There is current MSNBC talking head and former Missouri Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill saying this of Fox’s Tucker Carlson, bold print for emphasis supplied:
Ukrainian President President Volodymyr Zelensky “also needs to warn America about allowing Putin to use them for his propaganda. I particularly hope he mentions the false flag about biological weapons in Ukraine so that all the Republicans hear that Tucker Carlson and others are really, really close to treason in terms of what they are saying and parroting what is Putin’s dream, that he could have American media spreading his propaganda in the middle of his murderous assault on innocent children and civilians in Ukraine.”
An MSNBC personality channeling the long-ago Wisconsin communist-hunter Sen. Joe McCarthy. Who knew?
To make no mistake where this kind of comes from, recall Sen. Joe McCarthy’s famous speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, in which he gave his version then of what McCaskill is saying now:
The reason why we find ourselves in a position of impotency is not because our only powerful, potential enemy has sent men to invade our shores, but rather because of the traitorous actions of those who have been treated so well by this nation. It has not been the less fortunate or members of minority groups who have been selling this nation out, but rather those who have had all the benefits that the wealthiest nation on earth has had to offer — the finest homes, the finest college education, and the finest jobs in government we can give.
Which is to say, the difference between Josephine McCarthy — er, Claire McCaskill — in 2022, and Sen. Joe McCarthy in 1950 is … zip.
My colleague George Neumayr touched on this curious reversal of history by McCaskill and others on the left earlier this week. His headline:
The Democrats Go From Cold War Doves to Paranoid Hawks
The party that once celebrated Daniel Ellsberg can’t tolerate Tulsi Gabbard.
Exactly. Separately I noticed the same curious phenomenon as George, my realization driven by coming of age in the 1960s and recalling in full the Left’s staunch — belligerent? — opposition to the Vietnam War.
I well recall the chant that was first directed at Democrat President Lyndon B. Johnson by the aborning anti-war leftists in his own party: “Hey, hey LBJ! How many kids did you kill today?”
In the United States Senate, Arkansas Democrat Sen. J. William Fulbright chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, using his perch to preach relentlessly against both the war and his old Senate colleague from neighboring Texas — LBJ. Fulbright would go on to write an anti-Vietnam War book titled The Arrogance of Power. In it, Fulbright focused on America’s role in the world, what it should and should not be, and said that when America is “not living up to our capacity and promise as a civilized example for the world, the measure of our falling short is the measure of the patriot’s duty of dissent.”
Catch that phrase? “The patriot’s duty of dissent.”
Fulbright’s use of his committee to put the spotlight on his dissent from the war also led him to give the spotlight to other anti-war activists and leftist dissenters.
Enter, a young Vietnam veteran named … John Kerry.
For those with short or no historical memory, it was Kerry’s militant and, thanks to Fulbright, highly publicized stand against the Vietnam War that earned Kerry his initial fame on the American political scene. Heading up a group called “Vietnam Veterans Against the War,” Fulbright gave the young leftist veteran time to testify — in uniform — before the Foreign Relations Committee, testimony that received wide television coverage in the day and launched Kerry’s eventual political career in Massachusetts, where he would be elected to the U.S. Senate and decades later become the Democrats’ (losing) 2004 presidential nominee and Secretary of State for Obama’s second term. Today Kerry is Joe Biden’s “Climate Czar,” in which role he relentlessly preaches the leftist gospel of climate change.
In other words, Fulbright used his televised hearings on the war much like today’s Tucker Carlson uses his show to discuss the Ukraine invasion, Russia, and the state of American foreign policy in general. One didn’t have to agree with Fulbright then or today with Tucker to appreciate the time and careful thought put into their respective dissents. This, it should not need to be said, is democracy in action. Fulbright then, and Tucker now, deserve applause for having the courage to stand up and express thoughtful, reasoned dissent.
It must be noted that Kerry’s critics in those early days and throughout his career used exactly McCaskill’s approach to Tucker in criticizing Kerry. John Kerry was, they said, really pro-communist. Here is but one headline from Newsmax in 2004:
John Kerry: Always On The Enemy’s Side
The story said this:
Tragically, Kerry succeeded brilliantly in one of his signature campaigns, helping to condemn the people of South Vietnam to the horrors of life under a communist dictatorship which today still honors him as one of their war heroes….
For his valiant service on behalf of the Communist Vietnamese government, Kerry was awarded a special commendation as a “Hero” of communist victory in 1983 when he was Lt. Governor of Massachusetts. The record of Kerry and fellow pro-Communist North Vietnam comrades was cited by General Vo Nguyen Giap, the military commander of North Vietnamese forces, in his 1985 memoir. Giap wrote that, “if it were not for the disunity created by … stateside protests, Hanoi would have ultimately surrendered.”
Kerry earned the award, having aided and abetted the enemy, helped to prolong the war, and create more American casualties. Today, a photograph of Kerry being greeted by Do Muoi, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, is displayed in a room dedicated to the anti-war protesters in the Vietnamese Communist War Remnants Museum (formerly known as the “War Crimes Museum”) in Ho Chi Minh City.
So, to get back to Claire McCaskill and her Josephine McCarthyism, logic would dictate that she believes her former Senate colleague Kerry was “really, really close to treason in terms of what he was saying and parroting that is Ho Chi Minh’s dream, that Ho could have American media and Democratic politicians spreading his propaganda in the middle of his murderous assault on innocent children and civilians in South Vietnam.”
Let me be clear. I may have disagreed with John Kerry in those years, but most assuredly I did not believe he was some sort of secret agent for North Vietnam’s communist dictator Ho Chi Minh.
And as I have noted in this space, the real Putin acolytes in America today are hardly those like Tucker Carlson. The real Putin allies are those who supported Joe Biden. Putin, afraid to invade Ukraine and start a war with the unpredictable Trump in the White House, long ago took Joe Biden’s measure, finding him, in short, as Neville Chamberlain with dementia.
Result: the invasion and war in Ukraine. Thanks Claire and Bidenites. The people of Ukraine thank you. Not.
Again: To suggest that Tucker Carlson is “really, really close to treason” is the purest kind of McCarthyism.
Not only should Claire McCaskill and her buddies know better — they should be ashamed of themselves.