Politics & Policy

The Manchurian Candidate III

This Time, It's Personal.

INT. DZERZHINSKY SQUARE, MOSCOW — NIGHT (1960) — We open at a meeting of the KGB brain trust.  One of the officers, NECHIPORENKO, lays out an audacious plan to destroy the western democracies by corrupting them from within.  Dubbed the “illegals program,” his plan calls for operatives to identify, educate, and support the best and brightest young impressionable minds in America — a country the Soviets refer to as the “Principal Enemy” — encouraging them to devote their lives to “public service,” all the while steeped in the principles of Marxism-Leninism through the universities, the media and the declining Protestant churches.

A true visionary, Nechiporenko realizes that the emerging baby-boomer generation will be especially susceptible to notions of “fairness” and “redistribution of wealth,” while the burgeoning civil-rights movement offers a fertile field for mischief, inflaming the antagonism of black Americans against a society that will not change fast enough.  The trick is to teach the young Americans to mistrust and despise their heritage, their culture and, finally, themselves.

Strangely enough, JFK is assassinated by a Marxist defector to the Soviet Union named Lee Harvey Oswald of the “Fair Play for Cuba” Committee; Senator Joe McCarthy’s hatchet man, Saint Robert F. Kennedy, is murdered by an anti-Israel Palestinian radical named Sirhan Sirhan; the inner cities explode throughout the mid-1960s, culminating in an orgy of violence when Martin Luther King, Jr., is shot; there are riots during the 1968 Democrat Convention in Chicago; and a revolutionary movement of spoiled rich kids called the Weather Underground bombs the Capitol and the Pentagon while preaching Marxist revolution.

As vast sums of money are funneled from Moscow via Cuba to Soviet operatives and fellow travelers within the U.S. to identify, recruit, and train future “illegals,” with or without their knowledge, we –



Paradise on earth.  But our hero, young fifth-grader RAYMOND SHAW, is not happy.  Half-Kansan and half-Kenyan, he’s spent much of his childhood in Muslim Indonesia, where he’s learned to recite the Koran in Arabic.  Although Hawaii is multi-racial (Japanese, Chinese, Hawaii, Filipino, Samoan, and white, both native-born and military), the black/white structural paradigm so beloved of the New York Times does not obtain there, since there are precious few African Americans in the islands. 

Heroically, Raymond does what he can to impose an artificial, Bull Connor narrative on his life, but with white people — politely called haoles in pidgin English and effin-haoles in common parlance — making up less than a third of the population, it’s tough to pretend he lives in the Deep South.  Alone and nearly friendless, he consoles himself by shooting hoops and writing bad poetry and, later experimenting with drugs and alcohol.

Destiny takes a hand when his typical white grandfather, a disaffected midwesterner who has drifted from Kansas to radical Mercer Island, Washington, to lefty Honolulu, introduces Raymond to FRANK, a “progressive” who advocates the destruction of capitalism and its replacement by socialism.  Frank had once been a columnist for the Chicago Star, a “labor-community organizer” newspaper in the city that had given birth to the Communist Party USA 1919. 

Raymond thrills to Paul Robeson recordings and the older man’s denunciation of the “racist white power structure,” while raptly listening to tales of a magical and wondrous placed called “Chicago.”  Chicago is not only the city of Al Capone, Moses Annenberg, and Dion O’Bannion, it’s also the center of Black Capitalism, the successor to Harlem as the mecca for blacks.  It’s home, too, to the “Nation of Islam,” whose close-cropped adherents wear simple dark suits and narrow ties — a costume Raymond himself will later adopt.

One night, Frank looks at Raymond and says: You are the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life, and hails the boy as “the Expected One.”  Raymond vows that, someday, he too will go to Chicago and become a community organizer… and perhaps even more.  Frank gives the boy a copy of Dune.

Signs and wonders abound.  In high-school-basketball-mad Hawaii, Raymond is only a mediocre player and an indifferent student.   And yet in the land of non-affirmative-action, “scholarship student” Raymond glides through one of the most expensive and exclusive prep schools west of the Mississippi (founded in 1841). 

It is one of the first of many financing miracles that will attend The One’s inexorable rise…


Raymond deliberately seeks out the Marxist professors for intellectual sustenance, but after two years he drops out, in order to transfer to another elite, expensive school that, thanks to his remarkable luck, will more or less pay him to go there: Columbia University in New York City.  The few classmates who remember him all recall: Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.  But first, for no apparent reason, in 1981, he flies to —


For “about three weeks,” he stays in Karachi with a college “friend and roommate” named MUHAMMED and also learns how properly to pronounce the name of the breakaway Muslim province of the old British Raj:  “Pok-ee-STAHN.”  It doesn’t matter that the SOVIETS invaded neighboring Afghanistan two years earlier, or that the Ayatollah KHOMEINI has conquered neighboring IRAN, where he held Americans hostage in Tehran; or that Pakistani Dictator MUHAMMAD ZIA-UL-HAQ had hanged ZULIFKAR ALI BHUTTO, in a 1977 coup.  Pakistan just seems like a nice place to visit.

Raymond also visits Hyderabad, where



Back in America, Raymond meets with a “guy who just so happens to live in his neighborhood” on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, CHUNJIN, a former leader of the Weather Underground, who —



MONTAGE — Realizing Frank’s dream, Raymond travels to Chicago, where — despite his lack of belief in any particular organized religion — he involves himself as a “community organizer” with several Catholic parishes on Chicago’s South Side.  He also signs up with the Gamaliel Foundation, an African-American “community organizing” group.

One night, as he lies in bed listening the rumble of the El and reading the collected works of Upton Sinclair, he at last realizes and accepts his divine mission as he stumbles across this passage, when the long-suffering, put-upon slaughterhouse-laboring Jurgis is first thrillingly called “Comrade”: “I find that all the fair and noble impulses of humanity, the dreams of poets and the agonies of martyrs, are shackled and bound in the service of organized and predatory Greed…!  To-night in Chicago there are a hundred thousand children wearing out their strength and blasting their lives in the effort to earn their bread..!   By God!  By God!  By God!” 

By God, it’s a Jungle out there!  Now calling himself Raymond Shaw II to symbolize his rebirth, he throws himself into his work, organizing, rabble-rousing and visiting his long-lost relatives in Kenya. 


As his weird half-sister chants nearby, we see Raymond donning the colorful native garb of the Luo tribe



Raymond Shaw II takes it as no less than his due when he is, for no apparent reason, named the editor of the Harvard Law Review.   Naturally, the joy of the New York Times, which for some strange reason has followed his career closely, knows no bounds. 

Book deals follow.  Somehow, despite his busy schedule, Raymond finds time to fly to Bali to write down his Dreams.  And though first-time author Raymond doesn’t deliver on his contract, causing his publisher, Poseidon, a division of Simon & Schuster, to cancel the miraculously large $125,000 advance, he luckily gets Times Books to fork over another $40,000 for him to “finish” the manuscript.

The reviews are unanimous: Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life. 


THE REVEREND JERAMIAH WRIGHT, a putative former Black Muslim, friend to Louis Farrakahn, and espouser of the “Black Value System,” holds Raymond spellbound as he denounces racist AmeriKKKa from the pulpit of his “Christian” church each Sunday. 

Hiding in the wings, the CAMERA also finds ELEANOR ISELIN, a Lower East Side-born former “journalist” for the Chicago Tribune turned Daley Machine “City Hall Correspondent” turned “campaign consultant.”  Eleanor epitomizes everything about the Chicago Way — the unholy symbiosis of the city’s left-wing media, Mayor Richie Daley’s “Tammany Hall West,” the “Outfit” bipartisan politics of Rod Blagojevich and the rest of the gangster politicos in Springfield.   She’s also mean, vicious, ruthless and a Russian agent — the perfect case officer for Raymond Shaw II.

Their eyes meet –



Eleanor understands that the way to “Fundamental Change” lies not through street-fighting but in-fighting.  Burnishing her chummy credentials with the cream of bien-pensant journalism, she schools Raymond in the oldest axiom of them all: “no enemies to the Left!

As one, the columnists and pundits write:  Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.


– Raymond Shaw II succeeding an unabashed Soviet admirer as a state senator from Illinois.

– Raymond Shaw II, together with the sinister Chunjin, doling out Annenberg money to various “progressive” causes in Chicago.

– Raymond Shaw II being elected a United States Senator almost by default when both his primary opponent and his general-election opponent suddenly have their sealed divorced records released by the Chicago Tribune and its sister publication, The Los Angeles Times.

– Basking in the glory of The One’s triumph at a post-election “press conference rag,” Eleanor Iselin gushes: Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life. 

The hard-bitten Chicago media replies: Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes, oh yes they both, oh yes they both…



After less than a year as a sitting Senator, a bored and restless Raymond Shaw II announces that he will run for President, to effect “Fundamental Change.”  No one quite knows what he means by this, but the assembled media look at each other and proclaim to the nation: Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life. 


Under Eleanor’s tutelage, Raymond Shaw II lies about accepting public financing and raises an unprecedented war chest, much of it of dubious provenance.  His opponent, a war hero named Major BENNETT MARCO, runs an honorable campaign…


An old man now, Nechiporenko watches the election returns on television; even though the Soviet Union is no more, the audacity of hope lives on.

Nechiporenko pours himself a stiff vodka and raises his glass in a toast across the seas:

To Raymond Shaw, the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life. 

For he is the Quizatz Haderach!



 David Kahane (kahanenro@gmail.com) will see you at the Oscars.  Casting suggestions welcome.

Since February 2007, Michael Walsh has written for National Review both under his own name and the name of David Kahane, a fictional persona described as “a Hollywood liberal who ...


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