September 5, 2004


It's Still Nixon's Party (Harold Meyerson, September 5, 2004, Washington Post)

[W]hat sticks from this convention is Wednesday night's public mugging of John Kerry. Zell Miller's ferocious and largely fictitious diatribe was the convention's -- and indeed the Bush campaign's -- keynote address in spirit as well as in name. Miller referred to the bipartisan support for early Cold War policies, but the Cold War politico after whom he modeled himself was Sen. Joseph McCarthy. [...]

[I]t's not Reagan's spirit that suffuses the Bush Republican Party; it's Richard Nixon's. The old Trickster tarred his opponents -- Jerry Voorhis, Helen Gahagan Douglas -- as closet commies when he knew full well they weren't; that was his central contribution to the practice of electoral politics. The Bush family studied and learned from the Nixon playbooks; the hallmarks of their campaigns against Michael Dukakis, John McCain and now John Kerry have been slander and lies. The current president might be a lot closer in ideology to Reagan than he is to Nixon, but when it comes to the way he seeks to cling to power, he is Nixonian to a fault. [...]

The Democrats will leave us to the mercy of our enemies; they are not patriots; they have allegiances to foreign interests and ideologies -- 50 years after the Senate censured McCarthy for the recklessness of his allegations, those allegations are back, at the very center of the president's campaign. Forget Lincoln, Ike and Teddy Roosevelt: The party of George W. Bush has chosen a different set of mentors.

In 2003--long before he could pose as a simple defender of John Kerry--Mr. Meyerson compared George Bush to Jefferson Davis--the president of the Confederacy--and to Nathan Bedford Forrest--founder of the Klu Klux Klan--and compared the President's Medicare bill to the Missouri Compromise's extension of slavery. So perhaps we can be forgiven if we don't take this wallow in self-pity too seriously?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 5, 2004 12:02 AM

And here we see the emergence of the excuse that Democrats will whine about for years to come: Bush won because of "slander and lies."

Posted by: PapayaSF at September 5, 2004 1:49 AM

Ah, the Pink Lady. Boy can the Left hold a grudge. But I believe that Sidney Hook's autobiography (Out of Step) recounts him attending Communist Party parties at Helen Gahagan Douglas' home. As a kid growing up in San Diego, I remember getting 'pink sheet' flyers identifying Communists and pinkos in the media, entertainment industry, etc. Those were the days.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at September 5, 2004 2:16 AM

What is this nut saying?
Is he claiming that the Bush family forced John Kerry to pal around Paris with the North Vietnamese?

Posted by: Steve at September 5, 2004 3:38 AM

Meyerson should be a good leading indicator of how things are going in KerryWorld. Mark Steyn had a good line in today's Chicago Sun Times. He said that at the rate things are going, the Kerry camp would be in the post-election defeat recrimination phase by about mid-September.

Posted by: Dave Sheridan at September 5, 2004 4:21 AM

Meyerson, like so many others who had pinned their hopes on Kerry, appears to be tumbling off the rails. He unleashed a similiar howl of enraged frustration the other day. Dionne and Kinsley, the WaPo's other leading liberal op-edsters, are in similiar unhingement mode. They're facing up to the reality that their man may not only lose, but lose badly, and it's an ugly sight to see dreams exploded.

Posted by: Joe at September 5, 2004 4:44 AM

Old Zell standing there with his piercing eyes staring out from under fierce eyebrows looked like the personification of the American eagle, stating everything many Americans feel in their hearts. Moore must have shook in his boots. What a contrast.

By the way, wasn't McCarthy proven essentially correct about Hollywood?

Posted by: Genecis at September 5, 2004 11:28 AM

"By the way, wasn't McCarthy proven essentially correct about Hollywood?"

Yes, see "Hollywood Party" for details:

Posted by: at September 5, 2004 12:29 PM

McCarthy engaged in pernicious overkill. You have to understand how miserable the 30s were, to understand the appeal that Communism had, and also you need to understand the cleverness of the Communists in weaving themselves into the woodwork.

When my dad was in Brooklyn College before WWII, there was a campus organization which supported equal rights for all Americans, a decent wage, Social Security, etc. Most, if not all, the Jewish students including my father and my uncle joined it. Then the organization's newspaper started publishing editorials praising the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and the last straw was a headline that said 'Finland Attacks Soviet Union.' Most of these students, like my father and my uncle, quit the organization once it became clear how disgusting it was. Both my father and my uncle enlisted on 12/8/41 and my father served in WWII as an enlisted man, went to West Point after the war and served in the Korean conflict. He voted for Goldwater in 1964. My uncle went into the Navy, then dental school and became wealthy and a big enough contributor to the GOP to get himself invited to the Reagan Ranch. Hardly Communists, I would say.

Both of them were investigated by the FBI in the McCarthy period and were cleared but it was a harrowing experience, especially as my father is 60% disabled from wounds received in the American Army in the Korean police action.

My dad and my uncle are voting for Bush, although D'Amato and Giuliani are much more their style. My uncle was tight with Arthur Finkelstein and was a big fundraiser, in the Jewish community, for the Fonz out on the North Shore of the Guyland.

Posted by: Bart at September 5, 2004 12:39 PM


Why shouldn't they have been investigated? If two brothers today were members of an organization that praised 9-11 we'd hopefully investigate them.

Posted by: oj at September 5, 2004 12:43 PM

Because they quit the organization when they found out what it really was and well before any governmental prompting, and they participated in America's wars against Nazism and Communism, both being severely wounded in the process.

There was about a 13 year time span in between quitting and being investigated. And it was pretty clear from the way that the organization went from being all over campus to,in my dad's words, not even having enough for a minyan(10 people) after they started with the Communist propaganda to know that people joined for the most innocent of reasons. If the FBI investigated the people who remained in the organization after it had shown its true colors, that would have been fine. If you think Finland attacked Russia or that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was a good thing, you should be investigated. Ed Asner feels that Stalin gets an unjustified bad press. He should be investigated.

The FBI and HUAC and the rest went after a lot of good people for no good reason, unless you consider being Jewish, Black or Italian a good reason. At the same time, NKVD penetration of American security services proceeded apace as did the Vatican/CIA ratline.

Posted by: Bart at September 5, 2004 1:12 PM


Actually it was HUAC proven right about Hollywood. McCarthy's focus was on the federal government (mainly the State Department).

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at September 5, 2004 1:50 PM


That's what an investigation would reveal, not reason not to investigate.

Posted by: oj at September 5, 2004 2:28 PM


Which was likewise thouroughly compromised, though McCarthy should not have been the one taking the lead.

Posted by: oj at September 5, 2004 2:29 PM
« STATEHOOD NOW: | Main | RPS: »