I had to smile and post this as soon as I heard it from the mouth of Chris Matthews. I did so as about an hour ago after I stated in a post how I consider Ted Cruz to be the reincarnation of Joseph McCarthy.
Being a long-time fan of Allen Drury’s Advise And Consent series–(if you have never read them please consider doing so either as a winter couch activity or a summer beach time event)–this made me do a hand clap in the living room as it is so true.
When speaking of Ted Cruz the host of Hardball said Cruz reminds him of Fred Van Ackerman in the Drury series. Ackerman was the junior senator from Wyoming in the famed books. I also love the fact someone on television has institutional memory and can invoke such a comparison!
For some background on Ackerman I provide the following.
The book’s Senator Fred Van Ackerman is a Joseph R. McCarthy (R-WI) of the left. Each is a demagogue apparently barely interested in the Communism issue he finds leads him to sudden prominence, but only attracted by the notoriety it brings him. Junior senators previously of little significance, each insults his seniors and tramples on Senate custom and prerogative, leading eventually to his censure by the Senate and the quick evaporation of his popularity. Thus far they are identical. The differences are: 1) The McCarthy era lasted much longer, over four years; 2) McCarthy had much more power over the Senate in his heyday, serving as a committee chairman and directly causing the election defeat of the first senator to investigate him; 3) McCarthy’s censure was referred to a committee (the Watkins Committee, whose junior member, Sam Ervin (D-NC), chaired the Senate’s Watergate Committee 20 years later), and took the normal several months to complete, instead of the reflexive one-day floor vote on Van Ackerman; 4) Unlike McCarthy, Van Ackerman makes a comeback in the sequels; 5) And, of course, the difference in their opinions, Van Ackerman being depicted by Drury as a dupe of the Communists, while McCarthy’s declared aim was to remove Communists from government.
Meanwhile the complete Drury series in hardcover sits over my head in the office on a shelf reserved for personal favorites.