I received close to a dozen emails this morning linking to this article that breathlessly breaks the news that Obama was a member of “The New Party” – a “fusion” party made up of hard line Maoists, Communists, American socialists, and far left liberal Democrats in Chicago.
Readers of this site may recall that I wrote about this connection back in late May. The blogsite Yid With a Lid did all the legwork as far as I can determine. Eric Ericson and Warner Todd Houston then fleshed out the connection at RedState and added some great analysis.
I have written frequently about Obama’s connection with the New Party including here and here as well as several posts at The American Thinker. (See also Tom Lifson’s excellent post today.) The point being, there is absolutely nothing new here – even the archived links to The New Party website have been floating around the web for 6 months. David Freddoso included information in his book The Case Against Barack Obama and Stanley Kurtz at NRO has mentioned the fact that ACORN members staffed Obama’s campaign in his first run for state senate. ACORN was a prominent member of The New Party coalition.
Does this make Obama a Marxist? A socialist?
I may be going over old ground here for daily readers but this is such an important aspect of Obama’s political personae that it bears repeating. Barack Obama’s political beliefs are secondary to his using anyone and everyone – from corrupt Machine politicians to wild eyed radical Maoists – to further his political career. All of the radical associations in his past (and present) represent nothing more than stepping stones to aid him in his political advancement. As early as 1987 he told Jeremiah Wright that he had his eye on the Governor’s mansion in Illinois (no doubt his sights were set higher). The arc of his career has always been headed toward high political office. Of this, there is no doubt.
Besides using these radicals to get ahead and making common cause with groups like ACORN and The New Party, it is a legitimate question to ask if Obama shared their ideology. The answer is almost certainly no. I believe that there is something about these radicals that attracted Obama. Perhaps it was their utter certainty and belief that they are in the moral right. Or maybe it was that their personalities are so driven and single minded. Given Obama’s own doubts about his place in the world as a young man as well as his apparent aimlessness early on, it stands to reason that people who believed so strongly in something and seemed to know where they were going in life would be able to interest the young, ambitious politician.
Calling Obama a “socialist” simply isn’t logical. He doesn’t share the belief that industries should be nationalized by the government or even taken over by the workers as many American Marxists espouse. He may not be as wedded to the free market as a conservative but he doesn’t want to get rid of it. He wants to regulate it. He wants “capitalism with a human face.” He wants to mitigate some of the effects of the market when people lose. This is boilerplate Democratic party liberalism not radical socialism.
I detest conservatives throwing around the words “socialism” and “Marxism” when it comes to Obama as much as I get angry when idiot liberals toss around the word “fascist” when describing conservatives. I’m sorry but this is ignorant. It bespeaks a lack of knowledge of what socialism and communism represent as well as an ignorance of simple definitions. Obama will not set up a government agency to plan the economy. He will not as president, require businesses to meet targets for production. He will not outlaw profit. He will not put workers in charge of companies (unless it is negotiated between unions and management. It is not unheard of in this country and the practice may become more common in these perilous economic times.).
An Obama presidency will have more regulation, more “oversight,” more interference from government agencies, more paperwork for business, less business creation, fewer jobs, fewer opportunities. It will be friendlier to unions, more protectionist, and will require higher taxes from corporations (who then will simply pass the tax bill on to us, their customers). But government won’t run the economy. And calling Obama a “socialist” simply ignores all of the above and substitutes irrationalism (or ignorance) for the reality of what an Obama presidency actually represents; a lurch to the left that will be detrimental to the economy, bad for business, but basically allow market forces to continue to dominate our economy.
Obama’s friendship with Ayers, Rezko, Wright, Pfleger, Meeks, Khalidi, as well as his working with Richard Daley’s Chicago Machine was the result of his overweening ambition and not due to any ideological affinity or strain of corruption in his makeup. He may have taken a scholarly interest in some of the ideas put forth by Ayers and he might have seen working to approve some of Ayers’ radical ideas as good politics (Ayers was an ally of Daley in the School wars of the 1990’s).
But frankly, Obama is someone who impresses me as having no real ideology save that which can get him elected. His campaign has shown him to pander to whatever audience he is addressing at the moment. His contradictory positions on issues is simply dismissed as his words “being taken out of context” or the candidate himself “misstated” his position. The press gives him a pass and its off to the next audience where he tells them exactly what they want to hear.
This is not a man with a radical ideology. It is a man with no ideology at all, no set beliefs in anything save his own supreme abilities. It is this more than anything else that will cause him to fail if he is elected president. When the political winds are blowing the strongest, he will have no set of beliefs he can cling to in order to ride out the storm. His efforts to “reform” Washington will come a cropper because of this and in the end, his empty rhetoric will be all that is remembered of him.