Words of Others | Good ol' Joe McCarthy

As I mentioned last week, I recently read David Halberstam's The Longest Winter, a history of American involvement in the Korean War. One of the things I really liked about the book was its breadth of subject matter, covering both the military and political maneuvering involved, as well as the personal stories of the men who did the fighting. This week's Words of Others comes from one of the chapters on politics, specifically a foul-mouthed quote from Senator Joe McCarthy in a paragraph describing his place as a Commie-hunter:

  • "He was the great political roughneck of the era, a populist playing on fears generated by a new and uncertain atomic age. He gloried in how in his own mind he had become the very embodiment of Americanism. 'If you want to be against McCarthy, boys,' he told two reporters at one instant press conference, 'you've got to be a Communist or a cocksucker.'"

Remember that next time someone says politics today is coarser than it has ever been.