As ABC reports "Vast Gaps in Basic Views on Gender, Race, Religion and Politics" and Rasmussen details their poll results that "42% Identify with Obama Politically, 42% with the Tea Party," Killer Tomato Cass Sunstein rears his ugly collectivist head to explain it all: "How the Alger Hiss Case Explains the Tea Party."
Huh? Well, Sunstein has a kernel of truth here, but does not admit the damning evidence.
Chambers took Hiss’s bait. In an interview on national television, Chambers repeated his charges. In response to the libel suit, he produced stolen State Department documents and notes that seemed to establish not merely that Hiss was a Communist, but that he had spied for the Soviet Union. Hiss was convicted of perjury.The conviction was stunning, for Hiss had been a member of the nation’s liberal elite. A graduate of Harvard Law School and a law clerk for the revered Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, he held positions of authority in the Agriculture, Justice and State departments. He was tall, handsome, elegant, gracious, even dashing.At his 1949 perjury trial, an extraordinary number of liberal icons served as character witnesses for Hiss, including two Supreme Court justices (Stanley Reed and Felix Frankfurter); John W. Davis, who was the Democratic presidential nominee in 1924; and Adlai Stevenson, who was to become the Democratic nominee for the presidency in 1952 and 1956. . .
The Hiss case split the country. Many liberals thought that Chambers was a liar and perhaps a madman. Chambers explained their reaction in a way that fit with, and helped spur, a widespread view on the right: “The simple fact is that when I took up my little sling and aimed at Communism, I also hit something else. What I hit was the forces of that great socialist revolution, which, in the name of liberalism, spasmodically, incompletely, somewhat formlessly, but always in the same direction, has been inching its ice cap over the nation for two decades.”
Finally, Sunstein gets around to admitting, grudgingly, "Most of those who have carefully studied the case, and who have explored evidence emerging long after the trial itself, have concluded that Chambers was telling the truth and that Hiss did indeed perjure himself."
Perjury was the least of it, Cass, as you well know. In the 2009 book by Haynes, Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev, Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, which is based on KGB documents, it was demonstrated that Alger Hiss was certainly a Soviet spy for the GRU.
But the legacy of the case extends well beyond the issue of Hiss’s guilt. Chambers’ broader charge -- that liberalism was a species of socialism, “inching its ice cap over the nation” -- polarized the nation. His attack on the patriotism of the Ivy League elite reflected an important strand in American culture, and it helped to initiate suspicions that persist to this day.Liberals are no longer much interested in Hiss’s conviction, yet they are puzzled, and rightly object, when they are accused of holding positions that they abhor. We can’t easily understand those accusations, contemporary conservative thought or the influence of the Tea Party without appreciating the enduring impact of the Hiss case.
Of course the fact that Whittaker Chambers and, now, the Tea Party, were right about both Hiss and creeping socialism doesn't faze Sunnstein. He explains, faintly, the outlines of the ideological split but doesn't concede in the end that his side is wrong.
Well, don't hold your breath waiting for THAT.