Retiring Sen. Jeff Flake cited the most famous moment of McCarthy hearings today in a Washington Post editorial which continues his savaging of the Trump administration. An excerpt:
In words that today echo from his time to ours, Joseph Welch delivered the coup de grace: “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” The moral power of Welch’s words ended McCarthy’s rampage on American values, and effectively his career as well. After Welch said his piece, the hearing room erupted in applause, those in attendance seemingly shocked by such bracing moral clarity in the face of a moral vandal. Someone had finally spoken up and said: Enough.
By doing so, Welch reawakened the conscience of the country. The moment was a shock to the system, a powerful dose of cure for an American democracy that was questioning its values during a time of global tumult and threat. We had temporarily forgotten who we were supposed to be. We face just such a time now. We have again forgotten who we are supposed to be. There is a sickness in our system — and it is contagious.
You’ll want to read the full editorial.