I'm just sitting up, possibly finishing David Oshinsky's McCarthy tome by the end of the evening, and I keep wondering about parallels between him and Tom DeLay. I don't mean in the general way, but in the specific one. McCarthy's tactics for weilding power in the senate were all intimidation, even within the party. When the Cohn/Schine scandal finally broke, McCarthy's response was "I don't answer charges, I make them." In the end, he wasn't so successful.
I'm not the only one to notice a resemblance.
McCarthy's greatest skill was not in convincing his peers that he was right, but convincing them that he was invincible. He used the media to make it almost impossible to oppose him. To oppose McCarthy was to be a traitor, or a traitor-lover. ...until the day when he went too far, criticizing the army, criticizing the president.
Now, we can see how DeLay is attempting a McCarthy style reversal of his own by attacking Ronnie Earl as some kind of "McCarthyite" on a witch-hunt. In fact, the word McCarthyism showed up more in reference to Earl when I started my little google-fest, than it did in reference to DeLay. Despite this valiant, or desperate smear attempt on his part, I don't think that DeLay is currently in the position to browbeat that McCarthy was back in the fifties.
Moderate republicans were privately disgusted with McCarthy's bullying tactics, according to Oshinsky, but were intimidated out of acting. I don't think there are any moderate republicans anymore, but this may be finally leading to self-destruction on the republicans part. With the far right out-righting the president over Meiers, I think this is a question of the "revolution eating its children," not some kind of revalation of virtue by the values voters"" whom Grand Moff Texan so skillfully skewered in his Kos diary today.
When it comes to what they agree on, the corporations are it, and Democrats now are playing the role played by yesteryear's moderate republicans, and they are willing to take down DeLay in the name of the cause. Don't get fooled again though. HUAC kept going even after McCarthy's censure, and corporate power will still function in DC despite DeLay's fall from grace. If Democrats resent the wacked-out crazy corporatist tactics of DeLay Inc, they're still wedded to the same private interests. Perhaps they have their parallel in Eisenhower, who still killed Ethel and Julius Rosenberg,* despite his distaste for McCarthy's vulgarity.
* For those who think Ethel and Julius have recently been proven guilty. oy! The secret CIA cables that were not part of the trial in which they were convicted proved that Julius was a spy during a time when the USSR and the USA were allies. Nothing that he gave the Soviets would have made much difference in their development of Nuclear technology. Most people found guilty of that level of espionage are not executed. Ethel, executed along with her husband, was not a spy, and was known by the govt. to be innocent, but was used as a lever to make her husband confess.