Looking at Joe McCarthy in the age of Trump

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

In 2019, the Joseph McCarthy era is universally remembered as a shameful time in American history when the Wisconsin Senator wielded “his sensational but unproven charges of communist (and homosexual) subversion in high government circles,” according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

As it was happening, it wasn’t as clear cut. When our own Buffalo Courier-Express wrote about him at the height of “McCarthyism” in 1953, they invited everyone to read the paper’s story on McCarthy’s private life, “whether you curse Joe McCarthy as a demagogue and character assassin or cheer him as a patriotic crusader against Communism.”

A year later, in 1954, the Senate voted to condemn him on the charges that he disobeyed Senate rules and leveled unfounded charges against members of a Senate panel investigating his behavior.

Even longtime friend and Senate ally William Jenner, who stood with McCarthy as he ruined lives, eventually soured on his colleague and called him “the kid who came to the party and peed in the lemonade.”

Pissing in lemonade isn’t funny or clever.. and watching someone piss in lemonade is just as bad (maybe worse?) as doing it yourself.

#StopPeeingInTheLemonade

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon is a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. writing about the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The storyteller and historian has written six books, worn bow ties since the 80s, and is the News Director at WECK Radio. A 25 year Buffalo media veteran, Steve's contributed more than 1400 Buffalo History stories to The Buffalo News, worked at WIVB-TV, Empire Sports Network, and spent ten years as a newsman and News Director at WBEN Radio. He's also put his communication skills to work as an adjunct professor, a producer of PBS documentaries, and even run for Erie County Clerk. Steve's Buffalo roots run deep: all eight of his great-grandparents called Buffalo home, with his first ancestors arriving here in 1827.