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Midge Decter, social critic and leader of neoconservative movement, dies at 94

Midge Decter was considered one of the founders of neoconservatism. She was the matriarch of a formidable neoconservative family that included her second husband, Norman Podhoretz, the longtime editor of Commentary magazine. She helped form the Committee for a Free World, a think tank dedicated to bringing down the Soviet Union, overthrowing the Marxist-Leninist Sandinista government in Nicaragua, opposing Fidel Castro in Cuba and championing capitalism everywhere. She also raised alarm bells over what she considered to be waning U.S. support for Israel, calling for unwavering support for the state of Israel. In her 2001 memoir, “An Old Wife’s Tale: My Seven Decades in Love and War”

Midge Decter sharply attacked the women’s liberation movement, the sexual revolution and what she described as “overheated parenting. She saw working men as the oppressed — taking flak from demanding bosses as well as newly radicalized wives. She also lamented that liberal parents were raising narcissistic, overindulged children who took no responsibility for their actions. Her 1980 Commentary magazine essay entitled “The Boys on the Beach” was a mocking and incendiary piece about vacationing in a gay New York seaside resort community called Fire Island Pines. Author Gore Vidal wrote that “Decter has managed to go one step further than the Protocols’ authors; she is indeed a virtuoso of hate, and thus do

Mrs. Decter stayed at home for several years to raise two daughters from her first marriage. She married Podhoretz in 1956, four years before he was named editor. She once quipped that the marriage was harmonious despite the fact that they made arguments for a living. She was acting managing editor of Commentary, executive editor of Harper’s, Saturday Review and senior editor at Basic Books. Surviving survivors include 13 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.