Friday, August 20, 2004

The Welch Moment

June 9, 1954. The Army-McCarthy congressional hearings.

MR. WELCH - Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyer's Guild.
SENATOR MCCARTHY - Let me finish this.
MR. WELCH - And Mr. Cohn nods his head at me. I did you, I think, no personal injury, Mr. Cohn.
MR. COHN - No, sir.
MR. WELCH - I meant to do you no personal injury and if I did, I beg your pardon. Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?
SENATOR MCCARTHY - I know this hurts you, Mr. Welch.
MR. WELCH - I'll say it hurts.
SENATOR MCCARTHY - May I say, Mr. Chairman, as a point of personal privilege, that I'd like to finish this.
MR. WELCH - Senator, I think it hurts you too, sir.
We are approaching a "Joseph Welch" moment in America, the moment when the American people, almost as one, suddenly recognize the utter recklessness of a right-wing campaign to slander and destroy good men and women for no other purpose than to gain fleeting political advantage, the moment when the American people recoil in revulsion at the realization that certain of its political leaders would change the Land Of The Free into "the land of slander and scare...the land of smash and grab and anything to win."

Fifty years after Joseph Welch spoke for all Americans of good will and gave voice to the essential decency and sense of fair play of the American people, who will say to the Malkins and the O'Neills and the Roves and, yes, the President, "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"


Blogger Erik said...

Caught a link over at Political Animal, in the comments section. Amen, brother!

I think we need to start a pool on who will be the Jack Welch of 2004 -- I've got dibs on Colin Powell!

11:07 AM  

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