Smoking Gun Control

by Stanley Kurtz

Well now, I think we have a very interesting story on our hands. In the face of definitive documentary proof that Barack Obama became a member of the leftist New Party in 1996, the Obama campaign continues to deny the obvious. So do several veterans of Chicago’s New Party. It’s a measure of just how damaging they think this story is.

The other day, Ben Smith asked to see the newly discovered documents backing up my claim that Obama had joined the New Party. I happily sent copies of the key documents to Smith, who has now posted them on the Internet. The minutes of the January 11, 1996, meeting of the Chicago New Party say in no uncertain terms that Obama joined the party, as Smith concedes. There follows a party membership roster from 1997, which lists Obama as a member and confirms that he joined on January 11, 1996. The documents that precede the roster show political scheming among New Party factions, centering on the voting rights of New Party members.

Yet the New Party veterans interviewed by Smith insist that the party didn’t really have members and that, in any case, Obama was not one. It would be difficult to imagine a greater discrepancy between documentary evidence and the claims of the New Party’s former “members” (or what exactly do they call themselves?)

Two of the New Party vets approached by Smith were less forthcoming than the rest. Madeline Talbott and Keith Kelleher, the leaders of the Chicago New Party and the two New Party figures closest to Obama (as I show in Radical-in-Chief), declined to respond to Smith’s request for comment. Fascinating, isn’t it?

#more#Dan Swinney, the chief Chicago “membership denier” says the Chicago New Party lasted only about a year. I guess that’s so, if “about” actually means seven years. I’ll have more to say about Swinney down the road, since he appears in the documents I discovered on numerous occasions.

So where is the press? Isn’t this a great story? Maybe not as relevant to the upcoming election as Obama’s basketball years, his love letters, or his drug habits, I suppose. But still, given the total contradiction between contemporaneous documents and the statements of the Obama campaign and former New Party (what shall we call them?) “existers” on the matter of Obama’s membership in a leftist third party, shouldn’t the press be just the tiniest bit curious?

Hey, here’s an idea. Why not break the supposed tie between those original “smoking gun” New Party documents and the New Party “membership deniers” by asking President Obama himself? Surely he might know something about whether he had joined this leftist third party or not.

I challenge the press to pursue this question, and others should challenge them as well. I welcome the chance to pit contemporaneous documents against the claims of the Chicago New Party’s (non?) members.

Let the games begin.

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