Stanley Kurtz discusses his indispensable book at David Horowitz's Restoration Weekend.
[Editors' Note: Below is a speech given by Stanley Kurtz about his new book, Radical-Chief, at the Restoration Weekend event hosted recently (November 18 - 21) by the David Horowitz Freedom Center in Palm Beach, Florida.]
For Part II of the video, click here.
Introduction by David Horowitz: Welcome to the 16th Annual Restoration Weekend, which began, actually, as the Dark Ages Weekend in 1994, a creation of Laura Ingraham and Jay Lefkowitz, with the Center as a silent partner at the time. We changed the name because the Republicans said they would boycott the event. They couldn’t take the joke, or the joke was too politically dangerous for them. So we came up with the Restoration Weekend idea.
The program we’ve arranged for this weekend is to analyze, interrogate and celebrate the year of unintended consequences. Actually, it’s three years of unintended consequences.
The American people in 2008 did not intend to elect the most radical, anti-capitalist, anti-American President in the history of this country. And then, the radicals certainly did not intend to destroy the Democratic Party two years later. It sort of goes to validate Lincoln’s famous statement that you can fool some of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.
There are people, and certainly lots of conservatives, who would be disturbed -- or some conservatives maybe now, since people are waking up -- to hear Barack Obama described as a radical anti-capitalist. And that’s because -- well, if he was a radical anti-capitalist, if he was a Marxist, he would have taken over the means of production already. But this underestimates the deviousness and intelligence of our opponents.
When my parents were members of the Communist Party, and Joseph Stalin was the revered leader, the slogan of the American Communist Party was, “Peace, Jobs and Democracy.” Leftists are not dummies. They are religious zealots. They’re very intelligent people, but they are a cult phenomenon. So they understand that if they tell you their agendas, that would be the end of them.
Actually, that’s the most redeeming feature of my radical generation of the ‘60s. I mean, we said we were revolutionaries and proud of it. And that’s why we got nowhere.
But because it’s a religious calling, being on the Left, a lot of leftists continued. I mean, it’s like the millennialists who think the end of the world is coming on a certain day. Then, when it doesn’t, they reconstitute themselves, which is what happened after the ‘60s.
And our speaker this morning, Stanley Kurtz, has written an indispensable book called “Radical-in-Chief.”
To me, his take on the President was obvious, because I’ve spent so many years on the Left. I understand the mentality. And it didn’t take me two seconds to understand that a man who sat in the church of Jeremiah Wright -- and it’s more than that; this was his confidant for 20 years -- and who was friends with Billy Ayers, was a communist. I use that term with a small C. And by that, I mean that they saw the world the way we saw it, the way my parents saw it -- that America is ruled by evil corporations, America’s the dominant corporate power in the world. And the solution is a socialist transformation.
But unlike me Stanley is not and never has been a leftist. He wasn’t brought up in the Left, and this is not part of his mentality. So his book actually benefits from that, in that it is a search actually to try to understand the forces that shape Barack Obama. In the process of completing this search he has reconstituted a picture of the Left that I was a part of after the ‘60s. And he’s done a remarkable job of this.
And if you read this book, you will get an understanding of Obama and of the people around him. Because he’s surrounded, and his whole career was engineered, by people from the radical Left, and actually, the worst part of the Left. When I was a ‘60s radical -- and would’ve described myself, if you had met me, as a Marxist revolutionary -- I despised Bill Ayers because he was such a shallow narcissist and so destructive. And yet, this is a man who’s worked for 20-odd years side-by-side with Barack Obama.
Stanley is a National Review writer; And here he is.
Stanley Kurtz: Thank you.
Well, first let me just follow up on what David just said. You know, I’ve been reading, as background for coming down here, Radical Son, David’s extraordinary memoir. And you really ought to pick up that book. And I’ve been reading Ron Radosh’s memoir, Commies. And I really have been struck, reading through these things, how everything that David and Ron experienced really is a kind of variation on the world Obama lived in and the world I expose in this book.
So I know exactly what you’re saying, David. And as for me, yeah, I had a standard-issue liberal American upbringing, nothing super leftist. But I am by training an anthropologist. So I actually approached this project as an anthropologist. To me, it was a strange, unfamiliar world that I had to somehow unravel and explain from the ground up. And that’s what I try to do in the book.
So the book is called “Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism.” As you will glean from what David said and from the title of the book, I argue that Barack Obama really is, literally, a socialist.
Now, that is not something I expected to be arguing when I began my research for the book. It’s not that I had been shy during the political campaign of 2008 about discussing Obama’s radicalism. I did the research. We’ll get into this a little bit. But you may have heard about Bill Ayers during the 2008 campaign, and about the organization ACORN. So some of the research I did helped to inject those issues into the 2008 campaign. So I was hardly shy about calling Obama someone from the far left, even calling him a radical.
But even though I didn’t think he was literally a socialist -- and frankly, I didn’t even want to think that he was a socialist because it’s just not a respectable kind of argument to make, even among many conservatives -- but the tiny little problem is that Barack Obama is a socialist. And so as I ran across all of this evidence, I really had no choice but to be loyal to that evidence.
So let me talk about the beginning of the book. And this is the evidence that first pulled me onto the trail. At the beginning of the book, I describe in a couple of chapters the Socialist Scholars Conferences that Barack Obama attended when he lived in New York City between about the years 1983 and 1985.
Now, Barack Obama was a senior at Columbia University during the first of these conferences. And this was the exact moment that Obama decided to become a community organizer. And going through all of this in the book in the manner of a detective story, I argue that Obama really discovered his vocation as a community organizer at this first Socialist Scholars Conference at the Cooper Union in New York City in 1983.
And if you read Obama’s memoir, you really see that he’s explaining everything; he’s just leaving out the socialism part. But we can find that part because of little admissions that Obama makes in disguised ways in his book and because I was able to get into the archives of the Democratic Socialists of America, which put on these conferences; found his name on a signup sheet, and such. And you can read all the evidence in the book.
So what went on at these conferences? Well, the overall theme of these conferences was that community organizing is the way to turn America socialist. That’s what community organizing is really all about, although you’ve probably never heard that until now, because community organizers make a point of keeping the socialist story hidden.
Now, how is it that community organizing would make America socialist? David already alluded to this when he said people pooh-pooh the socialism idea by saying, Well, is Obama nationalizing all the industries? Well, this was the 1980s, and Ronald Reagan was President of the United States. Now, it’d be very difficult to run a nationalization strategy by Ronald Reagan.
And of course, by the early ‘80s, the dreams of the socialists for revolution had collapsed. Through the ‘60s, through the early and even mid-‘70s, there were still hopes among the members and then ex-members of the SDS that they could spark a revolution. And I followed the story of their socialist groups after the ‘60s. No one really followed the history of American socialism after the ‘60s.
And for awhile, the veterans of the SDS and other socialists in the United States still thought that America was heading for a kind of giant economic collapse and socialism was just around the corner. Well, it wasn’t just around the corner. Ronald Reagan was finally elected.
And so they came up with a new strategy, and that strategy ran through community organizing. The idea was to go out into local communities and to build socialism from the bottom up. How? Well, you’ve heard of this group ACORN. ACORN confronts banks, uses intimidation tactics to force banks to make subprime loans to people with risky credit histories. That actually, at this conference, was touted as a kind of strategy for socialism. You create a de facto public ownership -- not by formal nationalization from above, but by pressure from these community groups from below. Another strategy was to get community organizers represented on the boards of directors of various companies.
So this is the strategy that entranced Obama. And it was at these Socialist Scholars Conferences he would’ve first heard about organizations, like ACORN and Project Vote, that he spent his entire lifetime working with. These socialist conferences also laid out strategies -- strategies to turn the United States socialist. I’ve already talked about one of them -- this ground-up notion.
Another focal strategy was the socialist realignment strategy. What that means is that there was an effort to polarize the Democratic and Republican Parties along class lines. How do you do that? You do that by attacking business interests and driving them out of the Democratic Party and into the Republican Party. Now, that might sound crazy -- why would anyone want to drive anyone out of their party, especially people who are donors, have money and all of that? It seems crazy. I mean, I’ll get to this, but just think about what Obama’s been doing lately with the Chamber of Commerce and whatnot.
But in fact, the idea is that once you attack these business interests and drive them out of the Democratic Party and into the Republicans, you jumpstart a populist, anti-business movement of the Left. And all of those people pour into the Democratic Party. And then, presto, the country has been polarized between the haves and the have-nots. And the thought of the socialist strategists who mentored Obama was that over time, the party of the have-nots would inevitably gravitate toward socialism, if you could just make class the underlying issue of American politics.
And Project Vote, for example, was part of this strategy. Because the thought was that the poor and minority individuals who don’t vote in large numbers need to be registered, they need to pour into the Democratic Party; and that will help in this process of pulling the Democrats to the left and polarizing the country along class lines.
So all of Obama’s years of work with groups like ACORN and Project Vote was understood by him from the start as part of this larger socialist strategy. And another crucial theme at these early Socialist Scholars Conferences was that the electoral route to socialism will be led by minorities in the United States.
And the inspiration here was the mayoral campaign of Harold Washington, which occurred just at the time of this first Socialist Scholars Conference, when Obama embraced community organizing. Harold Washington managed to defeat the machine in Chicago. He created an alliance with the community organizations run by socialists, which are very powerful in Chicago. And this so excited the socialists that they saw it as a model for how to turn America socialist.
Now, Harold Washington never said out loud, “I’m a socialist.” He did work with socialists a little more openly than mayors in most cities would have. And that was enough for the Democratic Socialists of America in 1983. And if you read Obama’s memoir, you’ll see that Harold Washington was his model and his idol.
Again, Obama tells you a great deal. Obama -- well, actually, -- I was going to say Obama doesn’t lie. Actually, Obama does lie, and my book lays out lie after lie. So let me revise that. But Obama often tells the truth, but he does it in ways that are limited and disguised, so he can protect himself, to say, “Well, I said that.” And so, once you go and you see what happened at these socialist conferences, and you plug it into his memoir, everything adds up.
Now, let me mention one last thing about these early Socialist Scholars Conferences. One of the most remarkable things -- and this is what first caught my eye, by the way, when I was doing this research -- one of the most remarkable things Obama would’ve learned at these early Socialist Scholars Conferences is that a new alliance had been struck up between black liberation theology and socialism.
Reverend Wright, of course, was a follower of black liberation theology. And Reverend Wright’s mentor, James Cone, who was the founder of black liberation theology, had just formed an alliance in the early ‘80s with Michael Harrington of the Democratic Socialists of America. So James Cone spoke at one of the socialist conferences Obama attended, and so did a prominent follower of Cone speak at several of the conferences that Obama attended.
So even before Obama got to Chicago, he would’ve understood that Reverend Wright and his theology were part of this same socialist world, which was also the world of community organizing. And my jaw really dropped when I first saw the program of this Socialist Scholars Conference Obama attended, and I saw James Cone’s name was on it. That’s when I knew I had to take the socialism issue seriously.
Now, let me skip ahead a bit. Okay, we’re fine for time. Skipping ahead a bit to another part of the book, a very important part of the book where I discuss a remarkable community organizer training institute in Chicago called the Midwest Academy. The Midwest Academy.
Now, the Midwest Academy was, in a sense, the ultimate embodiment of the socialist community organizing strategy touted at these conferences in New York City. The organizers who ran the Midwest Institute were not only socialists; they were among the most prominent socialists in the United States of America. But they didn’t believe that you should tell the people you organize about your socialism. You keep your socialism secret. You use your socialism to devise your larger long-term strategy. But you advertise yourself as a populist, or a communitarian.
And of course, Obama frequently uses populist and communitarian language. Ordinarily, one wouldn’t think anything of it. But when you realize that all of his training were from socialists who believed in using populist and communitarian language as a kind of screen for socialism, it gets a little scarier. Now, the socialist community organizers who ran the Midwest Academy trained Obama, they funded Obama and, most remarkably, they sponsored Obama’s political career.
Another one of these amazing moments that hit me when I was doing my research -- I was going through the Midwest Academy archives. And you file through all of these papers here, read all these names. And then I stumbled upon the name of Alice Palmer. Alice Palmer.
Alice Palmer was a state senator from Hyde Park, an Illinois state senator from Hyde Park. She held the post of state senator that Obama took over. She actually anointed Obama as her successor. Why did she do that? What made her have confidence to choose Obama as her successor? We’ve known that she did this at a party at the home of Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, with various other socialists present.
But what emerges from my research is the fact that Alice Palmer could well have known Obama for years. But even if she didn’t, her colleagues had worked directly with Obama for years. Her socialist colleagues had worked directly with Obama for years. They were in a position to know and understand his political views more deeply than anyone else.
So why would the socialists of Chicago, who had control of this state senate seat, let it go to someone who didn’t also share their views? It seems pretty obvious that Alice Palmer chose Obama because he was part of her socialist community organizing world.
And when you study the Midwest Academy, you really learn remarkable things about the Obama Administration. The Midwest Academy, for example, virtually invented the idea of the public option. The public option.
Now, in those days, it wasn’t about healthcare; it was about energy. The Midwest Academy’s socialist organizers ran a kind of front coalition, which they called populist, on energy issues. And their big idea was to create a US energy corporation to “compete” with private energy companies. Now, of course, if the government is competing with private companies, it’s really no contest, because the government controls the power of taxation and the power of regulation. Obviously, they can drive private companies out of business. And over time, that’s what they’ll do.
So the Midwest Academy’s socialist organizers came up with this idea of a public energy corporation as a slow-motion way towards socialism. They even had a theoretical word for it that came from the work of a Marxist theorist from France named André Gorz.
Gorz’s idea -- and this was a favorite idea of all of Obama’s community organizing buddies -- his idea was to sponsor non-reformist reforms. Non-reformist reforms. What does that mean? It means that you advertise a change as just a tweak to the system. Hey, this is just another company. A public energy corporation’s going to compete with other companies. Competition. It’s practically capitalist. But of course, over time, a non-reformist reform is designed to undermine capitalism and move you to a different system.
So it’s just a little bit scary to think that we literally have a theory here about how to stealthily use proposed reforms that don’t seem to be socialist to in fact bring about socialism, and that the people who believed in this theory were Obama’s sponsors, his funders, the people who trained him.
Another thing that the Midwest Academy did was to focus on creating these so-called populist coalitions, broad-based populist coalitions, around economic issues. They wanted to unify the inheritors of the ‘60s legacy with more culturally conservative, Reagan-style Democrats. So for that reason, they downplayed anything that had to do with divisive social or cultural issues like abortion, or foreign policy.
And oftentimes, when the Left hears you say that Obama’s a socialist, they say, Well, that’s ridiculous. I mean, look how he’s been foot-dragging on gay marriage, or, you know, he went into Afghanistan. But if you see the strategy of Obama’s socialist organizing mentors, it’s really exactly the same -- you soft-pedal and try not to stir the pot on foreign policy and social issues, so that you can create a coalition around issues like healthcare, energy and banking. And of course, these are Obama’s favorite issues. They were also the favorite issues of his community organizing sponsors.
Now, that gives you a sense of a lot of what was going on in the book. I’ll quickly cover some of the other stuff, and then I’ll say just a little about the process of uncovering some of this stuff. There’s a chapter in the book -- there’s really no time to go over everything in the book; this book is sort of chock-full of new information about Obama -- there’s a chapter where I talk about Obama’s relationship with UNO of Chicago. UNO of Chicago -- United Neighborhood Organizations of Chicago.
This is amazing to me. This is a whole community organization that Obama had extremely close ties to; was almost a leader of, really, in some sense. And no one’s ever heard of it. UNO of Chicago was a kind of Hispanic counterpart of ACORN, a very confrontational community organization. It also had an explicitly anti-American ideology, right up there with Reverent Wright.
And this was an organization -- we don’t have exact numbers, but it’s clear from the numbers we do have that the composition of this organization was very heavily skewed, in comparison to the regular population, toward illegal aliens. So we had large numbers of illegal aliens basically running confrontation tactics on politicians in Illinois.
I tell one story about how Senator Charles Percy was trapped in the ladies’ bathroom by UNO of Chicago. And basically, they would confront these politicians and get them to give all sorts of money to the projects they wanted. And basically, a lot of these people were illegal aliens, with an explicitly anti-American ideology.
And so, you can read the story. This chapter that I talk about UNO of Chicago, I also go microscopically through “Dreams from my Father” and find the places where Obama is essentially covering up things.
UNO of Chicago itself, actually, is a great example. You can see where he suppressed the UNO of Chicago, just mentioning it a little bit, so he could say, “Oh yeah, I talked about that.” But there is no way that you would even remotely figure out what he was really doing with these folks if you read his memoir. Obama’s memoir changes the names of most people. And he even says that he uses composite characters. And in the book, I uncover some of the reasons for this strategy of disguise.
Now, let’s move on to the classics. And by the classics, I’m not talking about Beethoven, Bach and Brahms; I’m talking about Reverend Wright, Bill Ayers and ACORN. I have a lot to say about the classics. And most of it is new stuff. ACORN has an archive at the Wisconsin Historical Society that has barely been explored until very recently. Thousands and thousands of documents. And I managed to find a remarkable number of documents detailing Obama’s long and intimate relationship to ACORN.
Now, during the campaign, Obama said, The only, only thing I’ve ever had to do with ACORN is that I represented them in one lawsuit on the Motor Voter law in Illinois. No. That is a lie. And I don’t like to use the word “lie.” But in the book, I actually bring in the L-word for this one. Because you can just compare that very explicit statement during the campaign to this raft of documents, and you can see what he was covering up.
Not only that, but as a kind of subplot within the book, I talk about the origins of the financial crisis. Now, it’s been argued before by folks like myself that ACORN actually had a lot to do with subprime crisis because it dragooned banks against their will into making these dangerous subprime loans.
But what I found at the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives surprised even me. Because here we have ACORN’s own account of its meetings with Bill Clinton, of its meetings with Henry Cisneros, the HUD Secretary in the Clinton Administration; and all sorts of other people. And you see just how remarkably influential ACORN was in dragging the whole financial system into the subprime lending business. It’s an incredible story. It hasn’t been focused on near enough. And you’ll read that, with all sorts of new documents, in the book.
Now, Bill Ayers. It isn’t just that Obama happened to sort of kind of know Bill Ayers. We’re really talking about a very long and intimate political partnership.
During the campaign, the big controversy was -- you know, I looked at various documents about their past relationship and said, I don’t see how Ayers could not have brought Obama onto the board of this foundation that Ayers ran. And at that time, I was attacked, and the Obama campaign called me all sorts of nasty names. Now, David Remnick, Obama’s sympathetic biographer, has basically admitted that this is what happened.
But what I found in my research is that Obama returned the favor. Ayers was on the board of the Woods Fund, along with Obama, and we’ve known that. But it’s crystal clear, when you do the research, that it was Obama who brought Ayers onto the board of the Woods Fund. And between that, they were funding Bernadine Dohrn’s work, having a high time helping all of their group of socialist friends.
And that’s the real point of the Ayers chapter, is that there is a broader socialist community in Chicago. I’ve really only been able to scratch the surface here. And Obama worked with those people when he was an organizer, and he funded them. He funded them, so he was supporting them. And he understood very well all these hardball tactics that they used. And yet he was funneling money into their coffers.
But they had something in those days that they -- and they still use these terms -- they call it the inside-outside strategy, or the good cop-bad cop strategy. The idea is that you get a state legislator -- and this is what Obama was when he was in the Illinois state legislature -- who’s your good cop. He has to seem very nice. He has to seem willing to compromise and talk to all sides very courteously. But behind the scenes, he cooperates with these groups who are trying to trap, you know, senators in the ladies’ bathroom and such like. You know, that’s the good cop-bad cop strategy. So it’s not that Obama is a post-partisan pragmatist; it’s that he is a good cop in this hidden game that these socialist community organizers play.
Now, last but not least, there is Reverend Wright, our favorite. And I’ve got all sorts of new stuff on the Wright-Obama relationship. Now, I don’t have a specific document where Obama says, Hey, Jeremiah, you know, loved your “God damn America” sermon. But I got a lot of stuff in there, you know, where Obama was attending the church on a weekly basis, when Wright was having practically a civil war in his own congregation. Because some people were so angry at him for saying things like he had said on those tapes that we saw in the campaign. It wasn’t just those few times. He was saying it a lot. And his own congregants were getting mad at him. Wright was in a battle with them, and Obama was attending the congregation on a weekly basis at that time. And there’s lots of other stuff on Wright’s political history.
I’ll just very quickly try to run through some of the process of discovering this material.
During the campaign, I was alerted to the fact that libraries are not as open and free as they seem to be when I tried to get into an archive containing documents of a foundation that Bill Ayers had created and that Barack Obama had headed. And I was originally told I could get into this archive. And then, all the sudden, I was told there was some problem -- you can’t get in. We ran our huge public campaign to force them to let me in and see these documents. Many conservatives know all about this. But very few other people have heard of this, because the mainstream media didn’t cover it.
Finally, I got in, I found the archives -- all these papers that Ayers and Obama are working together. So I go on a talk radio show, Milt Rosenberg Radio Show. He’s a professor at the University of Chicago, very highfalutin talk radio show. And the Obama campaign tries to stop me from going on the radio. Seven thousand people inundate the station demanding that I be taken off. The campaign calls WGN station to demand that I be taken off.
So at that point, I realized that rather than announce my book project when I signed the contract, as would ordinarily be done, we just wouldn’t say anything. Because I dreaded being discovered in these archives. Because the truth is that the archivists and the librarians have a tremendous amount of discretion in what they can show you or not show you.
So I began, at the New York Public Library, following up on the Ayers issue, looking into Ayers’ community organizing background. Most people don’t know he’s a community organizer. And a missing reel of tape led me to another library, the Tamiment Library in New York, which houses the most important socialist archives in the country.
So in addition to finding material on Ayers, that’s where I first dug up these programs from the Socialist Scholars Conferences that Obama attended. My jaw dropped when I saw James Cone and various other people that I knew were important in Obama’s life. I realized that the socialism issue was important.
Following up on the James Cone issue, I found an obscure pamphlet that only existed in one or two places in the country -- in the public library in Chicago, the Harold Washington Library in Chicago. This was a pamphlet by James Cone about the links between black liberation theology and socialism. Michael Harrington, the famous socialist, had a commentary there.
But I couldn’t find the pamphlet -- it was at the library -- until I got up to an obscure room on the fourth floor. Why did I have to go to this obscure room I didn’t even know existed? Because this pamphlet had been in Harold Washington’s own library. And the room I found also contained all of the archives of the Harold Washington administration. So this was a goldmine.
And I started going through these archives and, lo and behold, I found all sorts of stuff about Obama -- Obama’s own documents with his name on them, writings that his -- material that his community organization had sent to the Harold Washington administration. It all tracked along what was going on with “Dreams from my Father.”
I was trembling as I had these documents, but I tried to seem very nonchalant, so that the librarians wouldn’t know what was going on. I was actually found out in a couple of places. Most places didn’t find me out. But I don’t want to go into too much detail, because I might need to go back to these places.
So I find these documents. And some of them will be in like an Obama Presidential Library. The only problem is they’re historic documents that you would want to put in the Presidential Library, but they got names on them like Jeremiah Wright. They got names like John Ayers, Bill Ayers’ brother, who Obama had a political connection to, I found out, long before he was supposed to have been in touch with Bill Ayers.
But one of the things they had in this archive was notes made by the advance men preparing Mayor Washington for any visit that he would make to any public place and also commenting on the visit. And from this, I discovered that on a visit to -- that Harold Washington made to Reverend Wright’s congregation, there was a state senator in that congregation, but it wasn’t Obama. This was before Obama. This was when Obama was just getting to know Reverend Wright. And I didn’t know that at that time there was a state senator in Wright’s congregation -- his name was Howard Brookins.
So I immediately became curious. And then the next link in the chain came, and I went to Springfield, Illinois, to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. And I found the papers of Howard Brookins. And, lo and behold, they were absolutely filled with letters from Reverend Wright, saying, This is how you should vote, this is who you should ally with, these are the people you should nominate. And Brookins was doing all of that stuff.
So I write about this in the book. You get a sense of how politically involved Reverend Wright was; what he expected of a state senator from his own congregation.
And there are a lot of chains like this. A lot of them go around in circles, and I end up going back where I started. But I’m just giving you an example of how one clue leads to another and eventually opens up a whole world.
Now, I’ll finish by just briefly talking about where we are today. As I’ve already hinted, I think that Obama really has this long-term socialist realignment strategy in mind -- a strategy he would’ve learned about all the way back in 1983. His attacks on businesses, his attacks on the Chamber of Commerce, all the stuff about fat cats, his attacks on the Supreme Court in highly unusual circumstances during the State of the Union address, because of the public funding money issue -- those are all attempts to jumpstart a populist, anti-business movement of the Left, and at the risk -- at the short-term risk of pushing business interests out of the [Republican] Party.
And I think Obama’s basic strategy is to get in place what he’s gotten in place. That’s why it was worth it for him to take all these short-term risks. He wants to get the healthcare bill, for example, in place. And then, if he can just get to the point where people who don’t have health insurance get angry when the Republicans try to repeal, he hopes that that will also jumpstart the movement.
Attacking, going to Hispanics and telling them to attack their enemies -- it’s the same thing. The notion is that there needs to be a grand coalition in the Left -- the populist, anti-business people and highly activated minority groups -- blacks and Hispanics. The thought was always, going back to these Socialist Scholars Conferences, that those groups will create the new majority coalition.
But the only way to kick-start that coalition is to make them angry, to get them mad at someone who’s trying to take something away. So you basically run Alinsky-ite tactics against a whole state, like Arizona, and you get Hispanics mad, tell them to punish their enemies -- that’s all an attempt to jumpstart this. And of course, I argue this in a great deal more detail in the book.
But the underlying theme is people who believe that Obama is a socialist -- they think the proof of it is that he’s politically suicidal. Look what he’s doing. He’s sacrificing everything for the sake of his crazy ideological victories. But what I’m trying to say is he’s crazy like a fox. He’s taking short-term risks because he’s got a long-term play in mind. He wants to take the risk that it takes to get this legislation on-line.
Then he wants -- dares the Republicans -- remember, he said, “Go for it” to the Republicans when they talked about repeal -- then he wants to dare the Republicans to try to take it away, use that to generate anger, which will reignite the base that he has lost. And then, he gets the big prize, which is the country is realigned and pushed substantially to the left. And for him, it’s worth it to take all these short-term risks.
So don’t get cocky -- we’re dealing with a very serious adversary here.
To watch the video of Stanley Kurtz's speech on DHTV, click here.
To order Radical-in-Chief, click here.