Thursday, January 12, 2006

A McCarthy Moment At the Alito Hearing

I’m sure many of you are too young, and the rest of you probably don’t remember the moment when Senator McCarthy’s putrid career came to an end. I remember it as if it were yesterday; I was a college student at Northeastern University, a cooperative college where you work at a course-related job for several weeks and then go to school for several weeks. I happened to be working at my co-op job at Dennison Manufacturing Company in Framingham, Massachusetts, where the company maintained a recreation area for their employees. We were at lunch watching the Army-McCarthy hearings on TV when Joseph Welch, that crusty Irish-American lawyer from Boston, while interrogating McCarthy, turned and said to him in a hushed voice, 'until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.' He asked Senator McCarthy if any 'sense of decency' remained in him.

The question, and Senator McCarthy’s reaction focused the country as nothing else could have on McCarthy’s mean-spirited destruction of any person who might disagree with him or get in the way of his march to power. It took condemnation by the Senate and his own alcoholism to formalize his demise, but he was finished as a power in this country as of the moment of that remark by Welch.

I was reminded of this while watching the Alito hearing yesterday, when a similar moment descended on us all – those of us who can recognize decency and also the lack of it in another person. The moment came when Mrs. Alito left the room in tears after hearing her gentlemanly husband peppered at length with cheap shots, lies and distortions by the likes of Senators Kennedy, Schumer, Biden and Leahy. It transfixed me as the Welch moment had, and I think and I hope it will have a similar effect – that of waking up those who still think that these cretinous senators have any idea of decency or even of the national interest.

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At 3:19 PM, Anonymous Dave Bennett said...

It is interesting that the Republican senator numbered among his friends William F. Buckley Jr., William Rusher, and Brent Bozell Jr. "On December 2, 1954, the Senate voted to "condemn" Senator Joseph McCarthy on both counts by a vote of 67 to 22, with the Democrats unanimously in favor of condemnation and the Republicans split evenly." With the support of such eminent journalists and 22 Republican senators, how bad could he have been? ;)

At 4:34 PM, Blogger RussWilcox said...

Unbelieveably, to this day he still has supporters who overlooked his running roughshod over people's rights because they thought he was an effective defender against communist fifth columnists. His tirades against Secretary of the Army Stevens and CBS journalist Don Hollenbeck were particularly egregious.

At 4:49 PM, Anonymous Joe said...

This Moment that Russ is talking about really got me so boiling angry that I sent an email to Kerry and Kennedy and blasted them in a way that I never had before. I suggest that if you feel the way I do about this despicable rhetoric that went on at those hearings, to do as I did.

At 6:45 PM, Anonymous db said...

Actually, what set her crying was Lindsey Graham's defense of her husband.

At 7:23 PM, Blogger RussWilcox said...

Fortunately for my emotional well-being, I never expected that every comment on my site would be somewhat intelligent.

At 8:08 PM, Anonymous Joe said...

If you agree with this, feel free to use it. It really kills two birds with one stone.

Senator Leahy,

Your actions at the Alito judicial nominee hearings were despicable. Yourself, along with Senators Kennedy and Durban, acted with conduct unbecoming an elected office. You should be ashamed of yourself for putting Judge Alito and his family through this kind of uncalled-for rhetoric. You have shown your true colors to the American People with your vicious behavior,as a ruthless and unscrupulous bully. This man is not an animal. He is a good human being with good intentions, and a well loved professional with years of the judicial system to his credit. You have defined your party as a smear party, bent on denigrating people who don't go along with your far Left agendas. The American People are fed up with the type of behavior that Judge Edward Cashman displayed in your own state, by sentencing a child sex offender to 60 days in prison for sexually abusing a six year old girl over a period of four years, and has the audacity to say that he doesn't believe in punishment. This is an impeachable offence. Are these the type of judges that you advocate for? What about this poor child? Her young life is ruined forever. Martha Stewart received a stiffer sentence than this child sex offender will get. Do the right thing and remove this judge from office. Your side of the Democratic party might be bought and paid for by extreme Left socialist billionaires, but it's the American People who vote you into office, and they can easily vote you out!


Joseph Alves Jr.
Taunton, Ma.

At 6:13 AM, Blogger RussWilcox said...

Dave, One other point regarding the senate vote you mentioned is that over the course of our history, many important issues have been settled by one or a few votes (Kyoto being a notable exception).

At 8:05 AM, Anonymous bob said...

It is humorous to see how everyone in this site is almost always in lockstep agreement with one another, slapping each other on the backs, "atta boy - go get 'em" and "damn those liberal jerks" being the typical m.o.

Politics is truly disgusting.

Two sides bickering endlessly.

Believe it or not, those reviled senators are representing their constituencies, and this is now a media circus where it's all for show and effect, no thanks to Mr. Rove and other spin doctors. So they use despicable tactics. If they don't, they are not on a level playing field. Their opponents do exactly the same thing, possibly with more vitriol when they feel like tearing someone down.

66 percent of people in this country, in fact the overwhelming majority, oppose overturning Roe vs. Wade. And no matter what Alito, with all his integrity - says - he will probably do everything in his power to tear down Roe v. Wade if confirmed, based on his record. He will certainly tip the balance the other way from the many 5-4 pro-choice rulings swayed by Sandra Day O'Connor. That has women's rights groups very nervous.

On a different note -

I wonder what most of the bloggers here would think if McCarthy was doing his thing today - how many would be on his side from this conservative arena? How many would see through their own fear (the tool of manipulation for millenia) to the real Joseph McCarthy? Or would it be the "uniting" message of "If your not with us, your against us" (with the communists)(supporting terror (sic)) (feel free to substitute your favorite bad guy or group).

Many people see President Bush as every bit as cold-hearted, ruthless and hell bent on his personal agenda as McCarthy was.

Possibly in 30 or 40 years people will look back on him as they do now at McCarthy. And surely some, like those who still support McCarthy, will swear Prsident Bush II was the best president ever.

It is very telling to see just how attached people become to their positions. They get so attached to being right, and being on the winning side, that they fail to recognize reality when it smacks them across the face.

So, yes, agreed, the political tactics are revolting. But one must acknowledge that both sides use mud-slinging, character assasination and grandstanding to manipulate public opinion. It's exactly what goes on here, only at a national level, and they get paid for it.

The annoying thing is, we are paying them. We are paying for all of this war, destruction, lack of education, failed energy policy, investigations, etc.

I wish these "leaders" could act in the best interest of their constituents (not EXXON/MOBIL or WALMART) with some grace and dignity, and for God's sake some integrity, on both "sides".

At 9:19 AM, Anonymous steve said...

I enjoy your comments and opposing views. Your arguements are well thought out and well worded, and you seem to always take the 10k height view not the closeup view.

I get a kick out of all the analogies that the senators use when trying to craft their questions, analysis and spin.

But I do wish the Dems and Reps alike could eliminate at least SOME of the rhetoric and try to disagree with views and opinions without the personal character assasinations.

At 10:07 AM, Blogger RussWilcox said...

One can be in favor of unlimited first-trimester abortions for emancipated women and also believe that the Roe vs. Wade decision shredded the constitution and must be overturned.


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