Wow, in a season of heat waves, talk about being hot. Ann Coulter is sizzling. She's got herself another best-seller on the NY Times best-seller list (Treason).
She's got thousands of enthusiastic conservative young men panting with lust
every time she pops up on Fox, CNN or MSNBC to flail the leftist establishment,
flaunting her long blonde locks, her ever-present plunging neckline and her
very tart tongue. And she's got liberal pundits steaming, as she takes after
hypocritical liberals, Hollywood peaceniks and power-hungry Democrats with
a witty vengeance.
"Take no prisoners" seems to be the watchword of Ms. Coulter's war on the
left. And whether it's Katie Couric or Chris Matthews, Ann usually leaves
her interrogators spluttering with outrage and incredulity. In fact, while
promoting her new book, nasty Ann even cattily told Diane Sawyer that Hillary
Clinton would have an unfair three-to-one weight advantage over Ann in any
dustup between the two. She made it clear there's a reason that dowdy Hillary
sticks to pants suits, versus the slinky Ms. Coulter who prefers the miniest
of mini skirts as her customary dress mode.
Of course, viewing Hillary in a Coulter-style mini skirt might be enough
to put male voters off sex for several years -- it's bad enough that Americans
have been subjected to the unflattering sight of Mrs. Clinton's thick ankles
for almost a decade. So perhaps Diane Sawyer was judicious in quickly changing
However, if Ann Coulter, the sexy Queen of Conservative Mean, has one achilles
heel, it's her propensity for overstated hyperbole. Over the top doesn't
aptly describe some of Ann Coulter's statements about politics and history.
After all, it takes a certain affinity for the outrageous to transform America's
most notorious psycho senator and D.C. drunk, Joe -- "there's a Commie in
every American cupboard " -- McCarthy, into an American folk hero -- never
mind implying, as she has in some TV appearances, that such stalwart anti-communist
Democrats as John F. Kennedy and Harry Truman may have been the equivalent
of wussy fellow travellers of the communist left.
Now before we go any further, let's get one thing straight. Based on what
we've now learned from previously-secret Soviet intelligence archives, and
from FBI decryptions of Soviet intelligence cables during that era, one can
indeed retrospectively praise the McCarthy message -- that the liberal Democratic
establishment of the 1930's and 1940's allowed itself to be naively infiltrated
by communist (pro-Soviet) sympathizers, many of whom were spying for the
tyrannical and murderous regime of Joseph Stalin, or who were accepting financial
support from the same repressive dictatorship. But, based on the historical
record, surely it's still appropriate to want to metaphorically shoot the
messenger bearing that message, Senator Joe McCarthy -- because he was nothing
but a sociopathic political thug who wished nothing more than to gain political
advantage and power by terrorizing the innocent as well as the guilty by
means of his headline-making, anti-communist crusade.
Talk about making it up as you go along. Even though his basic message actually
merited attention, Tailgunner Joe sullied it with so many false claims and
exaggerations that today he would qualify for a job as a New York Times
correspondent. Certainly, by the time of his downfall, Senator Joseph McCarthy
had become the Jayson Blair of American anti-communism, demeaning his message
with a steady litany of exaggerated and fictitious innuendo.
For example, the origins of Senator McCarthy's anti-communist campaign in
the '50's occurred in a speech to the Republican Women's Club of Wheeling,
West Virginia, on February 9, 1950. Speaking to this group, he is reported
to have said (referring to subversives working in the U.S. State Department):
"I have in my hand a list of 205 cases of individuals who appear to be either
card-carrying members or certainly loyal to the Communist Party."
However, in subsequent speeches McCarthy began to backtrack, insisting in
his next speech, in Salt Lake City, that the specific number he had stated
in his West Virginia speech was 57. Then it was back up to 81 in a speech
on the senate floor on February 20th.
Just as important were the inaccuracies later unearthed regarding the Senator's
original charge. For example, some of the alleged State Department communist
sympathizers actually worked for the United Nations, not the State Department.
At least two individuals had been applicants for State Department jobs in
1948 and had not been hired. And in a few cases McCarthy's only public justification
for labeling an individual a Communist was a typical McCarthy's fallback:
"There is nothing in the files to disprove his Communist connections."
That's not to say that McCarthy was wrong -- he was obviously on to something,
thanks to a series of important documents leaked to him -- which reported
the results of important national security investigations of the State Department
in the 40's. And of late, newly-released FBI decryptions from that era (the
Venona files), along with various Soviet archive materials, have only confirmed
the surprising infiltration of the American State Department in the 1930's
and 40's by left-leaning Americans spying for, or holding conflicting loyalties
to, Stalin's murderous regime in the Soviet Union. It's just that McCarthy,
and his sinister acolyte Roy Cohn, were much more interested in power, self-aggrandizement
and media publicity for themselves than in saving America. And both were
prepared to misrepresent (or conveniently misread or misunderstand) the information
that was passed on to them, and use the hyped-up accusatory "dirt" to generate
instant headlines, or to intimidate others in government in return for influence
Publicity and power, it seemed, became an addictive drug for these two opportunists,
as they attempted to advance the senator's national political career on the
back of an improvised campaign of Commie baiting.
All of which prompted communist-turned-conservative Whittaker Chambers to
note, in a letter to Henry Regnery on January 14th, 1954, his doubts about
of us, to one degree or another, have slowly come to question his judgment
and to fear acutely that his flair for the sensational, his inaccuracies
and distortions, his tendency to sacrifice the greater objective for the
momentary effect, will lead him and us into trouble. In fact, it is no exaggeration
to say that we live in terror that Senator McCarthy will one day make some
irreparable blunder which will play directly into the hands of our common
enemy and discredit the whole anti-Communist effort for a long while to come.
Whatever his failings elsewhere, credit Whittaker Chambers with some prophetic insight on this particular matter.
Of course, as is her custom, Ann Coulter does have something very important to say in her new book Treason,
and in her many promotional outings on its behalf -- namely that left-liberals
have spent a half century using the bogeyman of "McCarthyism" to discourage
criticism of, and distract attention from, the many sins of the left in America
over the years. And indeed, Ms. Coulter justifiably makes a number of important
points about the follies of the American left during the Cold War, and the
surprising merits of the anti-communist crusade in America at the time (especially
in the light of recent confirmatory evidence, regarding leftist American
treachery, unearthed from the archives of the Soviet Comintern and from the
previously-mentioned Venona documents of the F.B.I.).
But Tailgunner Joe McCarthy, an America hero? Puleeez!
Email Murray Soupcoff
C'mon Ann. Tell us that maybe that's a wee bit of an exaggeration...that
perhaps you got carried away in making your point about the merit of the
McCarthy message. But surely you don't really mean it about the man himself
being a hero.
Please Ann. Say it ain't so, about Joe!
Murray Soupcoff is the author of Canada 1984 and a former radio and television producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He is the Managing Editor of The Iconoclast.
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