That was the famous question at the Army-McCarthy hearings that was the coup de grace (is that what my post brain surgery mind means?), the more-or-less final blow in what was becoming the unraveling of Joe McCarthy's political career.
A career based on the most outrageous lies about communist infiltration into all kinds of government agencies and branches of the federal government. He just made up numbers and supposed "facts" that the right has been trying to bring back as the "truth" that will return McCarthy to his rightful heroic place in their version of this country's history.
Because some declassified documents show that some people in the 1940s and before had been either sympathetic to the communist cause (because communists were almost alone in their fight against anti-semitism, racism, women's rights, etc.) and a few even belonged to "The Communist Party USA".
But that's like Republican House minority leader blowhard Boehner getting the media to pay attention almost every day to the lies he's constantly throwing out to them and the undiscerning public that falls for them, like how the Republicans are somehow suddenly the defenders of us peons against the giant financial institutions like Goldman Sachs.
Boehner actually declared to the media and his rightwing constituents that the Democrats were the recipients of Goldman Sachs largesse and should be exposed as the groveling lickers of the boots of that too-big-to-fail Wall Street powerhouse. When it turns out that most of Capitol Hill has taken money from Goldman Sachs, but more money was given to Republicans, much more, and more of it in March than in all of 2009, and that Boehner himself took twice as much money (or was it four times?) as Harry Ried.
Now they're all pretending to be outraged at GS's financial shenanigans that contributed to the economic disaster that didn't just head our economy over a cliff it pushed it over and only the smart actions of Obama and some of the Dems began to reverse. (But some on the left don't seem to be satisfied with anything. Now that the Democratic administration has toughened up the SEC and they're going after Goldman Sachs, who most leftists were saying just weeks ago were totally controlling Obama's money policies, are they jumping up and down and cheering that Obama is actually taking on those who contributed to his campaign? etc.? [see comments for some answers to that question!])
The most interesting thing about this to me (and I got out of bed to write this because it's been on my mind after catching the hearings today where the Goldman Sachs elite came off as clueless and the Senators came off as angry, better late than never, even if it's all for the cameras) is that Goldman Sachs executives must have been aware, in fact were obviously aware that an investigation was in the works which is why in March they gave out more money to Senators than like I said in all of 2009, and most of it to Republicans who are, surprise surprise, blocking any DEBATE EVEN on the financial reform bill the Dems and Pubs had supposedly agreed on.
I'm too tired to articulate this clearly but the point is that the Republicans have become like the party of McCarthy, throwing out lies and distortions to a public that often takes at least some of it as "truth" and then they take actions that are so blatantly against the good of the majority of us in order to protect their corporate masters and most of the media is so scared of their wrath or corporate overlords or looking "partisan" or whatever, they don't question it or point out the hypocrisy and outright lying.
[With a few exceptions, like John Stewart, here's one example.]