One of the most challenging things about researching and writing my new book, Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism, was keeping the project largely secret. Given what had happened to me during campaign 2008, a low profile seemed the best way to minimize the possibility of interference with my work. Fortunately, I had the help and advice along the way of a few thoughtful friends and public intellectuals. Now, blogging at the Chronicle of Higher Education, one of them, Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, has something to say about the lack of interest by scholars and journalists in the archival documents I was able to dig up on Obama’s past, and on the pasts of his socialist colleagues and mentors.
It’s up to readers to judge how successful I was, but as Wood notes, I make every effort in the book to separate the evidence I turn up from my conclusions. Readers are invited to make sense of that evidence differently than I do. While it seems to me that the clearest and most straightforward reading of the record is that Obama shares the stealth-socialist convictions of his community organizer colleagues, some might disagree. What you make of it all is up to you, but in Radical-in-Chief you’ll find a wealth of new material on Obama’s past that no-one had previously thought to look for.
Meanwhile, Katherine Kersten’s recent piece on Radical-in-Chief, “Obama has been hiding his real agenda,” picks up on the theme of stealth socialism. One of the most remarkable things I stumbled onto in my research was clear evidence that Alinskyite community organizers consciously hide their socialism. In fact, not only did Obama’s colleagues and mentors intentionally hide their socialism, they had elaborate theories about how to keep their socialism secret, and why it made good political sense to do so. If I hadn’t found it in the archives, I wouldn’t have believed it myself. But as you’ll see in Radical-in-Chief, stealth socialism is no conservative fantasy, but a very real and deadly serious phenomenon.