Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism, by Stanley Kurtz (Threshold, 496 pp., $27)
The charge by some conservatives that President Obama was and indeed still is a socialist has been met with disbelief or brushed aside as irrelevant by our liberal elites, most consequentially by the media. They have assigned it to the land of the “wing-nuts.” Even the conservative writer Andrew Ferguson could not resist throwing in a gratuitous remark about Stanley Kurtz’s new book, Radical-in-Chief, in a recent issue of The Weekly Standard, arguing that “there is, indeed, a name for the beliefs that motivate President Obama, but it’s not . . . even socialism. It’s liberalism!” For Ferguson, “unchecked liberalism . . . is worrisome enough.”
I have to admit that before reading and evaluating the mountain of evidence Kurtz presents in his book, I too was skeptical of the charge, regarding it as a somewhat overheated smear word that Obama’s opponents liked to throw out in the heat of political debate. It held no more water with me than did the epithets of “fascist,” “Nazi,” and “un-American” hurled at Obama by his angriest enemies. But Kurtz’s book leads me to the inescapable conclusion that indeed Barack Obama started out his adult life as a socialist, functioned within socialism’s orbit for decades, owes much of his political rise to the socialist community, and has never repudiated the ideology he adopted so long ago.