Fifty-four years ago yesterday, the infamous Senator Joseph McCarthy hearings began in the Unied States Senate in which the Wisconsin Republican tried using a public hearing in order to continue his virulent anti-communist crusade. Today, modern conservatives like Ann Coulter repeatedly attempt to prove that “Fighting Joe” McCarthy’s crusade was on the right track in uncovering communists in the State Department and liberals have besmirched his fair name. During the hearings, Senator McCarthy’s bullying tactics, which even included attempting to smear the name of President Eisenhower as some sort of friend of communism, resulted in revulsion by the American people toward his variation of anti-communism.
The FBI agents who actually chased Soviet spies in the United States offer an explanation that differs widely from that of right wing Ann Coulter and her crowd of Republican smear artists. Robert J. Lamphere, who participated in virtually all FBI spy cases, told author Ronald Kessler, FBI agents were appalled that J. Edgar Hoover initially supported McCarthy. “The problem was that McCarthy lied about the information and figures,” said Lammphere. “He made charges against people that weren’t true. McCarthyism harmed the counterintelligence effort against the Soviet threat because of the revulsion it caused.”
Senator mccarthy’s ccrusade begain on February 9, 1950, when he stated “While I cannot take the time to name all of the men in the State Departmnt who have been named as members of the Communist Party and members of a spy ring, I have here in my hand a list of 205 — a list of names that were known to the secretary of state and who, nevertheless, are still working and shaping policy of the State Department.” During the following months the figure of 205 changed dramatically, going up and down.
McCarthy asked cooperation of th FBI in his anti-communist crusade, but was told by William Sullivan, who became number three man in the bureau, “We don’t have enough evidence to show there was a single Communist in the State Department.”
The legacy of Senator McCarthy’s lies and throwing around figures certainly lives on in modern day George Bush lies about weapons of mass destruction. The Ann Coulters today are just as prone as Senator McCarthy to throw around “facts” and “figures” that are lies and to accuse those who oppose their viewpoint of being “anti-American.” Unfortunately, there is as much chance of Ann Coulter admitting Bush lied abut WMD as there was of Senator McCarthy telling the American public what he was told by the FBI.