MARTY RUSSELL: Joe McCarthy must be rolling in his grave

I know Halloween is still a month away but it seems someone has decided to roll out the scary movie of the season early, it’s called, “The Return of the Junior Senator from Hell.” It’s a story about a junior senator in the U.S. Congress whose megalomanical plans are thwarted and he is destroyed only to rise again decades later to once again attempt to force his twisted plans upon the country.

It stars Texas Republican junior Sen. Ted Cruz as Wisconsin junior Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Don’t you think they look eerily alike?

As the plot goes, in the original movie McCarthy was attempting to make a name for himself and increase his power and influence in politics during the 1950s. He looked around him and saw that many in his party were unhappy with the progressive politics of the time that started with the New Deal back in the ’30s and had continued with such atrocities as vaccinations in the ’50s. Many conservatives viewed such government meddling into individual liberties as Communist or Socialist.

Plot starting to sound familiar?

McCarthy seized on those views and ran with them, purporting to have ferreted out hundreds of known Communists running the federal government. He even claimed to have had a list of all those Un-Americans although he refused to release it. Still, lack of any concrete evidence has never stopped a politician and soon McCarthy was a household name and people began to rally behind the new savior of the American way of life.

Of course, McCarthy was eventually discredited and disgraced and disappeared when he was forced into the sunlight beamed in by reporters who refused to take his word for it and began to investigate his claims themselves and found no evidence.

But like any decent Halloween story, you can’t keep a good boogeyman down.

Fast-forward to the present day and here we have Ted Cruz, looking an awful lot like McCarthy, trying to increase his standing and clout in the Republican Party by threatening to hold the federal budget hostage if he doesn’t get his way when it comes to killing Obamacare.

Despite very little real evidence that the law, which hasn’t even been fully implemented yet, would cause great harm and despite not having a viable alternative to address the nation’s health care crisis, Cruz and his compatriots insist that we take their word for it and, if we don’t, well that’s just un-American. Any real American wouldn’t mind delaying people’s benefits, salaries or government services if it meant killing an evil Socialist plot, right?

We can only hope that in the coming years as Obamacare is rolled out it will perform as advertised and put the brakes on rising health care costs. If it doesn’t, then we can fix it. But to take the entire country hostage because you want it killed right now should be seen for what it really is, political grandstanding.

Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at

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  • Kevin

    the anticommunist sentiment that’s going on today in the hallowed halls of Congress has much more continuity in the southern states, especially Mississippi, than it does with “machine gun” Joe McCarthy. Mississippians from the era of Bilbo through William Waller were obsessed with fifth-columnist subversive lurking in the midst. For example, Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers, Hazel Brannon Smith, Ira Harkey, Hodding Carter and many, many others were branded as communists by Mississippi political and civic leaders. The Mississippi Society Daughters of the American Revolution in addition to the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation were among the most ardent Mississippi anticommunists. Along with the Mississippi Department American Legion they were more prolific in guiding the state legislature than the Citizens’ Council. Americans, especially southerners, have for a long, long time used the taint of communism/socialism to denigrate things they don’t like. Even the state’s largest newspaper, owned by the world’s most profitable media company, is oftentimes referred to as the “Communist-Liar.”

    • guest

      And you see where it has brought our state and the bank coffers of the AFA.