The Corner

Obama’s Ideology, or Gangster Government?

The Washington Examiner’s long new investigative report on Obama’s activities in Chicago is well worth a read. The focus here is on Obama as a Chicago machine pol who hurts his enemies and rewards his friends. Yet nothing in this excellent report contradicts the view that Obama is a leftist ideologue. In fact, much reinforces the point.

The plan Obama laid out in the important 1997 speech discussed by the Examiner was obviously designed to create a kind of cradle-to-grave welfare state in miniature. The fact that Obama planned to achieve this all-encompassing welfare state by structuring real-estate deals that would bring in political contributions shows his ability to advance the goal of socialization from within the capitalist system.

The platform of the leftist New Party, which Obama was still a member of when he gave that 1997 address, included a plan for creating something called “most-favored-company” status. The idea was for the government to promulgate “standards of social usefulness,” and then reward businesses adhering to those standards with special tax and regulatory benefits. The leaders of the New Party understood this as a way of achieving de facto government control over business from within what they viewed as the confines of the capitalist system.

The cases of “gangster government” revealed by the Examiner report can be understood from within this framework.

Stanley Kurtz — Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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