Just moments ago, a tribute to prominent Democrats who have died since the 2004 convention was screened at the Pepsi Center. With somber music in the background, the names and faces of the departed were presented for a few seconds each in a kind of slideshow. (The same thing is done at the Academy Awards every year.)
It was a thoroughly respectful salute – until it was Eugene McCarthy’s turn. Or, as he was labeled in the slideshow, “Joseph McCarthy.”
Despite sharing a last name, Eugene Joseph McCarthy and Joseph Raymond McCarthy were very different men.
Just to clear things up: Gene McCarthy was a Democratic Senator from Minnesota who was good friends with poet Robert Lowell and whose 1968 presidential campaign channeled frustration with the Vietnam War and forced Lyndon Johnson to abandon his re-election hopes. Gene McCarthy died in December 2005 at the age of 89.
Joe McCarthy was the infamous red-baiting Republican Senator from Wisconsin who served as Roy Cohn’s mentor and who died at the age of 48 in 1957.