Similarities Astounding

Sep 26, 2018

To the Editor:

I just finished The Politics of Fear – Joseph R. McCarthy and the Senate, written by Robert Griffith in 1970. The similarities between President Donald J. Trump and Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy are astounding.

McCarthy’s behavior as an out-of-control bully with no sense of morality and a clear disregard for the truth reminds me of the president. His McCarthyites fell into line, no matter how outrageous his behavior, in the same manner that Trumpsters refuse to condemn anything the president does.

McCarthy’s supporters, such as Vice President Richard Nixon and the media empire run by William Randolph Hearst, remind me of Sean Hannity and Fox News. McCarthy and Trump share a penchant to demean their rivals with schoolyard name calling as their go-to technique to gain the upper hand in any difference of opinion.

In 1954, as he continued to embarrass himself and the GOP, McCarthy’s party controlled all three branches of government. President Dwight Eisenhower was not on the ballot in the 1954 midterms, but the House and members of the Senate faced re-election. Ironically, when in the summer of 1954 the Senate voted to formally censure McCarthy, he characterized their action not as a “witch hunt” but as a “lynch bee” inspired by forces in Moscow.

With McCarthy’s Gallop Poll favorability rating at 36 percent and unfavorable rating at 51 percent (sound familiar, President Trump?), the GOP lost control of both the House and Senate. One can only hope (and vote) that history repeats itself.

Mike Kistner

Wayne, N.J., and Ship Bottom


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