The Corner

VDH and Steyn on Radical-in-Chief

Yesterday Hugh Hewitt had Victor Davis Hanson and Mark Steyn on his show. You can read transcripts of both interviews here. Hewitt asked each of them about my new book, Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism. Here’s an excerpt from what each had to say, first from VDH:

HH: Now, Stanley Kurtz has this new book, Radical-in-Chief. I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to read it yet.

VDH: I just finished the entire book. It’s funny you ask.

HH: Well, I had him on yesterday for an hour. It’s a revelation. What did you think about it?

VDH: Well, it’s not like the other books, the Dinesh D’Souza book and others, because it’s scholarly, and it’s not . . . it’s disinterested. It’s just trying to explain that this man. Stanley’s not saying commie commie, socialist socialist. He’s just saying this was a hard-core socialist. He was. He’s unapologetic about it. The record was there. And we didn’t even understand this. We never were told this. We didn’t, the media didn’t, we know all about Sharron Angle, we know all about Miller in Alaska, we all know about Christine O’Donnell. But we don’t know anything about the president of the United States.

HH: A side question as a very distinguished historian, what is your assessment of how long Stanley’s contribution in Radical-In-Chief is going to last?

VDH: I think it’s different than the other books, because it is disinterested, and it’s scholarly and it’s well documented. And he doesn’t have an axe to grind. He’s just really interested, it’s an intellectual curiosity as how does a socialist become the president of the United States when we had this aggressive attack dog media. And it’s fascinating to read that there’s this paper trail where Barack Obama believes in the equality of result, a redistributed change. That’s fair, there’s a lot of people who do believe in that, and he happens to be one.

HH: Yeah, what’s amazing to me, though, is having read it, like you, sit down and absorb it all, I don’t think he can retriangulate, Victor Davis Hanson.

VDH: I don’t, either. I don’t think he’s going, I mean, I think he’s going to just sit there and hope the economy gets better and the Republicans take the heat for cutting. But I do not think he’s going to be like Bill Clinton at all. I agree. He’s a dyed in the wool European socialist.

HH: I agree with that. And the evidence is there, and it’s not intended to be one of these crazy books that goes after the President. It’s intended to make a case of the intellectual milieu out of which he emerged, and how it’s going to govern.VDH: That’s absolutely right. He’s absolutely right.

Of course, when VDH says I’m “disinterested,” he doesn’t mean I don’t care about politics or have no opinions about Obama. I don’t disguise the fact that I’m a critic of the president. Even so, it is possible to write, and I do write, in such a way as to, insofar as possible, let the facts speak for themselves. This allows others to dispute my way of presenting and interpreting those facts. No work of scholarship is completely neutral, but it is possible for writers of many points of view to achieve a kind of scholarly “disinterest” that allows for genuine debate and good faith disagreement from a variety of perspectives, and this is what I have striven for in Radical-in-Chief. Now here’s Hugh Hewitt interviewing Mark Steyn:

HH: Have you read Stanley Kurtz’ new book, Radical-In-Chief, yet?

MS: No, I haven’t, but I know, I’ve followed Stanley as he first got into this, when he ran into trouble in Chicago when he did what the rest of the media should have been doing, and this was applying the same scrutiny to the likely president as they applied to, say, Bristol Palin’s boyfriend’s mother. So I think Stanley, who as I understand it, has done a serious work of research.

HH: Absolutely.

MS: That serious work of research is really something that America’s joke media, the palace guard media, really ought to have done a couple of years earlier.


The Latest