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The Anti-LeftLib Crusade of Ann Coulter
by Murray Soupcoff, The Iconoclast
02 September 2003Treason

If Ann Coulter, the sexy Queen of Conservative Mean, has one achilles heel, it's her propensity for overstated hyperbole.

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 the subject.

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 and favors.

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 McCarthy: 

All 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!

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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