Fifty Years of Treason
Liberals have a preternatural gift for striking a position on the side of treason. You could be talking about Scrabble and they would instantly leap to the anti-American position. Everyone says liberals love America, too. No they don't. Whenever the nation is under attack, from within or without, liberals side with the enemy. This is their essence. The left's obsession with the crimes of the West and their Rousseauian respect for Third World savages all flow from this subversive goal. If anyone has the gaucherie to point out the left's nearly unblemished record of rooting against America, liberals turn around and scream "McCarthyism!"
Liberals invented the myth of McCarthyism to delegitimize impertinent questions about their own patriotism. They boast (lyingly) about their superior stance on civil rights. But somehow their loyalty to the United States is off-limits as a subject of political debate. Why is the relative patriotism of the two parties the only issue that is out of bounds for discussion? Why can't we ask: Who is more patriotic -- Democrats or Republicans? You could win that case in court.
Fifty years ago, Senator Joe McCarthy said, "The loyal Democrats of this nation no longer have a Party."(1) Since then, the evidence has continued to pour in. Liberals mock Americans who love their country, calling them cowboys, warmongers, religious zealots, and jingoists. By contrast, America's enemies are called "Uncle Joe," "Fidel," "agrarian reformers," and practitioners of a "religion of peace." Indeed, Communists and terrorists alike are said to be advocates of "peace."
Liberals demand that the nation treat enemies likefriends and friends like enemies. We must lift sanctions, cancel embargoes, pull out our troops, reason with our adversaries, and absolutely never wage war -- unless the French say it's okay. Any evidence that anyone seeks to harm America is stridently rejected as "no evidence." Democratic senators, congressmen, and ex-presidents are always popping up in countries hostile to the United States -- Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea, Iraq -- hobnobbing with foreign despots who hate America. One year after Osama bin Laden staged a massive assault on America, a Democratic senator was praising bin Laden for his good work in building "day care centers." At least we can be thankful that in the war on terrorism, we were spared the spectacle of liberals calling Osama bin Laden an "agrarian reformer."
The ACLU responded to the 9-11 terrorist attack by threatening to sue schools that hung god bless america signs. Is the ACLU more or less patriotic than the Daughters of the American Revolution? Public schools across the nation prohibited the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance. Is it more patriotic or less patriotic to prevent schoolchildren from saying the Pledge of Allegiance? University professors called patriotic Americans "naive" and described patriotism as a "benign umbrella for angry people."(2) Is it more patriotic to love your country or to ridicule those who do as "naive" and "angry"? These are not questions impenetrable to human logic.
Liberals want to be able to attack America without anyone making an issue of it. Patriotism is vitally important -- but somehow impossible to measure. Liberals relentlessly oppose the military, the Pledge of Allegiance, the flag, and national defense. But if anyone calls them on it, they say he's a kook and a nut. Citing the unpatriotic positions of liberals constitutes "McCarthyism."
In the 1988 presidential campaign, Vice President George Bush pointed out that his opponent Michael Dukakis had vetoed a bill requiring students to begin their day with the Pledge of Allegiance. Liberal heads spun with the dark reminders of the McCarthy era. Dukakis instantly compared Bush's dastardly trick of citing his record "to Sen. Joseph McCarthy's Red-baiting during the 1950s."(3) Despite this slur against his patriotism, Dukakis said, "The American people can smell the garbage."(4) At least sophisticated Americans could smell the garbage. As one journalist said of Bush's unwarranted reference to Dukakis's record, it was intended to "rile up" ignoramuses in the American populace: the "folks who don't know any better," whose inferior "education or experience has not taught them that the right to speak out is the rudder of this great big boat we call America."(5) The only people whose "right to speak out" is not part of this great big boat we call America are Republicans who dare to mention that a Democrat vetoed the Pledge of Allegiance. Free speech is a one-way ratchet for traitors. While journalists assailed Bush for creating an atmosphere of intolerance for those who "object to patriotic oaths," they didn't mind creating an atmosphere of intolerance toward those who support patriotic oaths.(6)
Later, while campaigning at a naval base, Bush said of Dukakis, "I wouldn't be surprised if he thinks a naval exercise is something you find in the Jane Fonda Workout Book."(7) Again, there were wails of "McCarthyism" all around. Showing the left's renowned ability to get a joke, one reporter earnestly demanded to know: "Did Bush mean to imply that Dukakis is anti-military?"(8) Bush responded to the hysteria over his Jane Fonda joke, saying, "Was that funny? Reasonably funny? A naval exercise -- I thought that was pretty funny."(9)
Historians claimed they had not seen "patriotism used with such cynical force" since the fifties. It was "disturbing," historians and political analysts said, for Bush to manipulate symbols to "raise doubts about the Democratic nominee's patriotism."(10) Historian William Leuchtenburger, at the University of North Carolina, said, "I don't recall anything like this before. I don't think there has been an issue like this -- an issue so irrelevant to the powers of the presidency."(11) Washington Post columnist Mary McGrory complained about the "McCarthyesque form" to Bush's language: "The subliminal message in all the nastiness and bad taste is that Dukakis is somehow un-American: doesn't salute the flag or dig defense."(12) The New York Times denounced Bush for "wrapping himself in the flag." Through his "masterly use of the subliminal" Bush had used "political code." The code was "pledge plus flag plus strong defense equals patriotism."(13) (Evidently true patriotism consists of hatred of flag plus hatred of Pledge plus weakness on national defense.) Not going for subtlety, this was under the headline "Playing Rough; Campaign Takes a Turn onto the Low Road."
A frenzy of "McCarthyism" arose again in Bush's next presidential campaign against noted patriot Bill Clinton. While a Rhodes scholar, Clinton joined anti-war protests abroad. One year after the USSR crushed Czechoslovakia, Clinton had taken what the media called a "sightseeing trip to Moscow." For mentioning Clinton's anti-war protests abroad, Bush was called a nut and a McCarthyite. Clinton campaign aide George Stephanopoulos said Bush was "off the wall, lost his compass."(14) Clinton's running mate, Al Gore, accused Bush of "smear tactics, McCarthyite techniques."(15) Meanwhile, CNN's Robert Novak defended McCarthy, saying, "Joe didn't do any innuendo, Joe would have said the guy is a Communist."(16)
"McCarthyism" means pointing out positions taken by liberals that are unpopular with the American people. As former president Bush said, "Liberals do not like me talking about liberals."(17) The reason they sob about the dark night of fascism under McCarthy is to prevent Americans from ever noticing that liberals consistently attack their own country.
Liberals unreservedly call all conservatives fascists, racists, and enemies of civil liberties with no facts whatsoever. Reviewing the movie 8 Mile in The New Yorker, David Denby praised the interracial friendships portrayed in the movie and then said, "Perhaps the specter of such friendships is what right-wingers actually hate most." Conservatives are prohibited from citing actual facts that reflect poorly on a Democrat's patriotism, but liberals regularly fire off shots like that from their little movie reviews.(18)
Liberals malign the flag, ban the Pledge, and hold cocktail parties for America's enemies, but no one is ever allowed to cast the slightest aspersion on their patriotism. The very same article that attacked Bush for questioning Dukakis's patriotism questioned Bush's sensitivity to civil rights -- for mentioning Dukakis's veto of the Pledge. The writer scoffed: "George Bush will really be a stand-up guy when it comes to civil liberties. You betcha."(19) We could draw no conclusions from Dukakis's veto of the Pledge. It was a "smear" merely to state the implacable fact that Dukakis had vetoed the Pledge of Allegiance. But apparently it was not a smear to attack Bush's stand on "civil liberties for mentioning Dukakis's veto of the pledge."(20)
Only questions about patriotism are disallowed -- unless it is to say that liberals are the "real patriots." Phil Donahue said the "real patriots" were people who aggressively opposed their own country's war plans: "Are the protesters the real patriots?"(21) It is at least counterintuitive to say that it is more patriotic to attack America than to defend it. Even Donahue couldn't continue with such absurd logic, and quickly condemned patriotism as "the last refuge of scoundrels," and warned: "Beware of patriotism."(22)
In addition to opposing any action taken by your own country, "real patriotism" also consists of promoting the liberal agenda. After 9-11, Mario Cuomo said real patriotism consisted of fighting the "war on poverty."(23) Liberal columnist David Broder said "real patriotism" consisted of expanding the Peace Corps and Clinton's worthless Americorp.(24) A writer for the Kansas City Star, Bill Tammeus, said real patriots "support education, especially the public schools."(25) The only "unpatriotic" act he identified was trying to "silence dissident voices."(26) A man protesting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools said, "True Americans separate church and state."(27) A woman opposing the Pledge said, "Real patriotism, and real love for your country, is . . . dissent, or people fighting against the closure of hospitals."(28) Liberals don't mind discussing who is more patriotic if patriotism is defined as redistributing income and vetoing the Pledge of Allegiance. Only if patriotism is defined as supporting America do they get testy and drone on about "McCarthyism."
In June 2002, an American-born Muslim named Abdullah al-Mujahir was arrested on charges of trying to build a dirty bomb. Most Americans were worried about a terrorist taking out Lower Manhattan. But the New York Times was worried about an outbreak of "McCarthyism." According to the Times, the arrest reminded many people of "McCarthyism and of zealous F.B.I. agents defining the limits of political orthodoxy." Al-Mujahir's arrest had "revived a fear that has permeated popular history: that a homegrown fifth column is betraying fellow Americans on behalf of a foreign foe."(29) Historian Richard Hofstadter diagnosed the country's attempts at self-preservation as a form of "political paranoia."(30) Even Benedict Arnold was thrown in to the Times's enumeration of victims of America's "paranoia," raising the question: Is there no traitor liberals won't defend?
Liberals attack their country and then go into diarrhea panic if anyone criticizes them. Days after 9-11, as the corpses of thousands of our fellow countrymen lay in smoldering heaps in the wreckage of the World Trade Center, Professor Eric Foner of Columbia University said, "I'm not sure which is more frightening: the horror that engulfed New York City or the apocalyptic rhetoric emanating daily from the White House."(31) On the basis of exhaustive research, apparently the events of September 11, including the wanton slaughter of three thousand Americans, were worse than Bush's rhetoric -- frightening and disturbing though it may be. Whenever a liberal begins a statement with "I don't know which is more frightening," you know the answer is going to be pretty clear.
Foner claimed to be the victim of McCarthyite tactics for not being lavished with praise for his idiotic remark. A report by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni -- founded by Lynne Cheney and Senator Joseph Lieberman -- cited Foner's remark as an example of how universities were failing America. This was, Foner said, "analogous to McCarthyism." These "self-appointed guardians" were "engaging in private blacklisting" and "trying to intimidate individuals who hold different points of view." A private group issuing a report criticizing him was "disturbing" and a "cause for considerable alarm."(32) The eminent historian Ronald Radosh is blacklisted from every university in the nation because he wrote the book definitively proving the guilt of executed spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. But if someone fails to agree with tenured Columbia professor Foner, he screams he is being intimidated. "There aren't loyalty oaths being demanded of teachers yet," Foner said, "but we seem to be at the beginning of a process that could get a lot worse."
If Eric Foner wants to claim he is patriotic, doesn't he have to do something to show he supports America, someday? Why is it assumed that patriotism is an unmeasurable quality? Is Eric Foner more or less patriotic than Irving Berlin? Berlin wrote the great patriotic song "God Bless America." He donated all profits from the song in perpetuity to the Boy Scouts of America -- an organization so patriotic it removed President Clinton as honorary president. Berlin served in World War I and entertained the troops in World War II with a play he wrote for the troops, This Is the Army. He greeted prisoners of war returning from Vietnam at the White House, playing "God Bless America."(33) If only Berlin were around today, he could write us a new song for the war on terrorism, something like, "Good-bye Walla Walla, I'm off to Smash Allah."
Meanwhile, Foner compared the malevolent terror of Islamic terrorists to "rhetoric" from President Bush. He defended Soviet atrocities.(34) He is still defending proven Soviet spy Julius Rosenberg. If only Foner could see beyond what is bad for the United States, he might see that fighting terrorism and Communism might be good for people of other nations, too. In a long tradition of patriotism, in 1941, Foner's father was fired from his job as a state college teacher under the New York State law that prohibited state-supported teachers from engaging in seditious or treasonous speech. (Inasmuch as this happened in New York State while Joe McCarthy was still a young circuit court judge in Wisconsin, the New York Times referred to Foner's firing as a "pre-McCarthy Red scare."(35) Isn't someone who opposes his own country less patriotic than someone who loves his country?
While consistently rooting against America, liberals have used a fictional event forged of their own hysteria -- "McCarthyism" -- to prevent Americans from ever asking the simple question: Do liberals love their country?
1. Arthur Herman, Joseph McCarthy: Reexamining the Life and Legacy of America's Most Hated Senator, New York: Free Press, 2000, p. 203.
2. Lynn Smith, “Patriotism: One Size Does Not Fit All; A New Generation of Americans Must Assess What It Means to Be Loyal,” Los Angeles Times, October 9, 2001.
3. Phil Gailey, “Bush Campaign Takes a Disturbing Turn with Attacks on Patriotism,” St. Petersburg Times, September 11, 1988.
4. Peter Applebome, New York Times, October 30, 1988.
5. David Nyhan, “A Tide of Hysteria Rolls in on Dukakis,” Boston Globe, September 30, 1988.
6. Phil Gailey, “Bush Campaign Takes a Disturbing Turn with Attacks on Patriotism,” St. Petersburg Times.
12. Mary McGrory, “The Bush Barrage,” Washington Post, September 11, 1988.
13. R. W. Apple, Jr., “Playing Rough; Campaign Takes a Turn onto the Low Road,” New York Times, September 18, 1988.
14. Michael Isikoff, “President Drops Clinton Trip Issue; Bush Denies Attacking Foe's Patriotism,” Washington Post, October 10, 1992.
15. Harry Smith, “Senator Al Gore Discusses the Presidential Campaign,” CBS This Morning, October 14, 1992.
16. Bernard Shaw, “In Which Section of the Country Do Bush Innuendos Work?” CNN Inside Politics, October 8, 1992.
17. Tom Bethell, “Bush Calls a Liberal a Liberal and Looks More Like the People's Choice,” Los Angeles Times, September 27, 1988.
18. David Denby, “Breaking Through: 8 Mile and Frida,” The New Yorker, November 11, 2002.
19. David Nyhan, “A Tide of Hysteria Rolls in on Dukakis,” Boston Globe.
21. Phil Donahue, Phil Donahue, MSNBC, December 16, 2002.
23. Geri Nikolai, “Cuomo Talks Patriotism, War,” Rockford Register Star (Rockford, Ill.), April 3, 2002.
24. David S. Broder, “Pave a New Road to Patriotism,” San Jose Mercury News, May 26, 2002.
25. Bill Tammeus, “Authentic Patriots,” Kansas City Star, October 6, 2001.
26. The Kansas City Star was so impressed with this point, it ran Tammeus's column twice. Bill Tammeus, “Commentary: Patriotism Requires Much More Than Flags,” Kansas City Star, October 9, 2001; Bill Tammeus, “Authentic Patriots,” Kansas City Star.
27. Doug Erickson, “Board Reverses Pledge Ban; Hundreds Speak at Meeting; Vote Is 6–1,” Wisconsin State Journal, October 16, 2001.
28. Janet Hook and Greg Krikorian, “Outrage Ignited on All Sides,” Los Angeles Times, June 27, 2002.
29. Richard Gid Powers, “The Nation: Fifth Column; The Evil That Lurks in the Enemy Within,” New York Times, June 16, 2002.
32. Matthew Rothschild, “The New McCarthyism: Cover Story,” The Progressive, January 1, 2002.
33. See, e.g., Maynard Good Stoddard, “‘God Bless America' . . . And Irving Berlin,” Saturday Evening Post, September 1983.
34. See generally John Patrick Diggins, “Fate and Freedom in History: The Two Worlds of Eric Foner,” The National Interest, Fall 2002.
35. William H. Honan, “Jack D. Foner, 88, Historian and Pioneer in Black Studies,” New York Times, December 16, 1999. In the classic trajectory for Communists, years later, Foner was put in charge of his own department at Colby College in Maine.