The Obama Watch

From De Blasio to Obama

Have you ever also agreed with Marxist ideology, Mr. President?

By 9.27.13

Send to Kindle

Something fascinating and surprisingly honest has happened at the New York Times. In two separate articles, the Times took a page it would usually attribute to Joe McCarthy. In profiling the background of Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, who will likely be New York City’s next mayor, and fittingly so, the Times has shed much-needed light on de Blasio’s disturbing political past. It’s a past that includes cheerleading for Nicaragua’s Sandinista government and Fidel Castro’s barbarous regime in Cuba.

The feature piece was done by Times reporter Javier Hernandez, who should be commended for his atypical bravery. In the liberal church, where the Times is both Old and New Testament, Hernandez’s blasphemy is worthy of excommunication. Mr. Hernandez, a vile sinner, has committed a grave heresy that merits accountability before the entire congregation.

To be sure, the intrepid Times writer didn’t exactly excoriate de Blasio’s dark past. The piece was mild at best. Hernandez won’t be confused with the long, lost brother of J. Edgar Hoover. Nonetheless, for the Times, it’s remarkable to see such facts in print.

Blasio, naturally, dismisses this shameless examination. He describes himself as a merry “progressive” pursuing “social justice.” Of course he does. In fact, that’s normally the Times’ take for any leftist from Angela Davis to Gus Hall to Karl Marx.

But even more interesting is a shorter piece on de Blasio posted at the Times a couple of days later. Written by reporter David Chen, it included several gems under a photo of a beaming Blasio with political soulmate Barack Obama. Among the gems, this Chen item especially struck me: 

Later, when asked whether he had ever agreed with Marxist ideology, Mr. de Blasio, looking a bit flabbergasted, said: “It’s 2013. I’d like to note, I’m not going to stoop to Joe Lhota’s [the Republican mayoral nominee] level here.”

He added: “I’ve read lots of wonderful books of all different viewpoints, and I’ve been exceedingly consistent throughout my career. I am a progressive who believes in an activist approach to government. You can call it whatever the heck you want.”

All of which leads to a more intriguing question that should be directed not at de Blasio but at Obama namely: Has Barack Obama ever agreed with Marxist ideology?

Yes, yes. We’ve been through this before. That is, conservatives like myself have been pushing this question for a long time, but never with access to Barack Obama. We can’t get this question asked, and thus it has never been answered.

I wrote a 400-page book on Obama and his mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, a literal card-carrying member of Communist Party USA (CPUSA no. 47544). There, I include transcripts of lengthy interviews I did with Dr. John Drew, who knew Obama at Occidental College in the early 1980s. Drew is completely credible. There’s no good reason to (at the very least) not take his account seriously enough for some follow-up queries.

Drew was a Marxist at the time — as was, he insists, a young Obama. That was how the two came into contact. Drew was a leader among campus Marxists.

Drew told me about the moment he first met Obama, who was introduced to him as “one of us.” “Obama was already an ardent Marxist when I met in the fall of 1980,” said Drew. Drew is certainly cognizant of the gravity of that statement. “I know it’s incendiary to say this,” he continued, but Obama “was basically a Marxist-Leninist.” He underscored how Obama, in his memoirs, Dreams from My Father, recalled attending “socialist conferences” and how he “hung out” with Marxist professors, but what Obama did not explain, said Drew, is that he “was in 100 percent, total agreement with these Marxist professors.”

I asked Drew if he believed Obama still believed some of those things today and, for the record, where and when and how Obama broke with some or all of that radical ideology. On that, Drew and I both speculated at length. Our mere speculation sent liberals into fits of blind rage. But it need not be that way.

Our speculation has been made possible, and facilitated, only by the malfeasance of liberal journalists. Speculation is fostered when information to the contrary isn’t even sought out, let alone presented. In Obama’s case, it hasn’t been even sought out, which is patently ridiculous.

Any person who runs for and seriously competes for the position of president of the United States — or even mayor of New York — ought to expect to be asked about his political past. Such is part of not only the normal vetting process but of standard biographical portrayals by journalists. Often, the beliefs of the political figure in his early 20s end up a mere curiosity or mere marker along a broader political path and evolution.

We all know, for instance, that Hillary Clinton had been a Goldwater girl before her move to the left in college. We knew that George W. Bush had alcohol problems. We knew that Ronald Reagan had been a progressive Democrat, a duped Democrat, a self-described “hemophiliac liberal,” before his migration to the right. In my book Dupes, I covered countless communists and communist sympathizers who became anti-communist liberals or stalwart Cold Warrior conservatives. I dedicated that book to Herb Romerstein, a onetime communist (at the same age that Obama would have been one) who ultimately became one of America’s leading anti-communists.

In all of these cases, none of these individuals ran from their past, and no journalist let them. No journalist was afraid to inquire. Each of these individuals willingly shared their conversion narrative: “Here’s how I changed, and why….”

That, of course, begs a compelling question: Where is Barack Obama’s conversion narrative? If he truly left that left-wing radicalism behind, then he must have one.

Why have journalists never posed to Obama the routine questions given to other politicians — such as the one asked to Bill de Blasio this week? Imagine this surreal scenario: Blasio and Obama together for a photo op, and only Blasio gets asked about his radical past. Obama must have thought to himself: Gee, I’m glad they’ve still never asked me that question.

Why haven’t they?

Surely, if they were confident that Obama was never a Marxist, or had unequivocally fled and rejected Marxist ideology — and that guys like me are Neanderthals for pondering the thought — they’d have no hesitancy accumulating the ammo to shoot us down. A firm on-the-record repudiation by Obama would pull the rug out from under the “right-wing” claims that our president was or remains a Marxist in some degree. It would be like producing the birth certificate.

Why not ask? This would be such an easy question for Obama to dismiss. “Hey, guys, I was young and, yes, a little radical back then. It was college, the late ‘70s. Many of us flirted with some crazy ideas back then. But was then. Do you still believe what you believed in college? I’ve rejected all that. Here’s why and when….”

We’re still waiting. We’re waiting less on Barack Obama than we’re waiting on just one honest mainstream journalist with access to the president. If the inquiry is okay for the potential mayor of New York, then why not for the leader of the free world? 

Photo: UPI

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article
About the Author

Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. His latest book is 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative.