The Corner

Riots as Protests Again

Those are all good points, Andy. There is tremendous continuity between Obama’s past and the current administration. Of course, that’s one of the themes of the book.  Obama has been running the same “inside/outside” game he perfected in Chicago, coordinating with some of his old organizer buddies and their groups, who run many of the grassroots campaigns for his policies.

But my book is also very careful to separate what I think I can say with some documentary reliability, what I think I can argue as an educated conjecture, given a large body of supporting evidence, and what I must leave for the reader to decide.

For a while, the Internet was buzzing with a bogus story that said I was claiming Obama is rooting for the rioters in England. I just don’t think I have enough evidence to decide that matter with any certainty. So how can I claim it?

What I was really saying in my original post, as opposed to the bogus interpretation that started flying around the Internet, was that, given his lifelong background in community organizing, Obama probably still looks at civil disorders as expressions of the political yearnings of the powerless, much like Livingstone. This was the worldview Obama drank in with such passion, and I doubt he could completely drop that intellectual prism, even if he wanted to.

But that’s not to say Obama is certainly and actually rooting for the riots right now, even if you can make a case that he could be. This is just too complicated and unknown a situation for me to go beyond the thought that Obama’s old organizing worldview is likely still active when he looks over at England.

What’s happening in Britain now cuts several different ways. Some on the left may see it as an opportunity to discredit austerity as a policy. But Obama’s advisors may also be worried that events in England only demonstrate how much trouble we’ll be in if we don’t cut spending now, while there’s still time. And this whole drama contributes to a sense that the world is spinning out of Obama’s control. Under these circumstances, I did not, and cannot, say exactly what Obama is rooting for. If you, as a thoughtful reader, want to draw such conclusions, you are more than welcome to do so, and it’s an honor to me. But I am committed to remaining clear and cautious about what I can say with some reasonable assurance.

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

Most Popular

Immigration

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More
U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Religion

Billy Graham: Neither Prophet nor Theologian

Asked in 1972 if he believed in miracles, Billy Graham answered: Yes, Jesus performed some and there are many "miracles around us today, including television and airplanes." Graham was no theologian. Neither was he a prophet. Jesus said "a prophet hath no honor in his own country." Prophets take adversarial ... Read More
Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More