October 29th, 2010

Obama the radical-in-chief

To those who haven’t done their homework, it sounds like just another crackpot conspiracy theory. But Stanley Kurtz has done his, and his new book Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism is the result.

Kurst is interviewed by National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez on the subject. Here’s an excerpt [emphasis mine]:

LOPEZ: You wrote, “When I began my post-campaign research for this book, my inclination was to downplay or dismiss evidence of explicit socialism in Obama’s background. I thought the socialism issue was an unprovable and unnecessary distraction from the broader question of Obama’s ultra-liberal inclinations. I was wrong. Evidence that suggests Obama is a socialist, I am now convinced, is real, important, and profoundly relevant to the present.” Explain.

KURTZ: It takes a whole book to explicate that statement. But to be brief, when I first found programs from the Socialist Scholars Conferences Obama attended in New York in the 1980s, I saw a number of people who were later part of his political circle. I was particularly struck by the name James Cone, who was Jeremiah Wright’s theological mentor and the founder of black liberation theology. There were other talks on black liberation theology at those conferences as well. That meant Obama would very likely have known about Wright’s theology even before he met Wright, and would have recognized its socialist content. Following this trail, I discovered that many of Obama’s organizing mentors and colleagues in Chicago were prominent socialists, with ties to the group that had sponsored those early socialist conferences. The policy preferences, tactics, and strategies of these socialist organizers are recognizable in the administration’s conduct today. In fact, the Obama administration continues to coordinate its grassroots support through many of the same socialist organizers he worked with in previous years.

One of the points that comes out quite strongly in the article is that Obama, in concealing his socialist past and present, has purposely deceived the American people.

Is Kurtz correct? I haven’t read the book. But from the evidence I have pieced together myself, I believe it is very likely to be true—and I’ve never been much of a conspiracist.

61 Responses to “Obama the radical-in-chief”

  1. Baklava Says:


    On a Thursday/Friday before a Tuesday election – I think the latest news about a terror plot foiled on an airline is an attempt to bolster votes for Democrats..

    It reeks. Have I become too cynical about this man?

  2. neo-neocon Says:

    Baklava: but why would it favor the Democrats?

  3. Curtis Says:

    Yes. Yessss. YAHOO HOO YES!

    (To Neo’s article, not Baklava’s comment, which, by the way, Baklava, you are not too cynical at all. We all need training and re-training. Don’t be afraid to take your finger right off that old repress button and become one of the “in your face” crowd. Do it in the line at your bank. Do it at the school board meeting. Do it, Do it, DO IT!)

    Back to the YES.

    This strategy is good because it is so simple and true. The American people will forgive a lot, but not an outright deception for political gain. Many have forgiven Clinton because after all it would be embarrassing to be caught. His was a personal affair.

    But there’s no mitigating factors here: Obama lied, America died.

  4. LAG Says:

    neo, I listened to Beck, I think, talk about Obama and socialism today, and the bottom line was that for the vast majority of Americans that news would be greeted with a big, “so what?”. The rationale offered was that the people who actually remember socialism/ communism in the US are aging or dead.

    For the younger generations, socialism is just some vaguely European thing kinda linked with the sorta democratic parties there–it’s about sharing, right?

    No one, in other words, has ever educated American youngsters on the true history of what happened when leftists were allowed to pursue their proclivities without restriction. We all know fascist outcomes; no one knows socialist/communist/leninist/maoist outcomes. (It’s interesting that even my spell checking software is confused–it wants to capitalize leninist/maoist, two terms that deserve demotion.)

    Do you have ANY acquaintances who are familiar with the work of Robert Conquest, let alone anyone under 30? How about the outcome of the Great Cultural Revolution?

    How can anyone be worried about Obama’s socialism or his tendencies in that direction without an understanding of where it can lead?

  5. Libby Says:

    I’ve just ordered the book, both to support the author, and because the Denver Public Library only has two (!) copies of the book.

    During the 2008 campaign Kurtz wrote several informative NRO articles about Obama’s work with ACORN. This is not a polemic – it is a product of detailed research in attempt to understand Obama’s ideological roots and influences. Considering the MSM has had no interest in this story, I’m encouraged that someone has stepped in to to do this.

  6. Libby Says:

    Forgot to include a link to Kurtz’s interview with Hugh Hewitt – this is why I decided to buy the book:

  7. Scott Says:

    Neo, the link to the National Review interview is broken.

    On another note, I’d recommend Shelby Steele’s opinion piece in yesterday’s WSJ titled “Redeemer in Chief”. It seems that alot of people are developing theories to explain why Obama is so disconnected from the average American. Similar to Kurtz, Steele’s theory is that Obama is the first president who totally embraced the views of counter-culture 60s generation who believe everything America has stood for was basically wrong and evil. Obama thinks his role is to redeem America for its past sins. Here’s the link:


  8. Kurt Says:

    I’d agree with many of LAG’s observations. A year or two ago, a friend returned from a trip to Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and one or two other eastern European countries. She mentioned having gone to the House of Terror Museum while in Budapest, and she expressed amazement and horror at the conditions that Hungarians had to endure under the communists. This struck me as more than a little surprising because we have a mutual friend from Romania who often talks about the bad days under Ceaucescu.

    And then, of course, there are the benighted many who believe that today’s Democrats are just good-hearted liberals and that the Tea Party folks are “scary” and “ignorant.” As an alumnus of an Ivy League institution, I’m sad to report that in my life, this group is comprised of most of the people I have kept in touch with from college. One in particular seems to represent the pattern well. She often talks wistfully about how she wishes Obama really were a socialist, even though a few weeks earlier, she noted that when she looked into the American Socialist party when she was younger, she found it was too full of people who were pro-communist for her taste. She can’t get her mind around the fact that the “socialist” goals and principles which she claims to support are the same goals and principles espoused by today’s Democrats; instead she always sees them falling short of socialist purity (“no public option”). Likewise, she can’t make the connection between today’s Democrats and the sort of pro-communist “socialists” she rejected as too extreme in her youth. In the meantime, she lives in Massachusetts and complains about the crappy sort of healthcare her elderly mother receives from the providers there.

  9. Curtis Says:

    LAG, the emphasis is not that Obama is a socialist, but that he is a liar. It is acceptable to many people to be a socialist, but it is not acceptable to hide that information and take away a person’s freedom to cast an informed vote.

    I notice distinctions dealing with fairness and honesty are very important on Yahoo comments and their ratings. Often there will be two comments nearly the same in content but one will be more measured and “fair” than the other. The resulting difference in their ratings is striking.

  10. Curtis Says:

    Also, I beg to differ with the phrase “vast majority.” A majority in America have a pejorative reaction to the word “socialism.” And reinforcing that reaction and creating a bigger majority having that reaction can be done by merely equating socialism with big government and high taxes.

  11. david foster Says:

    Obama and his core supporters have certainly been influenced strongly by socialism, but I think many of their ideas are closer to fascism than to traditional Marxism.

    In his book Dark Continent: Europe’s 20th Century, Mark Mazower discusses some differences between communism and fascism:

    In fact, fascist ideology was almost wilfully obscure on economics, partly because the leadership needed to keep both Left and Right wings of the movement happy, but partly too because it was not very interested in the subject, seeing economics as a means to an end. Hitler wanted to use “the production technique of private enterprise in line with the ideas of the common good under state control,” a formula which satisfied everyone and no one. Fascism was strongly anti-communist but also anti-plutocratic. It was opposed to international finance–often condemned as “parasitic” and “cosmopolitan”–but in favor of national “production.” Did this make it socialist? Perhaps in a special, airily non-class sense. “Our socialism is a socialism of heroes, of manliness,” declared Goebbels, who came from the left wing of the Party.

    A “socialism of heroes” implied endless hymns to the Worker…But fascism stressed manual labour rather than machinery and technology as in the USSR or the USA. Fascist men wielded scythes, they did not drive tractors. “I am a socialist,” Hitler stated, because it appears to me incomprehensible to nurse and handle a machine with care but to allow the most noble representatives of labour, the people, to decay.” Posters emphasized craftsmen and artisans–a look backwards which perhaps helped draw labour away from its contemporary strong class connotations.. Even motorway workers–according to Nazi publicity brochures–were pictured above the caption: “We plough the eternal earth.”

  12. geran Says:

    Historically, I think that it will be most interesting how the MSM ignored Obama’s radical past/agenda.

  13. neo-neocon Says:

    Scott: I fixed the link. Thanks!

  14. Baklava Says:

    Looking tough on national security – rally the American people…

  15. jeff Says:

    I think he is a socialist, although that term gets tossed around too often nowadays. Some make the mistake when discussing our capitalist republic that any regulation or “safety net” type entitlements are socialism. I disagree. For Obama though, between his “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody” to his “at some point you’ve made enough money” to overriding contract/bankruptcy law to the unions’ benefit over bondholders in the auto bailouts — I think he inarguably trends towards socialism; he would lunge there in a more favorable political climate. Simply put, if you look at the core tenets of socialism I don’t think you can deny that, at minimum, he embraces many aspects of socialism. Here’s my point though: you can only embrace enough tenets of socialism before you can no longer regard yourself a free-market capitalist. At some point you’re one or the other; there is a static point, although it can be blurry. I think Obama looks at private property through the lenses of social justice and is comfortable with under minding the basic concepts of private property for social justice’s sake.

  16. neo-neocon Says:

    jeff: Kurtz doesn’t just make a generalized socialist assertion. If you read the interview, he makes a very specific assertion that Obama is a disciple of a very specific type of socialism:

    I would call Obama, a “Midwest Academy socialist,” and one way to read the book is as a long explanation of exactly what Midwest Academy socialism is.

  17. Paul Says:

    Fascism and Communism are both branches of socialism. Mussolini, the founder of fascism, was the editor of a socialist newspaper and argued with Lenin about the correct method of imposing socialism. Lenin chose to have the government run businesses directly. Mussolini thought it would be more efficient to have leave the owners in place and control them, a.k.a., corporatism. (Sound familiar GM?)

    Nazi = National Socialist German Workers Party.

    In “The Road to Serfdom” Hayek points out that the Nazis and Communists fought over the same pool of people. A Communist who decided to switch sides was given instant membership in the Nazi party and vice versa.

  18. SteveH Says:

    Isn’t that what this nosedive in the last two years has been about? HE LIED!!! People may not know the intricasies of marxism or any other ideology. But they know a liar and a deciever. And democrats shall reap the whirlwind because of it.

    And i agree with Geran. The media complicity in this lie will be bigger and have bigger consequences than Obama in history.

  19. jeff Says:

    neo-neocon: I agree with Kurtz. I think Obama’s entire childhood was a long lesson on socialism good, capitalism bad. I think he is a socialist. Maybe my narrower point is that when you are talking to an Obama supporter who refuses to even entertain that he is a socialist (often condescendingly concluding that we must not know what socialism is), the step-by-step that he 1) does embrace, at minimum, some tenets of socialism and/or treads heavily on private property rights; and 2) you can only be so much a socialist before you are no longer a capitalist.

  20. Curtis Says:

    Re: fraud. I’ve stated that voter fraud wouldn’t be as big a problem as in the past due to some good reasons; however, all those reasons just may not account for the outright stupidity and degree of desperateness by those who commit the fraud. Pamela Geller, as usual, is on the cutting edge:


    Fraud, ie., lies and deceit, are not okay with the vast majority of Americans. They are okay with true socialists and Islamists, but not with Americans. If there is voter fraud and Obama does nothing and attempts to cover it up, then Congressman Issa should have something to do and say about that.

  21. Gringo Says:

    This may be old news to most, but it is relevant to the current conversation. John Drew was a committed Marxist, a grad student in political science at Cornell, and an Occidental graduate when he met Barack Obama when Obama was a student at Occidental. From the conversations John Drew had with Barack Obama, he concluded that at the time, Obama was like himself, a committed Marxist. As John Drew’s friend said, “He’s one of us.”

    http://www.newsrealblog.com/2010/02/17/face-to-face-with-young-marxist-obama-remembering-my-days-as-an-anti-apartheid-student-activist/ John Drew: Face-to-Face with Young Marxist Obama: Remembering My Days as an Anti-Apartheid Student Activist

    http://www.breitbart.tv/the-b-cast-interview-was-obama-a-committed-marxist-in-college/ 45 minute interview with John Drew
    http://www.stoptheaclu.com/2010/02/18/video-college-acquaintance-young-obama-was-%E2%80%98pure-marxist-socialist%E2%80%99/ John Drew 15 min interview

  22. RickZ Says:

    Obama’s not a socialist, he’s a full blown marxist (raised on Frank Marshall Davis’ knee – literally) who believes in its anti-colonial rhetoric (just like his dear old communist dad, at least the dear old communsit dad he claims was his dear old communist dad).

  23. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    I agree with LAG and Kurt, but think Curtis offers the way to go. Focus on the deception. Why did he hide what he is, if it is so respectable?

    Kurt, I have been to the Museum of Terror, which is worth the trip. It does indeed break one’s heart that people will not make the connection – that this philosophy of government leads to this practical reality.

    For example, we can give credit to the Cubans, and previously to the Chinese, for trying as hard as humanly possible to make the communist system work. And it didn’t. The Chinese are now trying a method of abandoning the idea while keeping the name and keeping the control. We’ll see. The Cubans may be going that route as well.

    Or similarly, the Swedes have been as nice a people, with a strong work ethic and a homogeneous society, and gave internal socialism as good a run as could be hoped (they are purer capitalists when dealing with other countries). And they starting backing away from socialism in the 1990′s. Under ideal conditions, it still doesn’t work.

  24. Perfected democrat Says:

    It was obvious from the beginning of this Democratic Party charade that B.O. was a (closet) moslem-communist posing as a Christian-Democrat, but p.c. guilt and denial was in vogue; mostly people were assuming (that word…) that mainstream Democratic Party center, or only moderately left of center) culture (ie. the Bill Clinton party wing) would still rule. Nobody factored in the group character defects common to the so-called “progressives”, political ambition and party opportunism, as well as placing their personal left-wing ideological beliefs above the Constitution. They have morphed into an Americanized version of the Chinese Communist Party, with party first, above all. They need to be crushed, preferably in a court of law, while we are still a republic. Judicial Watch is becoming one of my favorite causes…

  25. Perfected democrat Says:

    Let me clarify my poorly nuanced phrase in my last comment, “political ambition and party opportunism,”; in as much as that is also generically common in all political affairs, to an extent; but with the left it commonly becomes a style which precludes ethical loyalties, hence purges, etc. The current shifts in the White House reflect that kind of phenomena. If this wasn’t America, my bet is that Obama would be behaving more like Castro, Hugo Chavez, or even Stalin. The Democratic Party agenda will continue to fall apart for the same reason that many black leaders are now rising and returning to their Republican Party roots.

  26. Perfected democrat Says:

    The Dems have been power crazed for a long time; but their propensity, as a group, for serial lying and deception is glaring. Voter fraud has become a “winking” trend in Dem culture, but they aren’t smart (that word again) enough to recognize that it is tantamount to treason.

  27. Artfldgr Says:

    Nothing really to say

    The trick was to see the obvious while its still obscure :)

    that way, you figure out what your holding before you bring it home, not bring it home and open it up to see the surprise.

    that German word i kept using, that i said look up, that was the key to understanding how they did the things they did as a ratchet. so what if the dems lose, you cant release the ratchet and roll the wheel back.

    and lastly

    Paul A Communist who decided to switch sides was given instant membership in the Nazi party and vice versa.

    very correct you are.. and if you dig a bit more you will find that Hitler said the reason for the red in the German flag is so that it would appeal to the communists as well as bold mass appeal as quickly identifiable. and there are some quotes and sayings too but cant remember them now…

  28. ConceptJunkie Says:

    Why did he hide what he is, if it is so respectable?

    I’ve tried this route many times when debating with Obama supporters and to a person, they simply ignore it. Either they really don’t care, or they know how incredibly suspicious it looks. They also always shrug off the Wright connection as irrelevant and insist that Ayers is only an acquaintance and it doesn’t really matter what he did when Obama was in elementary school. The cognitive dissonance and lack of even the most basic critical thinking regularly astounds me.

    In other words, I have yet to talk to an Obama supporter who doesn’t regurgitate his campaign talking points wholesale. It’s really very sad because, like the Zogby poll back before the election, these are not uneducated people, but they are clearly ignorant and uncritical when it comes to this mysterious cypher who’s been President for almost two years and still hasn’t done anything of substance in his whole life.

    It amazes me still how many people simply recite transparently false talking points with an air of smug superiority, reciting such a hackneyed script that I could probably argue their point better than they could simply by playing to the stereotype.

    In fact, I had a conversation today with someone who insisted with no irony whatsoever that Republicans are all deeply evil, racist, wanting to throw us back to a theocratic dark age, etc, etc, and Democrats are all goodness and light and will save humanity. The idea that any adult without mental impairment who hasn’t lived in a closet all his life could seriously entertain such an idea amazes me.

    When I suggested that Democrats were just as much subject to corruption (not even mentioning that I think they tend to be worse), he went into a long, bizarre tirade about how that’s just what the Republicans want us to believe and that I was playing right into their hands by being apathetic about voting (?) and how Obama was being falsely blamed for all the crimes of Bush (?!) and all kinds of other bizarre charges that came straight out of east hyperspace.

    Just once I’d like to talk to an Obama supporter who doesn’t sound, to me anyway, clinically insane. I’m trying hard to find one, but I haven’t yet. Although I do subscribe to Michael Savage’s maxim that liberalism is a mental disorder, I do not believe all liberals are mentally ill and yet I have conversed with very few liberals in the past couple decades who seem capable of even the most basic skills in logic and rhetoric… and when I do, I find we agree more often than we disagree such that, at least to me, the person doesn’t seem very liberal at all. One such self-described liberal explained (back in the early 90s) that he’d rather see Pat Buchanan as President than Bill Clinton because at least he knew where Buchanan was coming from!

    I know this sounds elitist on my part, or that my own thinking may be biased, and I can’t rule those out as influences in my conclusions, but after reading bloggers like Neo and Robin of Berkeley for a long time, as well as my own personal experiences, I’m beginning to think I can’t be too far off the mark.

    Oh, and like Neo and Robin have both described, disagreeing with a liberal is a good way to get yourself bombarded with vicious personal attacks laced with f-bombs (I’ve noticed liberals are often very quick with the swearing but are mind-numbingly boring with their vocabulary).

  29. LAG Says:

    Curtis, Obama may be a liar, but it’s important to know what he’s hiding by his lying. And that label was not my description of him; I was only reporting what I heard (see below).

    David Foster, I don’t know what a “traditional Marxist” is. I don’t think an example has actually existed in history except, tautologically, Marx himself.

    I prefer more concrete terms over fascist, marxist, socialist, etc. Obama is a politician who believes in strong central state government solutions to all your problems. And he likes to be in charge in a position to dictate those solutions.

    He’s a man with a hammer–all things are nails. I don’t buy that method. I prefer the marketplace of ideas and solutions even if we’re opened by that to the occasional madness of the crowd.

  30. Curtis Says:

    ConceptJunkie, I just had one of those horrific confrontations about the Obama/Wright relationship with a liberal and I tried mightily. I’ve got the facts and the sources in hand, in print actually. It finally got down to just this: “I don’t care.” I guess the answer is don’t waste your time on the unreachables.

    Thank you for the clarification, LAG.

  31. gs Says:

    LAG Says:

    I prefer more concrete terms over fascist, marxist, socialist, etc. Obama is a politician who believes in strong central state government solutions to all your problems. And he likes to be in charge in a position to dictate those solutions.

    I’m willing to believe that if Obama had his way, every major business would be like a heavily regulated utility: a political/bureaucratic role in every decision, but no political/bureaucratic accountability when things go wrong.

    He’s a man with a hammer–all things are nails. I don’t buy that method. I prefer the marketplace of ideas and solutions even if we’re opened by that to the occasional madness of the crowd.

    Ben Franklin’s tradeoff between liberty and security comes to mind.

  32. gpc31 Says:

    A professor of American History at Harvard named Kloppenburg has just published with a risibly overwritten book on Obama’s genius…something along the lines of a philosopher king. Compare and contrast that claptrap with Kurtz’ archival research and solid documentary evidence to decide who is the real scholar.

  33. Michael Says:

    I stopped believing, generally speaking, in conspiracy theories when I understood the math, and applied the Ben Franklin aphorism, “Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”

    The difference here is that they do such outrageous things, quite openly, and just sort of defy anyone to do anything about them, Large e.g.: Obama care, and the shocking shenanigans used to ram it through. Lesser e.g. GM. Their media hacks, most recently Jon Stewart, also Bill Maher, just shout out that anyone who even notices the socialism is simply stupid, a rube, etc.

    The Geller piece cited Missouri as an example of electoral fraud, including several rural counties. However, most of the fraud is still in the big cities, which have been controlled by Democrats for nearly a century; in many cases, longer than that. The pipsqueaks who troll on Town Hall and some other Conservative sites play their silly ‘Gotcha’ games, but usually do not even know enough of the history and larger background to understand the obviousness of what we are saying, and so they troll on.

    Excellent post and wonderful comments. Now, it’s off to bed, to get up early tomorrow, to go be trained to poll watch, for whatever good I can do.

  34. Jamie Says:

    I just finished the first volume of the giant new Robert Heinlein biography. I knew Heinlein had been a “social credit” guy back in the day – and he fortunately got over it (I’m anxiously awaiting Volume 2 to find out how, though maybe his Republican third wife Ginny, my hero, had something to do with it). But in a number of places in Volume 1, the biographer says things like, “Robert didn’t like the fact that the American socialist movement [in which he was up to his receding hairline - he campaigned for Upton Sinclair, for goshsakes] was so full of Marxists/communists.” Every time I read it, I had to stop and roll my eyes for a minute, then roll them back down to keep reading.

    Just goes to show you that a smart, really entertaining person can still be a nitwit in spots. And I say this as a woman who cut her teeth on Rocket Ship Galileo at eleven and didn’t even mind the wacky I Will Fear No Evil. (Much.) I kept the letter Ginny typed, and signed, for years and years and years…

  35. Charles Says:


    I was thinking the same thing, Not that they “made it up” or anything that farfetched; but, perhaps, that they over “overemphasizing” it for just that purpose – to rally Americans around the Democrats. Afterall, didn’t they accuse Bush of such stuff? Even though Bush didn’t start wars to rally Americans around him, Democrats often thought so (perhaps, because it is something they would like to do? Afterall, “I didn’t have sex with that woman, let me go bomb an aspirin factory”)

    Except, the Democrats are too out of touch to realize that the American people are not that stupid; so it won’t work this time.

  36. Blue Says:

    With Obama, my major question is self-awareness. It is absolutely obvious that he has surrounded himself–or been surrounded–by vanguardists and Gramsci acolytes. What isn’t completely clear to me is whether he is also one of them or just too arrogant/stupid to understand that he is a pawn.

  37. Promethea Says:

    Is Obama a knave, or is he a fool ? ? ? ?

  38. Bob From Virginia Says:

    I prefer the term left-wing fascist rather than socialist. Socialist is way too broad a term. ‘Fascist” clearly defines the goals and personality of the practitioner. “Left-wing” implies that the prep considers himself well-read.

  39. SteveH Says:

    The way to get a person to willingly be a slave is to trumpet the security benefits while painting a horrible picture of the uncertainty and risk inherent in freedom. Then for good measure, you add in the peer pressure dynamic, by exposing them to what appears to be an overwhelming concensus wanting the more compassionate institution of slavery for its equal treatment of all.

    That in a nutshell is the psychological game played by pop culture media that brought us to this terrible place. That is what created the malignant modern liberal who sees only the fairness and equality of slavery and abhors the inequality and unfairness of freedom.

    These media people deserve nothing less than our concentrated efforts to bring about their destruction. Along with the dysfunctional education system that created them.

  40. SteveH Says:

    One more thing. Would the slavery in 1860 have been viewed as ok if the slaves only had work for their masters 6 months out of the year?

  41. expat Says:

    I think you are right about the influence of Obama’s chilhood education, but I think maybe it’s a bit different than socialism good, capitalism bad. I think it might be more a sins of America theme, of which capitalism is one aspect. Consider his Mother’s arguments with his stepfather about the expat country club set in Indonesia. Consider, his grandfather’s referral of him to Frank so that he would understand about being black in America. And consider the anti-colonialism thread discussed (and overplayed) by Dinesh D’Souza. Then consider his avoidance of all but the radicals at Occidental. He was innoculated against America and filled with a variety of ideological reasons why he should avoid contact (emotionally or intellectually) with it.

    This makes him different than an Ayers, who rejected an identity he was born with. The ideologies that Obama “clings to” are the only thing he knows and, as Taranto says, were never subject to scrutiny. The socialism he swam in confirmed his identity for him and shut off other avenues of self discovery. I agree with Shelby Steele that Obama’s socialism is of American origin, but I disagree that this contradicts the unamerican appelation. Obama thinks that being an outsider makes him superior in insight to other Americans and as Scott says, it makes it his duty to save the country.

    Unlike the rebellious boomers, Obama did not grow up on Boy Scouts, Lassie, Spin and Marty, Leave It To Beaver, or even Wagon Train. He grew up on their adolescent rebellion, but he never knew what they were rebelling against. And he never understood that for most of them it was only their childhood diet that brought them back from the anarchy they flirted with. Most progressive boomers see their activist thinking as improving on the childish life they experienced before. Obama is still seeking an innocent childhood. He thinks he can give one to today’s children if he provides health care, housing, and a college education. He is oblivious to the emotional needs.

  42. turfmann Says:

    If only Stanely Kurtz were listened to prior to the election…

    While the entire media were on a months-long quest to find dirt on Sarah Palin beneath the dumpster of the Wasilla Baptist Church, an actual demon was given a free past on his appallingly anti-American upbringing, education and adulthood. Stanley Kurtz was hitting the nail directly on the head then, I imagine he does the same in his book.

    I had a conversation this past weekend with a man who I have known to be a moderate Republican, an educated man with a Ph.D, at an event for a Republican candidate. After half an hour of declaring the shortcomings of the Federal Government, he admitted that he had voted for Obama and still supported him.


    I had to guzzle the remainder of my Samuel Adams beer just to maintain my patriotism.

    Regardless of how successful the Republicans are this Tuesday, Barack Obama is still the President of the United States for two more years. The havoc he can wreak in that time is enormous in his quest to ‘fundamentally transform America’. Just remember that those are his words, not mine.

    For that reason, I think job one for the new Congress is to start looking at what this administration has been doing behind our back that may be criminal. If Obama has so much as jaywalked, we need to kick him out. He is a clear and present danger to our Republic.

  43. kolnai Says:

    Great comments here.

    A few things. I think LAG is sadly right when noting that socialism means very little to too many citizens today.

    Curtis is right, too, that the focus of Kurtz’s book is not so much on the label but on the lying, especially that of the media (the silence was so thorough that “sins of omission” really doesn’t seem to cover it).

    Secondly, I enjoyed the comments about trying to discuss things rationally with Obama supporters, because it was like reading detailed descriptions of my own experiences. One commenter noted that after painstakingly going through chapter and verse on the Wright-Ayers-radicalism story, the interlocutor concluded with, “I don’t care.” Yep. That’s why I come down on the “it’s pointless to discuss it” side, and when I’m around Obamaphile friends I avoid the subject altogether. It just isn’t worth it. And boy, when I have gotten into it it has almost ended some of my longest-standing and most cherished friendships. That’s just the way it goes with the Lightbringer.

    I have one of those families, incidentally, that is divided politically – conservative on my father’s side, liberal on my mother’s side. The dissension with the liberal side began during the Bush years, where I got into a very uncomfortable argument over Iraq with my grandfather, and a testy argument with my younger cousin. Now that Obama is in, I just listen to them gloat and try to get off the subject. Basically the same “avoid it” rule I use for friends.

    Thirdly, I agree with neo neocon and several commenters that being entirely passive is not the way to go, and my rule for piping up is when they start to actively vilify conservatives, because then, of course, they are vilifying me personally, and I don’t appreciate it when friends and family do that. If that leads to a break, so be it. Friendship goes beyond politics and involves a basic respect. So, put another way, my rule is that I let them have their occasional gloats until it begins to implicate me personally as a crazy racist extremist fascist and all around party-pooper on all things holy and decent.

    The only other situation in which I speak up is when they say something that is demonstrably false, such as that it was conservatives who shut out the President on the stimulus and not the reverse, or that the Lancet report accurately tallied civilian deaths in Iraq (yes, some people actually believed that outrageous piece of propaganda).

    Finally, I’m sorry for the length of this, but it’s my first comment here, so I indulged a little. I just wanted to say that I’ve dropped in on this site periodically for a few years, but I hadn’t noticed how well-mannered and interesting the commenters tend to be. In general, it’s class and substance, even when hard-hitting. So count me a new fan as I proceed to bookmark this site.

    Cheers all.

  44. Oblio Says:

    And the answer is…Knavish Fool!

    Shelby Steele also said in 2008 that Obama posed as a “Bargainer,” an African-American who gains white sympathy by promising not to accuse them of racism. Such African-Americans can to be showered with praise and affection. We might think about people such as Bill Cosby, Sidney Poitier, Michael Jordan, and (once upon a time) Tiger Woods. This is in contrast to the “Challengers” who use accusations of racism to get what they want, for example, Sharpton, Jackson, Waters, Wright, etc. etc. So the US elected a Bargainer, and they got a Challenger instead. How could Obama think that would work out for him? Steele has tremendous insight into Obama’s mind.

  45. Oblio Says:

    D’Souza may have overstated the genesis of Obama’s Decolonialist perspective, but I don’t see how anyone could miss how central Decolonialism and its handmaiden Multiculturalism are to Obama’s worldview.

  46. kolnai Says:

    Oblio – good call on Steele. I read his book on Obama when it first came out – as I read everything by Steele – and in a way it dovetails nicely with Kurtz’s book. The latter of course is about how we elected a moderate and got a socialist.

    The overarching theme in both Steele’s and Kurtz’s work on Obama is the deep, deep deception that has been essential to propelling his whole phenomenon.

    I’m not inclined to throw around such charges lightly, and neither are Steele and Kurtz, because, after all, politics aint beanbag and we have to allow for a good dose of…ehem… “messaging.” But in this case, I really believe the charge is warranted, and I like to think I would say the same of Kurtz’s hypothetical lifelong solid-right conservative claiming to be Olympia Snowe.

    But anyway, with respect to D’Souza – you know, for God’s sake, he really makes it hard to defend him sometimes.

    D’Souza’s done some excellent work in the past, but he started to jump the shark with “The Enemy at Home.” The problem with his “Roots of Obama’s Rage” is not that he claims Obama is committed to anticolonial and multicultural theory, which is true, but the simplistic and rather formulaic and reductionist way in which he does it. As many conservatives have noted, The Dude (Obama, post-Stewart) is simply an academic leftist. Of course he believes that stuff, as every single non-Kenyan WASP leftist I went to college with did. (I’m just clarifying, not disagreeing with you).

    One more thing and then I’ll shut trap. I was reading Don Boudreaux’s Cafe Hayek website the other day, and he managed to drag up a typically pungent quote from Mencken on liberals. Say what you will about Mencken’s views – as often wrong as not – but when the man expressed an opinion it was rather something to behold. Here’s the quote, which is, I fear, as accurate today as it was in 1925:

    Liberals, he wrote, “pretend – and often quite honestly believe – that they are hot for liberty. They never really are… If a law were passed tomorrow taking away the property of a large group of presumably well-to-do persons – say, the bond-holders of the railroads – without compensation and even without colorable reason, they would not oppose it; they would be in favor of it. The liberty to have and to hold property is not one that they recognize. They believe only in the liberty to envy, hate, and loot the man who has it.”


  47. SteveH Says:

    “”Shelby Steele also said in 2008 that Obama posed as a “Bargainer,” an African-American who gains white sympathy by promising not to accuse them of racism.”"

    The “police behaved stupidly” comment was the day that smoke screen came tumbling down. We need to provoke and bait this man with more foot in mouth moments.

  48. gs Says:

    I haven’t read Steele’s book but the allusion rang a bell so I looked it up. The title (December 2007) is A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can’t Win. That doesn’t falsify Steele’s perceptions about race relations–my impression from occasional pieces that I come across is that he is a worthwhile thinker–, but it has a bearing.

  49. Oblio Says:

    Steele piece yesterday fits perfectly with his earlier piece. He says that Obama and the Left need to have “bad faith” in America, a striking phrase that says Obama’s confidence is based on the assumption that Americans will act to promote evil in the world. Therefore, we need a redemptive leader and a government to regiment us.

    What’s missing is an acknowledgement of the competing ideology. David Gelernter is pointing the way (as I have also heard from academics on the left) when he describes “Americanism” as the world’s fourth great religion. Think of Americanism as a civic religion combining a belief in American exceptionalism with patriotism and a congregational approach to social order based on Judeo-Christian teaching and tradition. We could describe Americanism as a kind of American “Zionism,” with the Americans as a Chosen People and America as the Promised Land. Who holds these views most obviously? To my mind, it is the Mormons and the Texans, in that order. Glenn Beck and George W. Bush enter stage right.

    This combination drives the Left insane, and it is at the center of what they hate. When the Left attacks “American exceptionalism,” it is attacking Americanism. When it attacks religion, it is doing the same thing. If you want to understand the passion of the Tea Partiers, you should recognize the outrage of people belittled on account of their deepest values.

    It is not a surprise to me that Independents are breaking hard toward the Republicans. The mask has been dropped, and they have seen the face of the Left.

    Marco Rubio proclaims his belief in American exceptionalism here: http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/10/26/marco-rubios-closing-ad-impresses/?a_dgi=aolshare_facebook

    Rubio is at 50%.

  50. Oblio Says:

    If you wanted to name a poster girl for “Americanism,” you would pick…Sarah Palin.

    Back to Steele’s analysis: The Bargainer embraces Americanism; the Challenger rejects it.

    Back to Obama worldview. For the Left, America is the last Euro-colonial power. Decolonialism is against Americanism. The normal political manifestation of Decolonialist theory is Third World National Socialism.

    Conclusion: there is no possible compromise between Americanism and Decolonialism/Multiculturalism. That’s what this election is about, and why politics will get nastier next year.

  51. Tom Says:

    The bottom line for me is: The American Left best resembles the Sicilian mafia. It’s criminal. Extortion, protection, vote fraud, drug-dealing (that’s what legalization of marijuana really is), knee-capping and worse for all opponents.

    Opposing the Mafia through procedurally legal means has not worked in Sicily or here.

  52. Kurt Says:

    kolnai wrote: “But anyway, with respect to D’Souza – you know, for God’s sake, he really makes it hard to defend him sometimes. D’Souza’s done some excellent work in the past, but he started to jump the shark with ‘The Enemy at Home.’”

    I’d agree with you there. I’d also argue that D’Souza started to jump the shark with the book that really got him noticed, Illiberal Education. Although parts of the book were excellent and well-done (such as his chapter on college admissions and his discussion of Rigoberta Menchu), other parts (most notably his discussion of post-structuralist and post-modernist theory) had the right intentions, but revealed rather shoddy research and a very shallow knowledge of the issues involved to anyone with much familiarity with the subjects involved.

    I think that D’Souza often has good instincts, but he doesn’t always do a very good job following through and doing the level of research that some of his subjects call for. And sometimes, as in the case of The Enemy at Home, his instincts aren’t that great, either.

    Although my impression of his anti-colonialist thesis is that it hits on some key ideas which help to explain some of the more puzzling elements of Obama’s character, I think he gets a little carried away with an idea which could have been explained in terms that didn’t require readers to accept so many questionable premises. At the very least, it should be clear that Obama is committed to the ideas of multi-culturalism, and as Oblio correctly points out, there’s no compromising between Americanism and Multiculturalism.

  53. Baklava Says:


    Exactly, That’s what I meant.

    It may be cynical on our part but I’m watching Fox News on the Yemen plot right now.

  54. kolnai Says:

    Kurt – well said (and the “instincts” line was hilarious).

    I think you, Oblio, and myself are all simpatico on the Americanism is incompatible with MC idea. Also on the Obama-definitely-has-those-notions idea.

    I just wanted to note that socialism is also incompatible with Americanism, and it seemed to me that when D’Souza reduced all sweetness and light into the black hole of Obama’s Kenyan anti-colonialism, he kind of put the cart before the horse. Anti-colonialism is a communist/socialist – lets just say “radical left” – doctrine, as is MC, and I doubt there’s a dime’s difference between what Obama believes on any of this stuff and what the average far left Democrat believes.

    That is to say, if we are to both accurately and effectively describe what we are fighting against, I think “Kenyan anti-colonialism” or even “multiculturalism” doesn’t quite capture it. Strategically it’s also a bad idea, because it makes us sound like birthers and leaves us open to cheap race card trumps, as if we’re trying to “Otherize” Obama. It hasn’t proved as easy for the left to win the argument that labeling him (and them) “socialist” is out-of-bounds.

    But strategy aside, I think “Socialism” is still the best descriptor of our current domestic bane, above all because it encompasses not just the One, but all the radicals from Nancy Pelosi on down to the Midwest Academy and its sundry front groups.

    It’s this that makes me think D’Souza seriously muddies the waters here.

  55. Tom Says:

    kolnai said:
    “Strategically it’s also a bad idea, because it makes us sound like birthers and leaves us open to cheap race card trumps, as if we’re trying to “Otherize” Obama.”
    You and we need to figure out how to deal with Alinskyite tactics, the “isolate” and “personalize” stuff. A (cheap) trump only works if all players are in the same card game, playing by the same rules.

    It is abundantly clear to almost all on these threads that Baraq is, really is, the Other. Otherizing him is what we are all doing, each in his own way. Call him a socialist, if that works for you. But I have had stronger words, e.g., Obama=Chavez, before his election. That works for me. And I do not think I’m wrong. I’d love to be, but I am not.

    P.S. “Birthers” are not nut jobs, despite your implication. The is a fairly high-ranking Army Medical Corps doc who is risking his all because he’s a Birther, facing a courts-martial for refusing to obey what he sees as an illegal order to return to A-stan by his illegal C-in-C.

  56. Curtis Says:

    Tom, Re the Birther issue: Bless you.

  57. Barry Meislin Says:

    Stick to the issues.

    Focus on the lies and the deception (there’s more than enough there, starting from not knowing what was going on in a church he attended for 20 years).

    Focus on the huge gap between what Obama says and what he does and how he acts towards perceived opponents.

    Focus on Obama’s lack of legislative AND administrative experience.

    Focus on the Universal Medical Coverage bill, what it says, how it was passed, how experts claim it will affect medical coverage, business, and the US budget

    Focus on the bloating of the Federal government and the massive centralization Obama’s policies lead to.

    Focus on the crippling of State governments and business.

    Focus on the rampant use of policy “czars” to circumvent Congressional .

    Focus on a foreign policy that hangs allies out to dry and tries to assuage tyrants. And then focus on the results of this.

    Do NOT focus on Obama’s birth.
    Do NOT focus on Obama’s religion.
    Do NOT focus on Obama’s purported socialist, marxist, or radical background (EVEN THOUGH THESE ARE IMPORTANT). Though one can point out who his friends and mentors are (and let people draw their own conclusions).

    Stick to the issues.
    Stick to the issues.
    Stick to the issues.

  58. Tom Says:

    All of us are looking for levers with which to lever the stump of Obama out of the Presidency or neutralize or paralyze him and his running dogs. They’re ALL issues. Put your emphasis where you think best. I’ll do the same.

  59. Beverly Says:

    “that German word i kept using, that i said look up, that was the key to understanding how they did the things they did as a ratchet. so what if the dems lose, you can’t release the ratchet and roll the wheel back.”

    Artful Dodger, Judge Robert Bork made that same point on C-Span a few years ago (pre-Obummer). He sounded grim about it, too. And I was floored, because it hadn’t really occurred to me, but the moment he said it, I realized with a sinking feeling that it was, at least in the course of my life, true.

    Even charismatic and effective leaders like Reagan and Thatcher were only able to yank on the parking brake: the Leftists never get off the accelerator.

  60. Beverly Says:

    “The way to get a person to willingly be a slave is to trumpet the security benefits while painting a horrible picture of the uncertainty and risk inherent in freedom.”

    Or, as Dostoevsky acidly remarked, “Make us your slaves, but feed us!”

    Notice how the lefties wheeled out the baseless “Stranger Danger on Halloween!” scare stories again?

  61. Tom Says:

    Yeah, Beverley. In fact, there have been no kids poisoned by Halloween treats. None. Ever.
    Here it’s the candy companies in bed with the nanny Left: $6 Bill candies sold for Hween. No home-baked cookies, no fruit. And no tricks- it’s all costumes, parental escorts (usually in cars), and purchased treats. Stifling to kids’ imagination and emerging self-sufficiency.

    So I no longer participate, and the non-play numbers are gtowing.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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