Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Rick Perlstein is getting a lot of blog attention right now for "Bed-wetter Nation," in which he points out that an evil world leader visited our shores in 1959 and was treated with respect and courtesy:

Nikita Khrushchev disembarked from his plane at Andrews Air Force Base to a 21-gun salute and a receiving line of 63 officials and bureaucrats, ending with President Eisenhower. He rode 13 miles with Ike in an open limousine to his guest quarters across from the White House. Then he met for two hours with Ike and his foreign policy team. Then came a white-tie state dinner. (The Soviets then put one on at the embassy for Ike.) He joshed with the CIA chief about pooling their intelligence data....

Nikita Khrushchev simply visited a nation that had character. That was mature, well-adjusted. A nation confident we were great. We had our neuroses, to be sure -- plenty of them.

But look now what we have lost. Now when a bad guy crosses our threshhold, America becomes a pants-piddling mess.

True, but that's not the whole story. Here's Lee Edwards at a recent National Review Online symposium, also looking back to 1959:

...And then President Eisenhower invited Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, the Butcher of Ukraine, to the United States. For many, it was as though FDR had asked Hitler to lunch at Hyde Park.

Young conservatives like myself were in despair. Would no one object to this grossly immoral invitation? Would no one speak out against this diplomatic travesty? One person would and did. William F. Buckley Jr. not only filled New York City's Carnegie Hall with a rousing anti-Communist, anti-Khrushchev speech but so aroused those present they would have marched on the White House if so directed.

...[Buckley] told a rapt audience that Khrushchev was not aware "that the gates of hell shall not prevail against us. Even out of the depths despair, we take heart in the knowledge that it cannot matter how deep we fall, for there is always hope. In the end, we will bury him."

Buckley knew what feelings were abroad in the land. Consider the woman depicted on the cover of this book. Who is she?

The time is 1959 during Nikita Khrushchev's visit to the United States. The photo shows an elderly woman pointing to an upside down flag attached to the side of her house. In her hand and on her house are two bumper stickers stating "Khrushchev Not Welcome Here."

A year later, when Khrushchev visited the U.S. again, we saw the likes of this:

Organized opposition to the coming visit of Khrushchev is resulting from the increasing evidence of Communist activity against the United States and freedom all over the world. A Long Island group declared today, " We do not want one cent of our money to be spent to provide a forum for the 'butcher of the Ukraine and Budapest,' if he attends the session of the United Nations on September 20, 1960."

Clifford C. Edwards, East Hampton, President of Freedom in Education; Lucille Cardin Crain, Wainscott, Director of Aware, Inc., former editor of the Educational Reviewer; Cathryn Kelly Dorney, Sag Harbor, Director of American Education Association, Editor , Educational Signpost and member of the National Committee for Captive Nations Week observance and Carlos Videla, Bridgehampton, Executive Vice President of the South Fork Civic Conference, comprise the Long Island Committee to join with Dr. Bela Fabian of the Conference of American Citizens of Eastern European Descent (CACEED) who is spearheading the movement to prevent the visit of Nikita Khrushchev, the great perpetrator of crimes against humanity. These crimes have been fully documented by the Internal Security Committee of the United States and the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Americans who wish to preserve the blessings of liberty are asked by the committee to send wires, letters and post cards to their Representatives, Senators, Secretary of State Christian Herter and President Eisenhower to urge that this man not to be allowed to step on American soil....

So what has happened to America? Perlstein wonders. Here's what's happened: The people Perlstein calls "bedwetters" were always there. They just moved from the fringes and were brought into the mainstream.

In effect, William F. Buckley walked out of Carnegie Hall and led his mob on a long March. By 1980, they'd seized the White House. They've controlled the Oval Office, Congress, or both virtually without interruption since then. When they speak, the media thinks it's hearing not the voice of bedwetters and nutjobs, but the voice of "the people."

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