Wednesday, January 7, 2015

JFK's Pre-1960 Joe McCarthy Connection--Part 1

In the early 1960s--prior to his elimination in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963 from the world of U.S. power elite presidential politics--JFK was viewed as a politically liberal Democrat by most people in the USA and the world. Yet during the McCarthy Era of the late 1940s and 1950s, JFK was apparently a close friend of the demagogic right-wing Republican member of the U.S. Senate—Joe McCarthy—whose U.S. Senate committee violated the civil liberties of U.S. liberal and leftists during the early 1950s. As Thomas J. Whalen recalled in his 2000 book Kennedy Versus Lodge:

"...There was little danger of Kennedy's criticizing [Joe] McCarthy or his politics. He had been on friendly terms with the Wisconsin senator for several years. According to McCarthy advisor Roy Cohen, this friendship began during World War II when the two men were stationed together in the Solomon Islands...

"After the war, Kennedy and McCarthy found themselves serving together once again, this time as legislators on Capitol Hill. McCarthy became a frequent guest at Kennedy's brownstone apartment in Georgetown, and the two bachelors were often seen together making the rounds at various Washington, D.C. cocktail parties.

"`I got the idea that Jack liked McCarthy,' recalled George Smathers, the veteran Florida politician who was a freshman congressman during this period. Kennedy `thought he was a pretty good guy...He was friendly all the way through.'

"The late Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, a close Kennedy friend, confirmed this observation in an oral history conducted for the Kennedy Library. Douglas stated that whenever he tried to discuss McCarthy and tactics with the Massachusetts legislator, the latter would cut off all conversation on the subject. `Well, he's an old friend,' he would usually say. `Known him for a long time.'

"...The two shared a strong sense of anti-communism. For Kennedy believed that McCarthy's overall goal of fighting communism at home was commendable, as befitted someone who had made an issue of domestic subversion during the Harold Christoffel investigation in 1947..."

No comments: