The agenda of “Third Way” liberals like Weisberg and Marshall is to make the best of a bad situation. Since their brand of liberalism has portrayed McCarthy and his conservative allies as far bigger domestic villains than the Communists themselves, that liberalism is implicated in the behaviors of the left that have now been exposed.
To manage their defense, the authors’ first task is to dispose of the specter that the facts have dredged up — the internal threat of a subversive left. This includes the Stalinist left of the early Cold War and its genetic heirs, the anti-Amerikkka left of the Vietnam era and its politically correct successor in the Clinton years.
Today, this left dominates the liberal arts faculties of the nation’s elite universities and thus the historiography of the Cold War itself. The Weisberg-Marshall strategy is first of all to belittle the importance of this left, which they dismiss as “powerless” and “irrelevant.”
Since such a diminution precludes the necessity of reevaluating conservatives’ role in containing this “threat,” the pair can move on to re-demonizing them for contemporary battles, which is accomplished by hanging the albatross of “McCarthyism” around their necks.
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