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Joseph McCarthy
Reexaming the Life and Legacy of America's Most Hated Senator

New York Times Book Review - 1999

Unlike America's Jewish immigrants, of whom more than three-quarters were skilled workers, the Irish came from an overwhelmingly rural background. In the nineteenth century they had had to take jobs at the very bottom of the economic ladder and became caught up in urban political machines such as New York's Tammany Hall. To high-minded Anglo-Saxon Protestant observers, Irish politics was synonymous with corruption. "A more improvident, heedless, and dishonest class of people never defiled the fair face of the earth." Antebellum New Orleans even made up a rhyme about the Irish:

       Ten thousand micks
        Swung their picks
        To dig the New Canal.
        But the choleray
        Was stronger'n they.
        An' twice it killed them all.

"What ought to be surprising about the American Irish," writes Andrew Greeley, "is not that they have not been quite as socially and financially successful as the Jews, but that they have been successful at all." They did it by embracing what John Courtney Murray called "the American proposition," the principles of religious and economic liberty, of science and technological progress, and of democracy and the separation of church and state. For Irish Catholics of McCarthy's generation, anticommunism became one more way of erasing an ancient stigma. Having been unjustly accused of serving one secret conspiracy against America, they would dedicate themselves to rooting out another.

That determination to succeed in a hostile environment was one of the bonds that drew together Joe McCarthy and another prominent Irish Catholic family in the fifties, the Kennedys. Robert Kennedy had joined McCarthy's staff in 1953 at the behest of his father, the senator's keen admirer. Like McCarthy, Joseph Kennedy was a former Roosevelt Democrat and a fervent anti-Communist. He often invited McCarthy to stop by for drinks at the Kennedy house at Palm Beach and to stay at the family compound at Hyannis Port. The senior Kennedy's view of politics, and of life, was much like McCarthy's: "It's not what you are that counts, but what people think you are." McCarthy became a minor figure in the Kennedy circle. To the ex-ambassador's delight, he dated two of the Kennedy daughters, Patricia and Eunice, who discovered "he had a certain raw wit and charm when he had not had too much to drink," as Eunice later put it. Joe also played shortstop in family softball games (he did so badly that the Kennedys eventually had to bench him).

Robert Kennedy served McCarthy loyally as assistant counsel for his Subcommittee on Investigations, until a personal quarrel with the chief counsel, Roy Cohn, forced him to quit. But he and Joe remained close, and Joe McCarthy stood as godfather for Bobby and Ethel's first child.

Irishman Joseph McCarthy in a close relationship to Roosevelt Democrat Joe Kennedy. The other side of the anti-Communist coin appears to be fascism. For Catholics the Communist Party represented Evil, state atheism and persecution of all religious persons. A hundred years ago, fascism and dictatorship was rooted in European nations with a Catholic majority: Portugal, Spain, Italy, Austria, Hungary and Poland. With Hitler's Mein Kampf  and blaming the Jewish population for all economic woes, it was easy to implement concentration and death camps. The final solution.

Don't Mess with Roy Cohn - A Profile | Esquire |

Roy Cohn was once the most feared lawyer in New York City. A ruthless master of dirty tricks, he smeared the reputations of his political enemies, helped send the Rosenbergs to the electric chair, and had more than one Mafia don on speed dial. But his most enduring legacy is Donald Trump, whom he took under his wing in the 1970s. In Ken Auletta's 1978 Esquire profile, we meet the man who tutored the president in the dark arts of gossip, power, and politics.  

Who Stopped McCarthy? | The Atlantic - April 2017 |
The Return of Fascism in Contemporary Capitalism (Sept. 2014 )

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Fri Feb 23rd, 2018 at 08:53:45 PM EST
Unlike America's Jewish immigrants, of whom more than three-quarters were skilled workers, the Irish came from an overwhelmingly rural background.
Citation needed. My understanding is that most skilled jobs, outside the garment industry, were closed to Jews in Europe until the late 19th century. From that point on, things changed. I won't quibble over "more than three-quarters" vs. 67% (the figure I found), but if you're going to talk about the Irish in the 19th century, you should compare like with like.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Feb 25th, 2018 at 12:36:04 PM EST
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