BH Interview: Ken Wahl on Hollywood's Lurch to the Left, the Legacy of McCarthyism
Below is the third part of an interview series with “Wiseguy” actor Ken Wahl …
Gary Graham: I’ve heard said that the Liberals have taken over the Media, the Hollywood community, and Academia.
Ken Wahl: Absolutely. What’s left …?
Graham: Talk about the centers of opinion-making, it’s right there. Hollywood, for a long time has been known to slant pretty liberal, pretty leftist …
Wahl: Since the McCarthy days with the whole ‘hunting for a Communist’ in Hollywood. Before that, during WWII, Hollywood was very conservative. You know, ‘Buy war bonds’ … they would do the U.S.O. shows … they were completely behind the country then. But then it switched in the ’50s and Hollywood became very Liberal when McCarthy was witch-hunting. I can even understand that. That’s logical, that makes sense.
Graham: And he was successfully maligned and ridiculed. McCarthy became a punch line. It was, check under your bed for a Communist.
Wahl: Right. It got cartoonish. And then you had the Blacklist…
Graham: And yet – there was an excellent book out by Ann Coulter in which she debunks the “McCarthyism” paranoia as myth. And that most of the theories McCarthy was floating, in hindsight…turned out to be absolutely accurate.
Wahl: But you know what the problem is, Gary? As an actor you know this – ‘It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.’ And the way McCarthy presented all this; he did look like this witch-hunting maniac.
Graham: He was unshaven … grim … humorless … he went to the Richard Nixon school of how not to appear on television.
Wahl: Yes. His whole demeanor … I’ve seen enough documentaries about him, so I can see why they counter-attacked this guy like they did. He just seemed like he was hell-bent with ‘the place is crawling with communists! We gotta get ’em all…!’ So I can understand the logic of how Hollywood turned liberal, but it was so all-encompassing. It wasn’t just, Okay, McCarthy was a jerk, even as a conservative, I can admit to that. He was out of control, McCarthy. But that doesn’t mean that everything about conservatism is wrong. Just because this one guy. And like you say – a lot of what he said was correct. It’s just that his presentation was horrible.
Graham: Right. And unfortunately, ‘McCarthyism’ is now the buzz word to besmirch any sort of investigation, or even inquiry by the right into our government activities of the left. It’s their class 4 body armor. Any time someone on the right investigates someone on the left – it’s McCarthyism. It’s a witch-hunt.
Wahl: It’s amazing how these things stick. They get a hold of something and right away everything gets blanketed under that. I don’t think that’s gonna change any time soon.
Graham: So – what is the key? How do you grab the Narrative and be pro-active?
Wahl: The one thing is…to not be so contentious with them. I don’t hate liberals. I really think that most liberals think that the things they think are helping the country. I really do. Of course there’s a small percentage on the extreme fringes on both sides. You’ve got your extreme right-wing guys, who want to have not just the 2nd amendment, owning a gun, but they want a whole arsenal. They’ve gone a little bit too far — in my opinion. And then you’ve got your guys on the left who want to destroy the government and start over with some sort of Marxist following, I don’t know what … But most of them on the left I think are sincere in what they believe. I don’t agree with them. But I do believe that they think that what they’re doing is best for the country. So, instead of just thinking it’s … You guys against us’ … like it’s a football game, hey – you know what? We’re all Americans. We gotta figure this out here.
Graham: We gotta find our point of common agreement.
Wahl: And I don’t even call it ‘compromise’, I call it ‘balance.’ Compromise has become a dirty word. Because the understanding of it is that ‘compromise’ means that you’re giving something up to them that you would rather have not. And I don’t even consider it that … it’s just balance. Let’s take this tax situation, the ‘fiscal cliff’… it’s the ‘fiscal Cliff Claven’…because it’s so stupid because they think they know everything, like Cliff Claven did on ‘Cheers’ …
Wahl: Here’s where I think the Democrats are wrong. They’re stuck on this thing where they want to raise the top rate to 39.6%; and that was the top rate when Clinton was President … and he had the incredible internet bubble economy working. And the left with say, Look how well we did – we didn’t have a deficit when the top tax rate was 39.6%. Yeah – but you had a once-in-a-lifetime economy with the internet just starting … and it was a complete bubble cuz it burst in the last year of Clinton’s Presidency. So … why do they want it at 39.6? It’s all optics – because it looks good. But they’re not gonna get any more revenue. The whole point is to get more revenue. So I say, cut the rate. The rate now is 35%. I don’t think anybody should have to pay more than a third of their income to the government, no matter who it is. Whether it’s Bill Gates or anybody. A third. That’s a lot. That means no matter what you make, you’re not making any money until May 1st. Because the first four months, you’re working for the government. That’s enough, in my opinion.
But – let’s close the loopholes. Let’s close all that stuff, so they are actually paying closer to that 33%. Because Obama has a lot of rich friends that he’s gotta make happy that helped him get elected. So don’t tell me they’re not making a deal – yeah, we’ll raise the rate to 39.6% but wink, wink … we’ll keep in all the deductions so you’ll only end up paying … your effective rate will only be 12…13…14 percent. But we’ll make it look good to my Democratic colleagues and all the people who voted for me cuz I’m raising the rate from 35 to 39.6%. And on top of all that … none of that will help reduce the deficit at all. It’s all for “optics.”
Graham: Optics …
Wahl: But I would like to sit down with the liberals and say, Look guys – this is not a question of who’s right and wrong, that part is just a question of mathematics. You want more revenue? You know what – I actually agree with you on that. So let’s get more revenue from the rich people, but also – let’s make the tax code easier so that the average American can sit down and do his taxes in 20 minutes where he doesn’t have to hire somebody because the tax code is so ridiculously complex. I forgot how many thousands of pages the United States tax code is – it’s ridiculous.
Graham: It is.
Wahl: And that’s where the corruption. The corruption is not in the tax ‘rates’, the corruption is in the taxcode.
Graham: Yes, because … where there’s impropriety, it’s so difficult to track it back. Because who wants to wade through all of that?
Wahl: It’s nearly impossible. It’s so ridiculously complicated … And who does that benefit? Well, it benefits tax lawyers …
Graham: Bureaucrats … law-makers …
Wahl: Tax professionals … because you need those people to help you wade through that pile that is the U.S. Tax Code. And it’s just ridiculous. And American citizen should be able to sit down and do his taxes easily within 20-30 minutes.