“We discussed the fact that Ho Chi Minh was actually inspired by the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and the words of Thomas Jefferson.” That’s what Barack Obama said after meeting with the Vietnamese president, Sang. One should really put “president” in quotation marks, though: These party bosses like to perfume themselves with words like that.
I go over some of this in Impromptus today, saying, “A certain kind of American has always claimed that Ho was really a Jeffersonian at heart. In truth, his heart belonged to Marx, Lenin, Mao, and the rest of the destroyers. He was in their image. Sure, there were little nods to Jefferson — for Western consumption, Western fools.”
Then there is this point, one I have made ever since Obama began his dizzying national ascent: The man often thinks and talks like someone older than he is. Like a New Leftist, rather than someone who was born in 1961, when Tom Hayden was already in his early 20s. I mean, Hayden would have bought that baloney about Ho (or at least peddled it). But Obama, who graduated from college in 1983?
After I wrote my bit, I read Ron Radosh’s column on Saul Landau, the leftist filmmaker who died last week. Landau spent his life perfuming Communism for American audiences. He had the kind of beliefs, and tricks, that Obama (and the rest of us) should be way beyond.
Ron writes the following about Landau: “Castro was, he insisted, a nationalist and humanist who believed in real democracy. As he would put it later in an article, Castro was both a Jeffersonian and a Marxist.”
When someone tells you that a Communist leader is Jeffersonian, watch your wallet, and watch the corpses. (That’s the advice that Elie Kedourie gave David Pryce-Jones: “Keep your eye on the corpses.”) In addition to being perhaps the greatest articulator of freedom and democracy ever, Jefferson enslaved a relative handful; the Hos and the Castros have their eye on enslaving multitudes, populations, and nations. And, of course, they succeed.
You could tell how much Ho Chi Minh revered the U.S. Constitution, couldn’t you? I mean, just look at the state he set up and ruled over. You can barely distinguish it from New Hampshire, right?
It’s possible that, in talking alongside the Vietnamese president — “president” — Obama was being justifiably diplomatic. But I don’t know. I have a hard time figuring out who Obama is, even at this late date. Even five years or so into his presidency. Is he the man who, on one day, sounds like a perfectly sober, levelheaded American leader? Or is he the man who, on another day, sounds like a member of the Choom Gang who has just seen a Landau documentary on PBS?
What a character.