David Frum’s Wrong Direction
Obama is, and must remain, the issue.


Stanley Kurtz


David Frum has replied to my recent criticisms of his soon-to-be founded No Labels project. But my root-and-branch critique of his No Labels initiative goes unanswered, and in the process Frum introduces new distortions of my book on Obama.

Indeed, Frum’s reply continues to reflect the faulty analysis of American politics he advanced in 2008, which has left him isolated and estranged from the conservative movement. Frum failed to anticipate the revitalizing and unifying effect Obama’s radicalism would have on the Republican party. Obama’s leftism has undone Frum’s political plans, and Frum’s refusal to acknowledge that fact and climb down from the liberalizing limb upon which he has stranded himself has driven him to ever more self-defeating measures.

Frum fails to plainly state the core findings of my research: that Obama was an orthodox Marxist-Leninist in his early college years; that he certainly attended two socialist conferences, which converted him to community organizing; that these conferences sketched a vision of socialist-friendly political coalitions led by African-Americans who would emerge from the ranks of community organizers; that the groups, strategies, and theologies Obama spent a lifetime cultivating were presented at these conferences as the program of a modernized socialism; that Obama worked for his entire career with the very stealth-socialist community organizers in Chicago who had authored the political strategy presented at those early socialist conferences; that these stealth-socialist community organizers sponsored Obama’s political rise; that Obama supported these socialists by channeling foundation money their way for years; that Obama worked closely with this stealth-socialist community-organizing network throughout his time as an Illinois state senator; that Obama has hidden, and particularly in the case of ACORN, bluntly lied about these radical connections; that the tactics, policies, and strategies crafted by Obama’s stealth-socialist organizing mentors have guided his entire political career, including his presidency; and that the same stealth-socialist community organizers who inspired and sponsored Obama’s political career advised his 2008 presidential campaign and continue to work with him at shaping and marshaling support for his presidential agenda.

All of this is obscured or rendered invisible by Frum’s thin and mangled description of my book. Frum gets pretty much everything wrong, from details like how many socialist conferences Obama was certainly at (actually two, with a third also possible) to the much more significant issue of my discussion of Obama’s writings, legislative record, and presidency. I analyze all of these from the perspective of Obama’s socialism. Frum is free to disagree with my conclusions, but not to pretend that I make no case for the socialist content of Obama’s presidential policies and strategies. As noted in my earlier piece, John Stuart Mill thought you could tell who was winning a debate by how fairly participants represented their opponent’s point of view. By that standard, Frum is doing pretty poorly. He can’t rebut my take on Obama’s presidential socialism if he can’t successfully restate my argument and analysis.