Mr. Merry has been a ‘longtime Washington journalist‘ and the author of a duel biography of the Alsop brothers, that was reviewed at the New York Times under the title of ‘Aesop’s’ Fables’ by David Kennedy, in 1996. Some revelatory quotation:
IT is the fate of most journalists to write not for the ages but for their day alone — and to see their toilsome scrivening unceremoniously chucked out with the daily trash. So it is to be expected that few Americans under the age of 40 have even heard of Joseph and , let alone read their copy. Yet in the Alsops’ heyday, during the three decades following World War II, millions of Americans regularly ingested Alsop prose by the wholesale lot. Their jointly written column, Matter of Fact, widely syndicated by the now defunct New York Herald Tribune, appeared four times a week for nearly a dozen years. And pieces in mass-circulation periodicals like The Saturday Evening Post and Newsweek reached millions of additional readers. The Alsops enjoyed matchless access to the most highly placed sources in Washington and in many of the world’s other capitals as well. They wrote with lapidary authority about the issues that convulsed their era, especially cold war foreign policy. To a degree equaled by few of their peers, and rarely exceeded in the history of their craft, Joseph and Stewart Alsop reigned in their time as the very highest panjandrums of American journalism.
David M. Kennedy’s beautifully executed review/polemic, that takes on the Alsop Brothers apologist Mr. Merry. The review is not about a collection of insults, disguised as evaluation but about what matters.
In this rich and fascinating book, Robert W. Merry, himself a professional journalist and currently executive editor of Congressional Quarterly Inc., offers a literary triptych. “Taking On the World” is at once a dual biography of two intriguing personalities and a revealing analysis of the practical workings of the journalistic guild. Most consequentially, it is also a probing examination of the severely attenuated “American Century” — the 30 years of unequaled prosperity and extraordinary national self-confidence from World War II until Vietnam — as seen through the eyes of two men who both chronicled and shaped the great events of their era.
Another less ensorcelled contribution on Joseph Alsop see ‘Joe Alsop’s Cold War: A Study of Journalistic Influence and Intrigue’ By Edwin M. Yoder Jr.
See also The Georgetown Set: Friends and Rivals in Cold War Washington by Gregg Herken where Joseph Alsop plays a prominent part. Not ignoring the appearances of many prominent political actors of the time.
Two interviews with Joseph Alsop, on C-SPAN, provide a look at the man, who along with J.Edgar Hoover, were perhaps the most two most prominent closeted political actors, next to Philby and Maclean?
What might the above have to do with Mr. Merry’s essay on highlighting the ‘misbegotten’ political interventions of Joe Biden? The last three paragraphs of his essay demonstrates what? Biden’s program doesn’t include a $15 minimum wage, nor Medicare for all! Just steps to far for Biden’s Neo-Liberalism? Mr. Merry, as apologists for Cold Warriors Joseph and Stewart Alsop, is unable to fathom that Bidens truncated, but toxic, ‘New Dealism’ might just be a cover for waging a New Cold War. Against both Russia and China, in the hands of Blinken, Neo-Con Nuland and R2P zealot Power. That New Cold War wedded to a toxic pastiche of FDR’s actual reforms?
The president projects some $6 trillion of new spending atop an annual budget of only around $4 trillion. Among the spending targets are clean-energy subsidies, electronic-vehicle charging stations, free child care, free pre-kindergarten education, free community college education, free family and medical leave, and the underwriting of incomes in a host of ways, most of which don’t require any work. Biden also would employ the regulatory state to thwart banks from investing in old energy projects and toward greater diversity. As the Wall Street Journal puts it, Biden “seeks to insinuate government cash and the rules that go with it into all the major decisions of family life.” He wants to “make Americans rely on government and the political class for everything they don’t already provide.”
Note the words “the political class.” This is essentially an elitist agenda, bolstering the power and influence of the country’s meritocratic elite, which will administer all this and derive ever greater power and wealth in the process. And, because Biden enjoys no mandate of the kind that fueled the FDR and Reagan programs, he’s fixing to attack fundamental institutions in ways designed—like Roosevelt’s court-packing scheme—to tilt the playing field in favor of the elite agenda. That’s the significance of the budding initiatives to kill the Senate filibuster, pack the court, and give statehood to Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
The history of America since Roosevelt’s first term provides little evidence that the American people have hungered for this kind of grand governmental aggrandizement and intrusiveness. Indeed, that history suggests the American people have always been wary of going that far. And nothing in the country’s recent political expression indicates anything approaching a serious groundswell now for the Biden vision. The president was elected leader of a nation roiled by passionate discord and disruption, reaching almost frightening intensity. He has unleashed upon his constituency a program that can only make it worse.