Heart of Conspiracy

Heart of Conspiracy - ESSAY | David Oshinsky David...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
ESSAY | David Oshinsky David Oshinsky, who holds the Jack S. Blanton chair in history at the University of Texas, is the author of “A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy.” In the Heart of the Heart of Conspiracy No American politician of the 20th century is more reviled by historians and opinion makers than Senator Joseph R . McCarthy, the Wisconsin Republican whose 1950s anti-Communist crusade is synonymous with witch-hunting and repression. Actually, no politician even comes close. Herbert Hoover? True, the Great Depression occurred on his watch, goes the current wisdom, but Hoover can’t be blamed for a global catastrophe, and his economic programs paved the way for needed reforms. Richard Nixon? True, the Watergate scandal justified his resignation, but Nixon was a master statesman, we are reminded, whose initiatives produced detente with the Russians and an open door to China. For McCarthy, there’s been no such balancing act . Americans have learned to view him as the nation’s most dangerous modern demagogue. Pick up a dictionary and you’ll find the word “McCarthyism” defined as “the practice of publicizing accusations with insufficient regard to evidence” and “the use of unfair investigatory methods to suppress opposition.” To be labeled a McCarthyite is akin to being called a liar or a fraud. His loudest current admirer is Ann Coulter, a fact, I suspect, that even the senator would have found unsettling. My own biography of McCarthy was published in 1983. What most surprised me was the warm reception it got from hard-nosed conservatives like Pat Buchanan, who considered the book more balanced than what had come before. My final judgments on the senator did ac- knowledge his role in highlighting a number of security problems in the federal government, something previous writers had been reluctant to do. But I also described him as a serial slanderer who poisoned political debate, weakened government morale and made America look ridiculous in the eyes of the world. A full-throated (and heavily footnoted) defense of Joe McCarthy is getting
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 04/19/2008 for the course HIST 112 taught by Professor Keithknutson during the Spring '08 term at Viterbo.

Page1 / 3

Heart of Conspiracy - ESSAY | David Oshinsky David...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online