Sprinkle Lightly, Then Stir
McCarthyism McCarthyism: the practice of fancying up random cultural or political screeds by inserting the magic word.
At long last, have you all no shame?
Invent another actually appropriate term or keep your thoughts to yourselves.
Bringing The Stupid 24/7
Owen Lattimore & The Absence Of Evidence.
Often cited, little understood, Venona was an American effort to decode 1940s Soviet espionage cables which was only declassified in the 1990s. Oodles of agent and contact names poured forth, and the McCarthy-Was-Right industry got new tires.
Eruptions of whining now surface periodically, in which McCarthy enthusiasts offer mock pleas over how come these liberal communists won’t confess their sins.
Owen Lattimore is dragged into this fanciful historicizing, usually via the formula that Venona proves there were Soviet agents, which resembles McCarthy’s claims, then a quick dash back to the McCarran Committee’s crackpot theories for the “conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy” money quote.
But just as Lattimore became McCarthy’s top Soviet agent in the State Department without actually working there, in this world he’s proven guilty by the Venona papers, dispite never appearing in them.
As our greatest public intellectual Donald Rumsfeld avers, “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”
The Western Imagination
Diana West supplies this week’s “McCarthy Was Right” entry, with a spirited version of a beloved old chestnut:
new evidence proves Lattimore was guilty of something all along!
West has a book review/interview with our old pal Stanton Evans, who paired with the tireless Herbert Romerstein recycled his Blacklisted By History McCarthy apologia into an exciting new package: Stalin’s Secret Agents: The Subversion of Roosevelt’s Government.
The usual lies have been assembled, especially our favorite, that Owen Lattimore caused Pearl Harbor:
“Thus did the policies promoted in official U.S. circles by [Harry Dexter] White, [Lauchlin] Currie, and [Owen] Lattimore dovetail with those advanced by the [Richard] Sorge-[Hotsumi] Ozaki network in Japan – all converging toward the result that there would be no American-Japanese rapprochement and, even more to the point, no Japanese attack on Russia.”
Owen did it by sending FDR a memo, single-handedly causing the wily plutocrat to drop talks with Japan and drift into war.
This sort of stuff used to be left to the openly crazed, but you work with what you have.
Especially fun is West and Evans bemoaning their inability to move the public with spy tales:
“Evans mimics the usual reaction to the specter of historical Communist penetration: “ `Well, this thing was overblown, there wasn’t a big problem, these people were persecuted.’ The new evidence, he continues, “challenges this so they dismiss it. We’re dealing with an establishment mindset that is impervious to refutation – to fact. It’s like throwing popcorn at a battleship.””
Which particular rocks these two live under is unclear, but even liberal fever wet dream The West Wing covered this territory. Who can forget the sprightly episode where “Sam” [pretty boy Rob Lowe] is devastated to learn that a dead accused liberal commie spy was GUILTY!
There, he said it!
So You Can Slander A Fabulist!
Possibly feeding the insane rage causing right-wingers to sputter “New McCarthyism” when called out on things they’ve really said, a tiresome Internet meme slandering McCarthy is in endless circulation.
Everybody’s Pickin’ On Joe
Actually not. Never said it, wasn’t in the practice of issuing posters, actual or imaginary.
Feel The Awesome Power Of Social Media!
Pride & Prejudiced
A new low in the crusade against “New McCarthyism,” the shape-shifting menace that means whatever you want it to mean. Now even Nazis are whining about it!
From Stormfront, home of “White Pride World Wide” comes a racist loser linking to a New York Post article, a standard issue “I’m offended that black person called me/we/them racist” story, enlivened with the stirring “New McCarthyism” claim.
Why “New?” Because Irony! The clowns rolling out the “New McCarthyism” want to spruce up your granddad’s tired old McCarthyism in order to attack the Left, or what they pretend to see as the Left, by accusing them of using the old red baiters toolkit. Their examples are usually come from toothless halfwits as opposed to Senate Committee Chairmen, but we must not waver in the fight.
Let’s savor the Post’s Have You No Decency Of Today:
It’s the new McCarthyism. Just as Sen. McCarthy, in the early 1950s, suspected a communist in every flowerpot, he’d cause lasting defensive wounds in all his targets, regardless of his accuracy. Not that he got it all wrong. But he was reckless, indiscriminate, thus within three years, he was dismissed as a political arsonist.” [More like five years, but upbeat System Working tales can’t pause for detail]
Exciting to see that the term has been so degraded that Klan and Nazi types feel free to adopt it.
Poor Ellen Schrecker takes the hit in this market place of ideas.
From the vaults of marvelouseessays.com we have a paper-mill write up of Joe McCarthy, and the quality is clear.
Why study this era?
What were the Reds up in this period?
No one was spared:
“The speeches from communists were regarded as friendly witnesses following the fact they disclosed a considerate number of people who were allegedly accused of holding views of the left-wing group (Schrecker, 2002). It is however believed that before the accusations were accepted, some kind of torture was inflicted to them. As a follow up, the nineteen named communists were arrested.”
Members of Congress were cowed as well:
“the nature of the panicky life they lived during this era diminished their audacity to play their role effectively. A hefty number of senators were afraid to talk against the man due to the fear that he might attack them and give false allegations against them as being communist (Schrecker, 2002).”
And American peasants were among McCarthyism’s victims:
No word on kulaks.
Despite the sales pitch reading like bad translation word salad, we’re assured that “You do not have to worry about grammar.”
And that touch of swank only a Brit can provide comes with a 5% markup.
The Tooth Fairy Says Grover’s Over!
Daryl Rowland, functionary for an earnest entity called The Civic Commons, pardons Republican pols past and present for just about Everything.
“In the same way that McCarthyism now largely overshadows the early days of the Eisenhower administration, the W. Bush and Obama years will be seen as the stage on which Grover Norquist’s domination of domestic policy took place.”
Pretty much content and context free “problem solving” like Rowland’s requires magical bipartisan fairies to come together, and for that to occur you’ve got to absolve office holders of complicity in McCarthyism & Groverism.
Writing of course for the Huffington Post, Rowland finds that much Republican anti-tax rhetoric been insincere! All the while apparently they were prisoners of Grover Norquist’s “simple, clean narrative,” but now everything’s going to be great! Lions of the Senate like Saxby Chambliss have dropped hints they might like some new money in the till, and Rowland proclaims an new Era of Good Feeling.
While for some reason name-checking Cardinal Richelieu, Rasputin, Steve Jobs and the Wicked Witch of the West.
Right From The Start
It didn’t take, but fifty one years ago Republicans had a bit of fun with Jack Kennedy in office, when he started making noises about right-wing extremists.
Naturally they used Smilin’ Jack’s silky words against him.
Before he went on to become Joe Mccarthy’s bipartisan Senate pal, the youthful Representative John F. Kennedy was a pioneer in the theory that China was “lost” right here in the USA, and he pointed the finger at our man Owen Lattimore.
Chiang Kai-Shek wasn’t completely finished in early 1949, but things didn’t look good for the Generalissimo. And Kennedy offered an early version of what became [and remains] a popular right-wing trope, that China was “lost” due to undermining by pointy-headed liberals or worse back home.
” So concerned were our diplomats and their advisers, the Lattimores and the Fairbanks, with the imperfections of the diplomatic system in China after 20 years of war, and the tales of corruption in high places, that they lost sight of our tremendous stake in a non-Communist China.”
Note that the “corruption in high places” was only “tales.”
Nailing Kennedy was a bust. He and McCarthy had at least a consistent if crackpot theory. By the 60s Republicans were reduced to He-Did-It-Too-ism, saying Kennedy once calling out Commies in high places meant red hunting was forever in season.