tor. On the whole, however, Nash’s contention is misleadingnand betrays a basic misunderstanding of McCarthyismnand its impact on public opinion. Nash equated the termnalmost exclusively with the Senator, a basic error.nIn fact, McCarthyism was a word invented in early 1950nby the Washington Post cartoonist Herbert Block (Herblock).nIt labeled a ruthless technique employed frequentlynby conservatives (almost always Republicans) for severalnyears before McCarthy became a national figure. This termncaught on quickly, and one dictionary defined it as anpolitical attitude “characterized chiefly by opposition tonelements held to be subversive and by the use of tacticsninvolving personal attacks on individuals by means ofnwidely publicized indiscriminate allegations especially onnthe basis of unsubstantiated charges.”nMcCarthyism, then, was far more than McCarthy. Itsnpractitioners included politicians, government bureaucrats,njournalists, leaders of veterans and patriotic organizations.nChamber of Commerce executives, FBI officials, Hollywoodnblacklisters, labor leaders, preachers and priests, booknburners, and a broad assortment of others, along with thenconservative intellectuals. Some were sincere, some werenfanatical, many were cynical.nMcCarthyism was not a mass movement, however, asnsome scholars have claimed. Polls taken in 1953 and 1954,nat the height of McCarthy’s notoriety, revealed very littienpublic interest in domestic subversion. Samuel Stoufifer’snCommunism, Conformity, and Civil Liberties concludednthat in the summer of 1954, “The number of people whonsaid that they were worried either about the threat ofnCommunists in the United States or about civil libertiesnwas, even by the most generous interpretation of occasionallynambiguous responses, less than I percent!” A massivenstudy by Michael Paul Rogin concluded that “perhaps thensingle most important characteristic of supporters of Mc­nCarthy in the national opinion polls was their partynaffiliation: Democrats opposed McCarthy, and Republicansnsupported him.”nMcCarthyism was more than politics, but it was essentiallynpolitical. As Robert Criffith has contended, “it wasnprimarily a product of the political system and its leaders.”nMcCarthyism had many goals, but the winning of electionsnwas supreme.nThe heyday of McCarthyism was the period 1948 ton1957, and historians have dubbed the outburst the SecondnRed Scare. The “ism” did not disappear with McCarthy inn1957, however, and it was never repudiated by the Senator’snintellectual champions. Indeed, it remains a common andnpowerful feature of right-wing thought to this day. Much ofnthe right during the Reagan years is as firmly committed tonMcCarthyism as it was during the political campaigns of thenI940’s and 1950’s.nThe roots of McCarthyism ran deep. Throughout thenI930’s Republicans linked New Deal programs with Marxnand Lenin. During the Presidential campaign of 1944,nGOP Vice Presidential candidate John W. Bricker chargednthat the Democratic Party had become the “communisticnparty with Franklin D. Roosevelt at its front.” Such chargesnbecame commonplace during the elections of 1946. In thatnyear supporters of Richard Nixon’s campaign for a Californiancongressional seat charged the incumbent with harbor­ning communist sympathies. Senator Harry Truman’s GOPnopponent called him “soft on Communism.” That fall FBInDirector J. Edgar Hoover assisted his friends on the right bynwarning the American Legion, “During the past five years,nAmerican Communists have made their deepest inroadsnupon our national life. . . . Their propaganda, skillfullyndesigned and adroifly executed, has been projected intonpractically every phase of our national life.” Republicansncaptured both houses of Congress.nIn 1947 the House Committee on Un-American Activitiesnheld flamboyant hearings in Hollywood and elsewhere,nclaiming to see ties between liberals and Communists. ThenUnited States Chamber of Commerce released the third ofnthree nationally distributed pamphlets condemning Communismnand warning of serious internal subversion. PresidentnTruman’s creation of a Federal employee loyaltynprogram and his efforts to halt the advance of Communismnoverseas failed to mollify the right.nDomestic Communism was not a major issue during thenPresidential election of 1948, if only because Thomas E.nDewey was predicted to defeat President Truman easily.nStill, the Henry Wallace movement was a popular target.nCongressman Nixon coauthored a bill that would havenvirtually outlawed the Communist Party. The House Committeenon un-American Activities accelerated its Red huntnwhen Truman called the 80th Congress back into session innAugust. It provided a platform for former Communist spiesnElizabeth Bentley and Whittaker Chambers, and the AlgernHiss case soon dominated the headlines.nWhen President Truman won a stunning upset victory,nthe right wing of the GOP fell into a rage. Deprived sincenHoover of a candidate they felt comfortable with, andnboiling mad about the fifth consecutive victory by Democrats,nright-wingers vowed to intensify their charges ofnsubversion and keep hammering away until they recapturednthe White House. Political Scientist Earl Latham has put itnthis way:nThe failure of the electorate to effect a change ofngovernment in 1948 with such opportunity as thenpolitical system might permit for the release ofnantiwelfarist ambitions, under conditions of somenpolitical responsibility for the outcome (whichninevitably would have tempered and moderatednpolicy), produced a political compression thatnexploded in McCarthyism.nWhat followed is now a familiar story. In 1949, a year ofnextraordinary domestic and international tensions, 15 statesnpassed antisubversive laws. The House Committee onnUn-American Activities kept Hiss and Department of Justicenemployee Judith Coplon in the headlines and askednmore than 100 schools and colleges to submit textbooks forna check on Communist content. Alfred Kohlberg and thenChina Lobby contended that State Department subversivesnwere responsible for the defeat of Chiang Kai-shek. ThenNew York Times reported that “spy stories” occupied 32npercent of the combined front pages of the New York dailynnewspapers during a single week in June. The AmericannCivil Liberties Union entitled its annual report “In thenShadow of Fear.”nJoe McCarthy belatedly entered the fray in FebruarynnnSEPTEMBER 1986 / 13n