Kathryn’s thorough and informative interview with Stanley Kurtz about his new book, Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism, is must reading. As one of a few people who read the manuscript before its publication last week, I know that this interview is the best preview yet of what’s inside — and that anybody reading it will end up wanting to read the whole book.
And no wonder. Radical-in-Chief compellingly lays out as never before the firm ideological chain running through the president’s political life. It joins Obama’s earliest radical mentors to his college Marxism-Leninism to his attendance at Socialist Scholars Conferences in the early 1980s to his years spent collaborating with Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn and other radicals to his steady rise in the world of socialist politics in Chicago and beyond. It also connects the dots between those decades of thought and work and associations — and current White House policy.
Just one take-home thought among many others that come to mind for NRO readers is this: what on earth would have happened if any conservative candidate for office had had the mirror-image ideological history of candidate Obama? As Stanley Kurtz writes, driving the point straight to the White House:
Imagine a presidential candidate who attended CPAC [Conservative Political Action Conference] conferences throughout his youth, then spent years as an activist in various conservative organizations, before finally becoming a politician with the most conservative voting record in the United States Senate. (Obama had the most liberal Senate record.) Instead of campaigning openly as a conservative…he claims to be a pragmatist who rejects ideologies of the left and right. Questioned by the press about his youthful conference attendance, he denies being a conservative and insists during those same years he had also made a point of reading Karl Marx and Michael Harrington. This would not be a persuasive reply.”
Was that really so hard to see? Thanks to Radical-in-Chief, not anymore.
– Mary Eberstadt is author of The Loser Letters.