July 12, 2008
Andrew Sullivan's Taboo TopicsBy Andrew Walden
Apparently Andrew Sullivan wants to stigmatize scrutiny of part of Barack Obama's life story. In his Atlantic.com "Daily Dish" column "That Black Man's A Commie", Sullivan equates questions about Barack Obama's Communist Party ties with old segregationist claims that Martin Luther King was a communist.
He does in an article posted perhaps coincidentally (Sullivan does not link or mention my article) one day after my July 8 article, "What Barack Obama learned from the Communist Party".
But the deep and profound connections between the Communist Party, USA and Barack Obama are serious parts of his life story. How many of us have connections with communists that trace over parts of six decades, and stretch from a future mother and grandparents in Seattle, to Honolulu, and to Chicago? Barack Obama was unknown to the national public until very recently, and we still know very little about a man who might bear awesome responsibilities and wield huge power.
The comparison between King and Obama is invalid in so many ways that it is difficult to know where to begin. Sullivan tried the same rhetorical tricks in defending Ron Paul.
For much of 2007 and into 2008, Sullivan ran interference for long shot anti-war candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). Sullivan wrote, "The Smearing of Ron Paul". (Coincidentally, this appeared one day before my November 14, 2007 American Thinker article "The Ron Paul Campaign and its neo-Nazi Supporters".) Sullivan's entire post was from, "an active, online Ron Paul supporter" who whines,
It was not character assassination to point out that Ron Paul's campaign had deep organizational and financial connections with numerous white Supremacist groups such as the KKK and Stormfront.org. Just as with Obama, finding the truth about Ron Paul's decades-long record of extremist ties was not easy. And getting the truth out past hordes of braying apologists is no easier. But on January 8, 2008 Jamie Kirchick of The New Republic finally published what he had dug out of Ron Paul's old newsletters:
While bashing King, the newsletters had kind words for the former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke. In a passage titled "The Duke's Victory," a newsletter celebrated Duke's 44 percent showing in the 1990 Louisiana Senate primary. "Duke lost the election," it said, "but he scared the blazes out of the Establishment." In 1991, a newsletter asked, "Is David Duke's new prominence, despite his losing the gubernatorial election, good for anti-big government forces?" The conclusion was that "our priority should be to take the anti-government, anti-tax, anti-crime, anti-welfare loafers, anti-race privilege, anti-foreign meddling message of Duke, and enclose it in a more consistent package of freedom." Duke is now returning the favor, telling me that, while he will not formally endorse any candidate, he has made information about Ron Paul available on his website.
Sullivan also wrote:
Gee, does anybody think there might have been "an agenda lurking behind" Ron Paul's newsletter calling Martin Luther King "a comsymp, if not an actual party member"? Perhaps a desire to pander to a white supremacist agenda?
Six months later Sullivan is again defending an anti-American-war Presidential candidate from accusations of extremist ties. This time it is Obama and the Communist Party.
Recycling the same old straw-man, Sullivan ignores the extensive documentation of ties between Barack Obama and the Communist Party, USA. He instead focuses on the unknowable: "Is Obama a Marxist?" Sullivan does not even bother to defeat the straw man claim he raises, instead waving it off as just a recycled segregationist smear. He apparently thinks his readers are so simple-minded that they will fall for the sleight-of hand.
But it didn't save Ron Paul and it won't work for Barack Obama either.
In spite of the segregationist lies which Sullivan hopes to distract us with, the truth is there is a huge difference between the Communist Party, USA and the leadership of the Civil Rights movement. That difference is well-explained in a 1949 letter to a Communist Party representative from NAACP national secretary Roy Wilkins. (Thanks to Herbert Romerstein who dug out this material):
Andrew Sullivan defends first the extreme right then the extreme left, united only by what Sullivan termed: "brave resistance to the enforced uniformity of opinion on the Iraq war."
The characteristic signs of an outside agenda at work, driving political excuse-makings are the same today as in the 1930s and 40s. Flipping and flopping first right then left. First the Stalin-Hitler pact, then the war effort.
Some things never change.