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May 26, 2006


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Francis Burdett

NPR Ken Rudin

"MCCARTHYISM: Kayne Doumani's question in the Feb. 3rd column asked of the whereabouts of Tierney McCarthy, the adopted daughter of the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI). Both Brian Schallhorn of Ellicott City, Md., and John Gizzi of Washington, D.C., were extremely helpful in tracking her down. I have contacted her and will let you know if she has any interest in furthering a discussion about her life. Gizzi, by the way, writes, "I have a feeling that the adoption of Tierney as a means of encouraging Joe McCarthy to stop drinking [as suggested in Kayne Doumani's note] is in part fable. Both McCarthy and his wife Jean very much wanted to have children and were thrilled when Tierney came home with them.""


I seem to recall my father telling me about arguing in front of good ol' Urban. Thought rather highly of him, I believe.

I'd like to point out that while we voted out LaFollette for McCarthy, that we've made up for it by keeping Russ Feingold in office for a couple of terms so far.


I was having a reuben the other day with Onion John, and we began discussing the future of American politics:

Onion John: Yeah, one guy from Wisconsin is all that stands in the way. A twice-divorced Jew. [beat] We're doomed.

[uncomfortable silence as it all sinks in]

Me: I'd rather have eleven guys from Wisconsin.

Onion John: Yeah. Barry's out for the season. Quadriceps rolled up like a blind.


This almost made me feel sorry for him. Huh.

Yes, I hope things worked out for Tierney. And Jean. That must have been very hard.

Doug M.


One point that never seems to be made: Joe McCarthy was an American Irish Catholic without either 'cultural cringe' or overcompensation -- compare the Kennedys, or Daley the Elder, or Curley in Boston; or John O'Hara; or even today's Bill O'Reilly.

You can see how this must have appealed to the young Bill Buckley.

It seems to be part of the reason why his critics (and his admirers) never got a good read on him. He was an otherwise secure guy who developed a taste -- an addiction, really -- for being the center of attention. There wasn't an obvious primal wound behind his bluster, except the need itself.

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