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Joe McCarthy: American Hero

There has been a very interesting little project among the right wing over the last few years to resurrect the reputation of Sen. Joe McCarthy, whose anti-communist witch hunt helped destroy so many lives. Phyllis Schlafly thinks he’s a hero:

Caller: I remember learning in school about McCarthyism, and they demonized him, essentially, is what they did. And probably he was more of a hero than he was a villain. So I just wanted to get you guys’ take on that. Thanks.

Schlafly: Well, plenty of us thought he was a hero. What about you, David Noebel?

Noebel: I think he was a hero. Now look, I was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Remember, he was from Appleton, Wisconsin, just 20 miles away. He was a hero.

And did you know we’re now a communist country?

Noebel: If you read the manifesto, the Communist Manifesto, written in 1848, Marx and Engels come out with no God, no private property, no family – traditional family – no inheritance, graduated income tax, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. In fact, if you read the ten planks of the Communist Manifesto, you’ll be surprised at how we have nearly moved into every one of those areas. And later on, about 1958, Cleon Skousen came out with a book called “The Naked Communist,” and he listed 45 goals in 1958 of the communists and today we have nearly fulfilled every one of them. So people say, ‘This can’t happen.’ But it’s happening right in front of us. Right in front of us, and we can’t even…we just don’t seem to see it.

And they would have gotten away with it if not for those pesky wingnuts.

Comments

  1. MikeMa says

    McCarthy as hero is as much as I can tolerate of that insanity. I would say that Schlafly is getting senile but she really hasn’t changed her tune in 40 years. Nuts then, nuts now.

  2. Brownian says

    Now look, I was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Remember, he was from Appleton, Wisconsin, just 20 miles away. He was a hero.

    Isn’t that the spirit of conservative thought? “He was from nearby and he looked like me. Therefore, awesome.”

  3. cafeeineaddicted says

    Well, McCarthy is as much of a hero as these loons think Schlafly is, at the very least.

  4. matty1 says

    I looked up the ten planks of the communist manifesto to see which I had heard of being in place in the US. My conclusions are below but then I am a furriner so may have missed something.

    I make it one of the ten (free education for children) that you have, one that depends on how you define terms (heavy progressive tax)and one I didn’t know how to answer as it combines several things.

    1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes. No
    2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. Debateable, depends on what counts as a heavy tax
    3. Abolition of all right of inheritance. No
    4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels. No
    5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly. No, the existence of a national bank is not enough to meet this plank, it calls for an exclusive monopoly on credit
    6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State. No
    7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan. Debateable, this one is hard to answer as it covers multiple points
    8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture. No
    9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the population over the country. No
    10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form and combination of education with industrial production. Yes

  5. says

    It’s almost funny that many of the reasons I considered McCarthy a villain play prominent roles in why I considered Stalin a villain. We’re still facing the destruction of our freedoms at the hands of kangaroo courts controlled by witch hunters, and historical lunatics like McCarthy are giving today’s wingnuts the precedents they want to undermine civilization.

  6. says

    On the topic of historical revisionism and wingnut postmodernism, I ended up remembering a little conversation that took place on Deep Space Nine:

    Dr. Bashir: “Of all the stories you told me, which ones were true and which ones weren’t?”
    Garak: “My dear Doctor, they’re all true.”
    Dr. Bashir: “Even the lies?”
    Garak: “Especially the lies.”

  7. erichoug says

    Why would anyone in their right mind give a shit what Phyllis Schlafly thinks? The only thing more pathetic than Phyllis is her half-wit son.

    Although I do occasionally read conservapaedia at lunch when I need a laugh.

  8. says

    “Last few years?” Where have you been? I’ve been hearing libertarians calling their opponents “communists” and “Stalinists” since 1978. They may not be calling McCarthy a “hero,” but they’ve clearly never abandoned his tactics. Unreformed McCarthyists and rabid “anti-communists” are just one of the reactionary interest-groups that make up the libertarian base. (What is Randism, if not an insane reaction to Communism and anything that even looks remotely like Communism?)

  9. Chiroptera says

    Ed Brayton: There has been a very interesting little project among the right wing over the last few years to resurrect the reputation of Sen. Joe McCarthy….

    I remember back in 1989 or 1990 or so reading an op-ed by Pat Buchananan where he tries to rehabilitate McCarthy.

    Yeah, and I remember doing a double take. I remember being a staunch conservative/reationary just a decade before that, and it never occurred to me then that McCarthy could ever be considered aanything but a dangerous anti-democratic demogogue.

    Ah, the naivete of my youth!

  10. bubba707 says

    I was born and raised in Appleton Wisconsin. Tailgunner Joe was a drunken, abusive, vindictive, arrogant, self riteous, self promoting, power hungry son of a bitch. If there were such a place as hell he would be there turning on a spit.

  11. Phillip IV says

    you’ll be surprised at how we have nearly moved into every one of those areas.

    Yeah, in the sense that a capital gains tax “nearly moves into the area” of nationalization of capital. By that weasely standard, Nostradamus was practically right on the money on everything.

  12. says

    I don’t think McCarthy worship is anything new. They’ve just recently began doing it in the open after decades of having been shamed into doing it in secret.

    If anyone wants to wade through the actual academic disputes considering McCarthy, I would suggest this and this, which are well worth the time. The basis for the right’s claims that McCarthy was a hero is that it later turned out that some of the people he fingered for being commies really were commies, or at least security risks. The problem is, McCarthy had a false-positive rate of well over 90%, which completely undid whatever good might have been accomplished by ferreting out actual communists. In all likelihood, the true positives he scored were total accidents.

    McCarthy is a clear example of placing the interests of one’s political party and of personal power over the well-being of the country. He speaks directly to the wing-nut soul.

  13. ricko says

    Yeah, and I live in Wauwatosa, in Milwaukee County.

    And McCarthy is still a dick. He always was. They even TEACH this, but silently when they do.

  14. iknklast says

    No private property? My homeowner’s deed must be wrong, then, because it lists me as the owner – no government ownership, although they do “politely request” that I pay them some taxes on the thing every year – which I’m happy to do, especially since my salary comes almost entirely from property tax ;-)

  15. says

    Don’t worry, Phyllis. Although you’re only right about Plank # 10 (free education for children, take children out of factories) Newt Gingrich will take care of that in short order.

  16. says

    …it later turned out that some of the people he fingered for being commies really were commies, or at least security risks.

    And why were they commies? Because back then, laissez-faire capitalism and European fascism made communism look really good and progressive by comparison; and because our most important ally in crushing fascism was a certain huge communist country. There was a time when: a) you could not effectively oppose fascism without at least some help from communists; and b) you could not reform capitalism without embracing some facets of socialism. The relentless postwar campaign to demonize “communism” was, and still is, an attempt to whitewash and erase this frightening truth.

  17. slc1 says

    It’s also rather amusing that gay bashers worship the late and unlamented Mr. McCarthy. Although it is doubtful that he himself was gay, his closest confident, Roy Cohn, was certainly gay and ultimately contracted AIDS and died from complications thereof.

  18. daved says

    I was born and raised in Appleton Wisconsin. Tailgunner Joe was a drunken, abusive, vindictive, arrogant, self riteous, self promoting, power hungry son of a bitch. If there were such a place as hell he would be there turning on a spit.

    And he wasn’t a “tailgunner”, either. Oh, he did get to ride in the back of the plane a few times and fire the tail gun, but not on combat missions. All he ever shot up were palm trees. Just about everything McCarthy claimed for himself in terms of his war service was a lie. He wasn’t injured in combat, he wasn’t carrying enemy shrapnel in his body, and the only injury he did sustain came from falling down a ladder on a ship.

    Virtually all his claims to have discovered communists in government were also lies. It’s most unfortunate that he was in office during the one sliver of the ’50s where the Republicans had control of the Senate. Without that, he’d never have had a chairmanship, which would have limited his power far more.

  19. Didaktylos says

    Don’t the Birchers say that Ike was a communist? That being the case, the McCarthy persecutions were having the Stalinist purges without needing to have the Revolution first …

  20. slc1 says

    Re Didaktylos @ #21

    Actually, it was Robert Welch, one of the founders of the John Birch Society who said that Dwight David Eisenhower was a conscience Communist conspirator and that JFK was an unwitting tool of the International Communist Conspiracy.

  21. says

    Don’t the Birchers say that Ike was a communist? That being the case, the McCarthy persecutions were having the Stalinist purges without needing to have the Revolution first …

    McCarthy fingered George Marshall (he of the Marshall plan) and Dean Acheson, an architect of the Truman Doctrine, as being the leaders of a vast communist conspiracy. This was every bit as insane as calling Ike one.

  22. says

    The Soviets didn’t need devout Communists to conduct espionage anyways. They just needed to find greedy people. Turncoat FBI agent Robert Hanssen was a Catholic convert and a member of the notorius conservative Catholic group Opus Dei, but approached the KGB on his own initiative because he wanted money.

  23. F says

    This is about Newt saying that he will call before Congress any judge with whom he has a difference of opinion, right?

  24. exdrone says

    daved @20 writes:

    And he wasn’t a “tailgunner”, either.

    Well, slc1 @19 begs to differ. … Sorry, puerile comment.

  25. exdrone says

    Don’t forget the number of left wing, Hollywood, academic and homosexual careers and lives destroyed by the Blacklists. For conservatives, that alone was a heroic enough accomplishment for McCarthy.

  26. slc1 says

    Re exdrome @ #30

    Very true. I went to junior high school with a boy whose father, Paul Jarrico, was a Hollywood screen writer who was blacklisted.

  27. Michael Heath says

    iknklast:

    No private property? My homeowner’s deed must be wrong, then, because it lists me as the owner – no government ownership, although they do “politely request” that I pay them some taxes on the thing every year – which I’m happy to do, especially since my salary comes almost entirely from property tax ;-) [bolded added - MH]

    IANAL, but as a Realtor and developer, this is my understanding:

    The operative word being “deed”, and not “title”. A deed is evidence you have a legal right to possess the property, with restrictions and prohibitions as noted or by law, e.g., you may not have any mineral rights, others may have easement rights to encroach in certain ways over the property you possess, e.g., driving through your property to reach another property.

    A title is instead evidence of ownership.

    In the foreclosure area this became an issue. For example, someone purchases vacant property with a warranty deed recorded with the County Register of Deeds as evidence. They buy a manufactured “HUD” home using seller financing. The HUD comes with a state-issued title showing a lien on the title by the seller who also financed the purchase, exactly like titled for auto vehicles.

    Interest rates drop in the early-2000s. The property owner goes to an aggressively bidding lending institution, a well-established firm but new to the area with a new loan officer whose new in the business, and not properly trained. This new lending officer and their underwriting dept. loan money to this property owner, but they ignorantly fail to force the property owner to replace their title for the HUD with a county-recorded “affadivit of affixture”, which essentially transforms the HUD from titled personal property to real estate on the vacant land they purchased. The lender still records a mortgage (a type of lien) on the property with the county Registrar of Deeds.

    Several years later the property owner gets foreclosed on and vacates the property, with the foreclosing bank taking possession either after the exemption period expires or because of evidence of abandonment. The lending institution goes to sell this property in the open market. The buyer’s Realtor of course demands a warranty deed with seller-purchased title insurance to be issued to the buyer at the closing. At this point the seller (the lender who foreclosed), is notified by their title company that there is no deed with the HUD affixed to the property. They are now in a pickle, carrying a property with all the associated costs and yet can’t sell it because they can’t get a title company to issue a title insurance policy which allows the conveyance of a warranty deed for the property the buyer wants to purchase, which isn’t merely the vacant land but the HUD as well.

    Eventually they can straighten this out, even without the cooperation of the original HUD owner whose still holding title to the HUD, but it’s a mess and happened far too frequently.

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