Dorothy Rabinowitz was responsible for a dishonest and misleading attack on Ann Coulter’s book “Treason”, which appeared in today’s Wall St. Journal. I just finished reading the Coulter book the other day. Ann is pretty busy throwing punches in that book. She is really mean to a lot of people. But so what? She is mean to the people who need being mean to. The main thing here is that Rabinowitz fails entirely to respond to the core of Coulter’s book, which can be summed up in one sentence: The decrypted Venona messages prove that there were hundreds of Soviet agents in the United States government, that McCarthy was absolutely right to demand that they be exposed and investigated, and that liberals opposed him not because they were innocent, but because they were complicit, and guilty, so they “fought like animals.”
Rabinowitz talks about peoples lives being ruined. OK. What about Soviet spies working in the U. S. Government? There were plenty of them. More than most people ever were willing to admit. They were helping Stalin. Stalin destroyed a lot more lives than McCarthy. And no lives would have been destroyed if the commie bastards had confessed what they knew. No, they fought like animals, and maybe some people got hurt who probably shouldn’t have. Well, purging Soviet spies from the U.S. Government was necessary at the height of the Cold War, and collateral damage is how the cookie crumbles. Anyway, Rabinowitz talks only in vague generalities about people who suffered these supposedly horrible atrocities due to McCarthy. Why no names, why no pathos-filled details of innocent victims? Because there aren’t any.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan discussed this in his book Secrecy, which Coulter refers to. Moynihan says, yeah, there were a Hell of a lot of Soviet spies, making essentially the same case as Coulter. Coulter however, puts two and two together — these people were spies for Stalin’s Russia, the worst tyranny ever (top 3, anyway), their liberal friends knew it, and lied for them and protected them. Not treason? OK, what then?
Rabinowitz refers to the Annie Lee Moss episode, in which a purportedly poor and ignorant woman claimed to be mystified at the suggestion that she was a Soviet agent. This vaudeville act appealed to liberals who think that black people are wise and good, yet somehow also stupid and needing their help. My mother saw that hearing and thought Moss was lying. Coulter’s discussion of the matter is much stronger than the dishonest version Rabinowitz presents, and much more convincing.
Rabinowitz fails completely to come to grips with Coulter’s case, for reasons which make no sense to me. Maybe she is put off by the sheer bloody-minded hatred which exudes from every page, the gobs of spit and flailing fists. Why? People who betrayed their country to Stalin, or who lied to protect spies for Stalin, and continued to lie about it for decades, and who have now been smoked out and continue to lie, don’t merit hatred? Why? If not, who does?
Rabinowitz’s title is also wrong. Coulter is not the Maureen Dowd of the Conservatives. She is our Johnny Rotten. She doesn’t care what anybody thinks is appropriate behavior, or which topics are just not talked about, or about the liberal pieties, she snarls right back. And if she is over the top, she is at worst doing what one of her villains Dean Acheson admitted to be doing — speaking more plainly than the truth in order that the truth will be heard. And evil should be called evil, in season and out of season.
I was not an Ann Coulter fan until I read this book. Now I am. I hadn’t paid much attention to Rabinowitz until today. I now know she is dishonest and can’t be trusted. I’ll never read another word she writes after this.
(I await with very great eagerness the forthcoming book Ann Coulter mentions by M. Stanton Evans about McCarthy. That will be a scholarly tome which will help to set the record straight on these major events.)