Socialist? Communist? Three Questions for Obama
The intrepid New York Times stoically took up the task of considering whether its president, Barack Obama, is a socialist or a communist. Pause right there: anyone familiar with the Times knows how that process would unfold. Namely, the Times would find someone with some credibility on the issue to provide -- surprise! -- an answer in the negative. Obama a socialist or communist? Come on! Never!
True to form -- that is, the form of a transparently biased leftist organ masquerading as an objective news source -- the Times found Milos Forman, a Czech émigré who long ago came to Hollywood to make movies. Forman's answer? Again, a shocker: Obama is not a socialist or a communist. Thus satisfied, the Times faithful gave their assent. Ah, it is gospel truth, amen.
The analysis offered by Forman was so specious that I will not bother detailing it here. My fellow Cold War researcher, Ron Radosh, God bless him, accepted the painful task. You can read Radosh's spot-on analysis in PJ Media.
In short, this is why I quit reading the New York Times. I can't stand the dishonesty. And to know that so many liberals digest it like their daily bread, with unquestioning devotion, makes it too much to endure. I, for one, will not subject myself to the duping.
But back to the basic question: is Obama a socialist or a communist? Well, too often, unfortunately, that debate centers exclusively on Obama's Oval Office actions, the agenda he has gotten through Congress. And that's a fundamentally flawed premise. Consider: Obama is constrained by a Republican House of Representatives, by the need to be re-elected, by the need to stay (at least) above 40 percent public approval to push his initiatives, by the need to get the votes of both the uninformed and the alarmingly fickle moderates/independents, and by more still. Worse, he's dutifully shielded by an incredibly sympathetic, biased press. Thus, if I had to stand in a court of law and prove, right now, based on his presidential record, that Obama is, say, a Marxist-Leninist, or a French-style Socialist advocating 70% tax rates, I couldn't do it.
Really, the question of "socialist or communist" comes down to what's in Obama's heart, his mind, and (to some degree) his past. In other words, what does Barack Obama truly believe, and what would he really do if he could, without any of the aforementioned constraints on his actions?
Alas, that brings me to what I consider three much more valuable questions that cut to the chase of the real Barack Obama:
2. Did Obama really join the socialist New Party in the 1990s, as Stanley Kurtz maintains?
3. If yes and yes, then when and why and how did Obama repudiate communism and socialism -- assuming he did? Where was the break? Why? When did the conversion happen?
On question 1: I interviewed Dr. John Drew at length for my new book on Obama's communist mentor, Frank Marshall Davis. Drew, who was a Marxist at Occidental College when Obama arrived there, sees himself as the "missing link" between the communist Davis and other radical Obama associations like Bill Ayers. Drew headed the student Marxist organization on campus, and Obama was introduced to him as a "fellow Marxist," as "one of us." Drew explained to me that Obama believed in the "Frank Marshall Davis fantasy of revolution" -- that is, of "imminent revolution" in America.
In the book, I also quote at length another American Thinker contributor, Selwyn Duke, who made the very insightful observation that, for Obama, there's no "conversion narrative." That's absolutely right. Think about it. There's no account from Obama, not even in two memoirs written before he was president, of when and why and how he left the far left. As a Reagan biographer, I've many times chronicled Reagan's break from the left. When I did a biography of George W. Bush, I wrote about Bush's conversion. As Duke notes, most of us who have conversions (myself included) talk about them. We share them, and people want to hear them. Michael Savage talks about his, Glenn Beck about his.
But where's the conversion narrative for Obama? We don't know of one, and the scandalously biased pro-Obama media will not bother to ask. We know why: they're afraid of the answer. Of course, a conservative president with roots in the far right wouldn't escape their questions. Mitt Romney will be grilled for everything.
And so, back to my three questions. Some biographer or journalist with access to Obama should ask these simple but illuminating questions. It strikes at the core of what our president, the most powerful man in the world, genuinely believes. Unfortunately, the White House press corps will not, and neither will the kind of leading mainstream media people whom Obama would sit with for an interview. Thus, we're stuck without answers. And so, leave it to the likes of the New York Times to engage in these phony charades. They're not interested in the truth, but a lot of us are.
Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College and author of the new book, The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mentor. His other books include The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism and Dupes: How America's Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.