Only four months earlier, McCarthy had delivered an inflammatory speech claiming 205 people working in the State Department were secretly communists. Since then, Smith had been closely following his words and actions, meant to undermine the Democratic party and seed suspicion everywhere.
…“Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism in making character assassinations are all too frequently those who, by our own words and acts, ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism,” Smith said, in another thinly veiled jab at McCarthy’s tactics.
…“It is high time that we all stopped being tools and victims of totalitarian techniques—techniques that, if continued here unchecked, will surely end what we have come to cherish as the American way of life,” said Smith.
It was a remarkable moment, not only because Smith was a woman, or the first person to speak out against McCarthy, but because she was willing to speak out against her fellow Republicans.