Blogs > HNN > Ronald Radosh reviewed Michael J. Ybarra's Washigton Gone Crazy: Senator Pat McCarran and the Great American Communist Hunt (Steerforth Press, 2004)

Sep 25, 2004 12:09 pm


Ronald Radosh reviewed Michael J. Ybarra's Washigton Gone Crazy: Senator Pat McCarran and the Great American Communist Hunt (Steerforth Press, 2004)




Ronald Radosh, Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute and co-author (with Joyce Milton) of “The Rosenberg File,” writes that Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada was worse than Joe McCarthy and even “made McCarthy possible.” Describing the book as “magisterial and beautifully written,” it argues that it was McCarran who blunted the liberal programs of the Truman administration and also organized the destructive Senate Internal Security Subcommittee.

McCarran also was obsessed with immigration and his fear that Communists and Jews (whom he believed they were one and the same) would enter the U.S. He sponsored the McCarran-Walter Act “the most restrictive immigration law in American history.” Radosh praises Ybarra, a onetime reporter for the Wall Street Journal, for telling “the often sordid story of the havoc he [McCarran] unleashed. Ironically, McCarran had once been a defender of labor unions. He even opposed the infamous post-WWI Palmer Raids. As Ybarra writes, McCarran once “sounded more like Felix Frankfurter than J. Edgar Hoover.” He certainly changed.

Radosh also praises Ybarra for not minimizing “the actual infiltration of government” by some American communists. 0f course, “not all Communists were subversive, but in ways small and large, many of them were," writes Ybarra. Too many “well-meaning liberals”, notes Radish, were reluctant to speak out about Communist infiltration and thus opened the door wide to demagogues like McCarran and McCarthy.Radosh concludes: “How our country handled reconciling the needs of security with those of civil liberties in the McCarran-McCarthy years provides a sober lesson for Americans struggling with the same issues in today’s equally dangerous times.” < />< /> Los Angeles Times, September 26, 2004



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