Maurice Rosenblatt and the fall of Joseph McCarthy

by Shelby Scates

Paperback, 2006





Seattle : University of Washington Press in association with History Ink, c2006.


Maurice Rosenblatt was one of the principal behind-the-scenes engineers of the 1954 overthrow of Senator Joseph McCarthy, the rabidly anti-Communist chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Veteran journalist Shelby Scates tells the story of the rise of McCarthy's power to destroy careers and livelihoods with his allegations of subversion, together with the story of Rosenblatt's role in effecting McCarthy's eventual censure by the Senate. Lobbyist Rosenblatt joined with colleagues to form the McCarthy Clearinghouse, dedicated to stopping the demagogue's assault on civil liberties. Operating out of Rosenblatt's suite in the Carroll Arms Hotel near Capitol Hill, Clearinghouse staff lent their support to the Republican senator from Vermont, Ralph Flanders, who introduced the successful resolution to censure McCarthy and remove him from his committee chairmanship. Drawing on interviews with Rosenblatt and other actors in the drama and on previously unresearched collections of papers, Scates tells a tale of excess and intrigue in an engagingly salty style. Passages quoted from the transcripts of McCarthy's closed-door hearings -- not released until 2003, fifty years after the fact -- reveal in the participants? own words how McCarthy grilled, cajoled, and threatened his witnesses and how they responded. Rosenblatt's words and records offer the counterpoint, revealing the opposition's strategy: ?the way to defeat an extremist is with the conservative establishment.' In telling the story, Scates gives Rosenblatt the acknowledgment he deserves for having helped end a fearful episode in American political history.… (more)



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