Introducing the Completely “Unhinged” Senator Joe McCarthy

  • … McCarthy came unhinged in a way unimaginable to most Americans. He ceased even pretending to care about the rights of the accused, whom he summarily declared guilty. He held one-man hearings, in violation of long-standing Senate tradition. When he was absent, his poorly trained, sophomoric staffers leapt in to badger witnesses on his behalf. — from the Preface to Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy, by Larry Tye

When self was reading the above, she had to keep reminding herself that this book was not about Trump (All McCarthy’s papers were donated to his alma mater, Marquette University, by McCarthy’s widow, “sixty years ago.” Anyone can read them.) What legacy of documents will Trump leave, self wonders, and to which university? Years from now, someone will access them and write a book, just like Tye is doing now.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

More from the Preface to DEMAGOGUE: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy

It’s not often that a man’s name becomes an ism, in this case a synonym for reckless accusation, guilt by association, fear-mongering, and political double-dealing. In the early 1950s, the senator from Wisconsin promised America a holy war against a Communist “conspiracy so immense and an infamy so black as to dward any previous such venture in the history of man.” While the conspiracy and infamy claims were a stretch, the body count was measurable: a TV broadcaster, a government engineer, current and former US senators, and incalculable others who committed suicide to escape McCarthy and his warriors; hundreds more whose careers he crushed; and the hundreds of thousands he browbeat into a tongue-tied silence.

DEMAGOGUE: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy, by Larry Tye

from the Preface:

This is a book about America’s love affair with bullies.

Iain Kelly

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