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Midge Decter

Midge Decter
Born Midge Rosenthal
(1927-07-25) July 25, 1927
Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
Occupation Journalist, author, writer
Spouse(s) Norman Podhoretz (1956–present)

Midge Rosenthal Decter (born July 25, 1927) is an American journalist and author.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11]


  • Life and career 1
  • Publications 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Life and career

Midge Rosenthal Decter was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota.[1] She is the daughter of Rose (née Calmenson) and Harry Rosenthal, a sporting goods merchant.[12][13] She attended the University of Minnesota, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and New York University, but did not graduate from any of them.[1]

She was Assistant Editor at Midstream, then the secretary to the then-editor of Commentary, Robert Warshow.[2] Later she was the executive editor of Harper's under Willie Morris.[2] She then began working in publishing as an editor at Basic Books and Legacy Books.[2] Her writing has been published in Commentary, First Things, The Atlantic, the National Review, The New Republic, The Weekly Standard, and the American Spectator.[2][3][14]

Together with Donald Rumsfeld, Decter is the former co-chair of the Committee for the Free World and one of the original drivers of the neoconservative movement with her spouse, Norman Podhoretz.[3] She is also a founder of the Independent Women's Forum, and was founding treasurer for the Northcote Parkinson Fund, founded and chaired by John Train. She is a member of the board of trustees for the Heritage Foundation.[1][4] She is also a Board member of the Center for Security Policy and the Clare Boothe Luce Fund.[3] She is also a member of the Philadelphia Society, of which she was for a time the President.[15] She is also a senior fellow at the Institute of Religion and Public Life.[2] She is one of the signatories to Statement of Principles for the Project for the New American Century.[16] Decter serves on the national advisory board of Accuracy in Media.[17] In 2008, Midge Decter received the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom.[18]

Decter attacked a visible gay culture in a 1980 essay for Commentary entitled "The Boys on the Beach."[19] The piece was fiercely criticized by Gore Vidal in his essay "Some Jews & The Gays", which examined homophobia among middle-class Jews in the United States.[20] According to the New York Observer, Decter's essay—which characterized homosexuality as socially deviant and personally destructive—"clearly provoked in Mr. Vidal a kind of gleeful, murderous fury. He alternates light slaps ('She … writes with the authority and easy confidence of someone who knows that she is very well known indeed to those few who know her') with roundhouse punches ('For sheer vim and vigor, "The Boys on the Beach" outdoes its implicit model, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion'), and ends on a note of bitter contempt and ominous foreboding: '[S]he is indeed a virtuoso of hate, and thus do pogroms begin".[21]

She is the mother of the conservative syndicated columnist John Podhoretz, the youngest of her four children, and the second by Norman Podhoretz. She is also the mother, by her first marriage, of Rachel Decter (1951–2013), who married Elliott Abrams in 1980, and Naomi (born 1952).


  • Losing the First Battle, Winning the War
  • The Liberated Woman and Other Americans (1970)
  • The New Chastity and Other Arguments Against Women's Liberation (1972)
  • Liberal Parents, Radical Children (1975)
  • An Old Wife's Tale: My Seven Decades in Love and War (2001)
  • Always Right: Selected Writings of Midge Decter (2002)
  • Rumsfeld : A Personal Portrait (2003)


  1. ^ a b c d NNDB webpage
  2. ^ a b c d e f The Philadelphia Society webpage
  3. ^ a b c d HarperCollins webpage
  4. ^ a b Heritage Foundation Board of Trustees
  5. ^
  6. ^ The New York Times
  7. ^ The New York Times
  8. ^ Thew New York Times
  9. ^ The New York Times
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ American Spectator webpage
  15. ^
  16. ^ New American Century Statement of Principles
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ "The Boys on the Beach", by Midge Decter, Commentary, September 1, 1980.
  20. ^ "Some Jews & The Gays", by Gore Vidal, The Nation, November 14, 1981.
  21. ^ New York Observer 6 August 2007

External links

  • Appearances on C-SPAN
    • , October 7, 2001.An Old Wife’s Tale: My Seven Decades in Love and War interview with Decter on Booknotes
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