Capitalizing on his war record, McCarthy narrowly defeated the overconfident Senator Robert La Follette in the 1946 Republican senatorial primary and assailed his Democratic opponent, Howard McMurray, as a man so desperate for election that he would accept communist support. The baseless charge worked. McCarthy trounced McMurray and, in 1947, became the junior U.S. senator from Wisconsin. He quickly alienated his colleagues (especially after he tried to court the German-American vote by criticizing the prosecution of Nazis accused of slaughtering American troops during the Battle of the Bulge) and he soon feared that he could not be re-elected without a major issue to improve his political standing. Consequently, on February 7, 1950, he told a group of Republican women assembled in Wheeling, West Virginia, that there was serious “communist influence” in the Truman administration, declaring, ” I have here in my hand a list of 205 . . . names that were known to the Secretary of State and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department.” Even though no such list existed, McCarthy’s accusations gripped the media and he soon became a national figure, promoted on the covers of national news magazines.
The defining accomplishment of Van Jones’s life was his founding of the Ella Baker Freedom Center. While the controversy over his appointment was going on I meant to look into who she was, but didn’t get it done. Ron Radosh, an expert on the hard left of which he was once a member, has the answer:
[T]he name of Jones’ Oakland group, The Ella Baker Freedom Center, is most appropriate. Most people have referred to the late Baker as simply a civil rights activist. I am writing from vacation in Nantucket, without benefit of my files at home. But in my book, Divided They Fell: The Demise of the Democratic Party, 1964-1996, I point out that the late civil rights lawyer Joe Rauh had noted that everything Baker said in the 60’s might as well have been taken verbatim from The Daily Worker, the Communist Party newspaper. Baker was so pro-Communist that she attacked Hubert Humphrey and other liberal anti-Communists as ultra reactionaries. Known as the “grandmother of SNCC,” Baker was aligned with those in the movement who were trying to push the organization to the far left.
I think that sums up the Obama administration pretty well. If you think Hubert Humphrey was an ultra-reactionary, this administration’s for you!
Red-baiting never goes out of style.
This is just the beginning, unless someone with a really big megaphone decides to fight back. No, not the president, he’s too busy making sure bankers, health insurance executives and the rest of Wall Street are mollified.
You know who I mean. [ed. note update-I messed up my original link, the link is now to whom I am talking about. Congratulations to all who guessed “KO.” Sorry about the bad link.] Yeah, this is war. Either the far right puke funnel is brought to heel by utterly destroying its undeserved credibility, something that should have happened long ago, or our democracy plunges into neo-McCarthyite darkness for who-knows-how-long. Which obscure administration or member of Congress will be next? Will it it be a third under-secretary for African affairs, or will it be, um, YOU?
Throw in a still shaky economy and two foreign wars that seemingly have no end, and it’s difficult to predict what might happen.
How’s that post-partisanship civility working out? Yeah, I know, regular people get sick and tired of the clown shows, but the clown shows are not a bug, they’re a design feature. They show that many Democrats won’t fight for their principles, or that many Democrats are unprincipled whores, and in either case weakness and whorishness is exposed.
The clowns clown, the pundits pontificate and the “reasonable” Republicans chortle while they watch the polls and congratulate each other on what a great monkey wrench they possess. Next up will be a set of “promises” from the GOP, probably with some grandiose name only a Colbert could appreciate, that will list the requisite demands for lower taxes, bashing of immigrants, fear-mongering against gays and any clever phraseology Frank Luntz crafts to make a shit sandwich look like Pan-bagnat.
Democrats, please feel free to win this fight on policy grounds by carefully arguing your position, giving away the store to your opponents and then attempting to win over the public with excuses, that’ll work well.