[. . . ] Joe McCarthy surrounded himself with Jews and did his best to ingratiate himself with the Jewish community [. . .]
Sokolsky also set up a meeting of McCarthy with the ADL. There are varying accounts of this meeting, but nothing positive came of it. One observer claimed that a drunken McCarthy stated “you just write what my credo ought to be and I’ll sign it” (p. 108), but the offer was turned down by the ADL representatives. [. . .]
The fact that McCarthy attempted to gain Jewish allies and did his best not to offend the Jews shows quite clearly that Jews were very powerful in 1950s America. [. . .]
The general climate created by McCarthy delayed the triumph of these policies but could not ultimately hold them back. At least part of the problem was that McCarthy was not concerned with challenging the policy positions of the Jewish organizations related to civil rights, immigration, and the proposition nation, but focused exclusively on containing the internal security threat. The nexus among elites in politics, the intellectual world and the media was not threatened by McCarthy or his allies in the moribund conservative movement of the period, and indeed this elite ultimately caused his downfall.
This hostile elite — hostile to the traditional people and culture of America — is still in place. But unlike McCarthy (and with the benefit of 50 years of hindsight), we now realize that the Jewish involvement in the transformations of recent decades must be discussed openly and honestly — even if mainstream conservatives are still terrified at the prospect.
Seymour Martin Lipset pointed out in 1955:
This defense of the minority groups and the under privileged, and the attack on the upper class has characterized the speeches and writings of McCarthy and his followers. McCarthy differs considerably from earlier extreme right-wing anti-Communists. He is rarely interested in investigating or publicizing the activities of men who belong to minority ethnic groups. The image of the Communist which recurs time and again in his speeches is one of an easterner, usually of Anglo-Saxon Episcopalian origins, who has been educated in schools such as Groton and Harvard. [. . .]This is the context in which the myth of old money liberalism was created and promoted. The story line in which "elite WASP" Alger Hiss represents a typical Soviet spy (see the Kevin MacDonald piece linked above if you are at a loss for the actual ethnicity of the typical Soviet spy) and Dean Acheson's support of Hiss demonstrates softness or sympathy toward communism by "elite WASPs" seems to be wholly accepted by various German-, Irish-, and other "ethnic"-identified types down to the present.
Over and over again runs the theme, the common men in America have been victimized by members of the upper classes, by the prosperous, by the wealthy, by the well educated. When specific names are given, these are almost invariably individuals whose names and backgrounds per mit them to be identified with symbols of high status. As McCarthy could attack other individuals and groups, this concentration on the Anglo-Saxon elite is no accident, What are the purposes it serves? [. . .]
On the national scene, McCarthy s attacks are probably much more important in terms of their appeal to status frustrations than to resentful isolationism. In the identification of traditional symbols of status with pro-Communism the McCarthy followers, of non-Anglo-Saxon extraction, can gain a feeling of superiority over the traditionally privileged groups. Here is a prosperity-born equivalent for the economic radicalism of depressions. For the resentment created by prosperity is basically not against the economic power of Wall Street bankers, or Yankees, but against their status power. An attack on their loyalty, on their Americanism, is clearly also an attack on their status. And this group not only rejects the status claims of the minority ethnics, but also snubs the nou- veaux riches millionaires. [. . .]
It is also interesting to note that McCarthy is probably the first extreme rightist politician in America to rely heavily on a number of Jewish advisors. These include George Sokolsky, the Hearst columnist, Arthur Kohlberg, a Far-Eastern exporter, and of course, his former counsel, Roy Cohn. (These Jewish McCarthyites are, however, unrepresentative of the Jewish population generally, even of its upper strata, since all survey data as well as impres sionistic evidence indicate that the large majority of American Jews are liberal on both economic and civil liberties issues.)
An attack on the status system could conceivably antagonize groups within the radical right: such as the patriotic societies, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and members of old upper-status families like Archibald Roosevelt, who chaired a testimonial dinner for Roy Cohn. Yet, attacks on the Anglo-Saxon Yankee scapegoat do not have this effect because they are directed against majority elements in the society.
Criticism of Jews or the Irish, or Italians or Negroes, would have resulted in an immediate response from members of the attacked group. Anglo-Saxon white Protestants, as a majority group, however, are not sensitive to criticism, they are not vulnerable to being attacked, nor do they expect attack. McCarthy, on the one hand, can throw out symbols and images which appeal to the minority ethnics, to the Germans, to the Irish, and the Italians, without at the same time securing the hostility of radical rightists who also are members of the D.A.R., the Sons of the American Revolution, the Patriotic Dames or any other comparable group. 64 And in spite of his populist-type symbols, he can retain the support of these groups and the cooperation of some big businessmen. This is his peculiar power. To the status-deprived he is a critic of the upper class; to the privileged, he is a foe of social change and Communism.
['The Sources of the "Radical Right"' in The New American Right]
Hiss (note the very Anglo-Saxon surname), whatever pretensions his mother may have had, grew up poor in Baltimore after his "middle class wholesale grocer" father killed himself. One of the primary evidences of his "elite" status is having clerked for Oliver Wendell Holmes, but Hiss was chosen for this position by Felix Frankfurter.
Dean Acheson was not an American patrician. Nor was he born to great wealth.Acheson was the child of immigrants of Irish (northern and southern) and Canadian origin. He may have gone to school with "elite WASPs", but it's hardly appropriate to hold him up as the exemplar of a group to which he did not belong.