They called him “Tail Gunner Joe,” in derision, claiming that he was never in combat during World War II. They assailed his search for communists in government as a “witch-hunt,” and they wrote columns about his alcoholism. There can be no doubt about it; the press had no respect for the tactics of Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
By the time of his censure by the United States Senate in 1954, McCarthy’s name had become synonymous with gutter politics. That’s what made the actions of one of America’s most prominent and progressively thinking families so inexplicable. They apparently loved the hate-monger.
It probably surprised no one that the patriarch of the family took a shine to Joe McCarthy. Neither of them could be placed in the “pure as the driven snow” category.
However, when it came to the old man’s children, that was another matter. They were all highly educated and well endowed with a fervent sense of “noblesse oblige.” One would have thought that if there was any place where McCarthy would feel uncomfortable it would be in this family’s living room. Surprisingly this was not the case...