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MILLOY: Memo to Issa: Channel Joe McCarthy

But be ready to deal with the blowback

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If California's Republican Rep. Darrell Issa plans on investigating the Obama administration, he needs to read and digest M. Stanton Evans' gripping book "Blacklisted by History: The True Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies" (Crown Forum, 2007).

The left is already trying to liken Rep. Issa to McCarthy - a Mother Jones headline from this week was "The GOP's Coming Climate Witch Hunt" and the New York Times' Dot Earth blog bemoaned the coming McCarthyism.

No doubt the left has good cause for worry, given a White House that hired a director of Socialist International to be energy and environment czar (Carol Browner), an acknowledged communist as the "green jobs" czar (Van Jones), and an admirer of Chairman Mao as communications director (Anita Dunn).

So Mr. Issa may as well learn, embrace and benefit from the truth about McCarthy, since he will be investigating people of the same stripe that McCarthy brought to account.

The common McCarthy caricature is one of a raving lunatic, throwing mud at hapless innocents, recklessly ruining lives and careers, and launching a national paranoia about an imagined "red scare."

But as Mr. Evans points out with the help of FBI, State Department, congressional and other unimpeachable records, the federal government was, in fact, chock-full of Soviet agents who not only committed copious espionage, but, more importantly, steered U.S. policy to the detriment of America, Eastern Europe and China.

If you're interested in the shocking back story to the losses of Eastern Europe and China to communists, the North's invasion of South Korea and more, Mr. Evans' book is for you. Ann Coulter has rightly described "Blacklisted by History" as "the greatest book since the Bible."

While McCarthy did make some mistakes - most notably confusing Gen. George Marshall's implementation of bad policies as complicity rather than cluelessness - most of his errors were pretty innocuous and didn't detract in the slightest from his larger thesis.

So how is all this relevant to Mr. Issa's upcoming investigations as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee?

The most valuable lesson from "Blacklisted by History" is that the epithet of so-called "McCarthyism" is not what McCarthy did to others; it was what was done to him.

Congressional Democrats and the Truman and Eisenhower administrations did not even really try defending themselves against McCarthy's charges by proving them wrong. Rather, they attacked McCarthy personally with the intent of destroying him.

From the outset, congressional Democrats responded to McCarthy's charges by entirely ignoring them and, instead, falsely accusing him of lying about what he said in his February 1950 maiden speech on communists in the government. Bootstrapping themselves with that distraction, congressional Democrats then spent far more time investigating McCarthy than they did considering his well-documented accusations.

They did everything possible to thwart McCarthy, including refusing to make State Department records available in a meaningful way to congressional investigators, hiding records at the White House under a claim of executive privilege, fabricating exculpatory statements from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, playing fast and loose with congressional records and, ultimately, destroying McCarthy personally with a bogus Senate censure.

Like few in history - and none admirable - the left tagged McCarthy with his own "-ism" that is ignorantly and flagrantly used by the left-leaning lamestream media and a misled public.

As Mr. Evans points out, though, McCarthy gave better than he got. Sacrificing himself, he exposed and rousted many communists from the government and alerted America to a problem that had caused grievous harm to national security.

Even before Mr. Issa takes his seat as committee chairman, he is being attacked. It will get worse. The left will try to savage him. Truth won't matter. Once he assumes his chairmanship, he can rest assured that he will be lied to and about.

Mr. Issa will need much personal fortitude and persistence. He'll need a staff of steel to conduct the much-needed investigations that he envisions. He'll need the stuff of which Joe McCarthy was made.

Steve Milloy is publisher of JunkScience.com and is author of "Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plant to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them" (Regnery, 2009).

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