North & McCarthyYour editorial, "Virginia's Battle Royal...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 11, 1994

North & McCarthy

Your editorial, "Virginia's Battle Royal" (June 7), was further evidence of the desperation that anti-Oliver North partisans are showing in their attempt to keep the dreaded Mr. North out of the U.S. Senate.

The comparison of him to Sen. Joseph McCarthy shows that, with the campaign barely under way, the bottom of the barrel has already been reached.

Trying to invoke the specter of Senator McCarthy to attack Colonel North, however, is not the great trump card that some people might be inclined to believe it is.

Despite the conventional myth that Senator McCarthy was the reckless smearer of innocents, a careful examination of the situation shows that he was not the irresponsible inquisitor of liberal legend.

The confusion over Senator McCarthy's numbers when he first went public about subversives in the State Department was mainly the work of his opponents.

The senator used different numbers because he was talking about different types of security risks: Those that had been listed by then-Secretary of State James Byrnes in 1946, those that were still in the department, and those that the files indicated to be Communists or pro-Communist.

Senator McCarthy's enemies were also responsible for the release of the names to the public. He had wanted to withhold the names or only mention them in private session, but Senate Democrats successfully demanded that the names be made known in public session.

By accusing him of recklessly bandying about numbers if he didn't divulge the names and accusing him of smearing individuals when the names were made known, Senator McCarthy's opponents were having it both ways at his expense.

While leftists have gotten a lot of mileage out of invoking the cry of "McCarthyism" to intimidate their political opponents, the "reign" of McCarthy was neither a one-sided inquisition nor the worst thing that has happened in American history.

The early Cold War in America was a civil war with anti-Communists being recklessly smeared (tarring with the brush of fascism was a favorite tactic) more than the "victims" of the anti-Red "witch hunts."

It should also be kept in mind that it was the saintly Franklin Roosevelt (with the help of that great civil libertarian, Earl Warren) who put tens of thousands of American citizens into veritable concentration camps, not the "ogre" McCarthy.

The same impossible standard that Senator McCarthy was held to in his anti-Communist campaign (unlike leftist crusaders, he had to be perfect or be seen as a villain ) is now being used against Mr. North.

While many liberals are trying to sweep the scandalous and self-serving behavior of President Clinton and Rep. Dan Rostenkowski under the rug, the "sins" of Mr. North in a good cause (fighting Communism) are being used to vilify him.

Charles E. Wilson Jr.

Elkridge

Old Democrats

Your July 1 article on the Ways and Means Committee's health security bill really didn't do justice to what went on in that committee.

Anyone who watched the whole procedure on C-SPAN will tell you that that package was prepared in the Democratic caucus, where, considering the subdued state of the moderate Democrats, I could believe that Mr. Rostenkowski was running the show behind the closed doors.

The Democrats' amendments were already agreed to when they were presented to the full committee. The only representatives who publicly voiced any concerns about this plan were Republicans.

This made the minority party seem completely argumentative to the idea of health care reform. This kind of behavior shows what is wrong with our modern Congress.

The chairman accused a Republican member of scaring the senior citizens. As a senior, I'm sacred of what will happen to my grandchildren's future if this plan is rushed just to get votes for November.

The thought of guaranteeing health care to all seems too ambitious; think what welfare or Medicaid would be like if everyone who qualified were required to participate.

To push this through to keep the Democrats in power is totally irresponsible.

As a Democrat, I'm embarrassed that my representative was so eager to play along. I called him several times, but I have yet to hear from him.

I don't think I'll be a Democrat anymore. Because I've learned as you get older, you get more cautious, but the only ones who haven't learned are the old Democrats in Congress.

Mrs. L. Gray

Baltimore

Doesn't Get It

When is Michael Olesker going to "get it"? His plantation mentality is just plain wrong. It is most insulting to have the compassion of City Council persons compared to Jack Pollack's unbridled "wheelings and dealings" of the 1940s and '50s!

It seems that most of the time when Mr. Olesker writes about African-Americans (lately, quite a large part of his columns), he is either complimenting or criticizing the alleged ability or inability of African-Americans to conform to the Michael Olesker caricature of them!

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