms similar to those of McCarthy’s acolytes should scare the Hell out of right-thinking people everywhere.
    It should also delight Republicans.

  29. Alterman stole this from Jonah Goldberg in “The Corner” (posted at 11:20 yesterday). Go there for a little more context.

  30. Is this the right room for bungling a guy’s surname? AlteRman, dude.

    “There is a great deal of this going on right now, but even I would have been reluctant to go so far. But there it is.”

    Yeah. Your reluctance is everywhere in evidence there Mr. A. Just reticent as [heck].

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