December 24, 2009
by Ronald Radosh
Victor Davis Hanson, in his PJM blog today, perfectly delineates where Obama and company come from. But I think Hanson misses one clear link that had been identified during the campaign, but generally ignored. This is Obama’s clear ties to the socialist movement, particularly the cadre of both the so-called Committees of Correspondence, a breakaway split from the Communist Party U.S.A. that still adheres to Marxist-Leninist thinking, and the Democratic Socialists of America, the group started by the late Michael Harrington.
The information is featured today in a left-wing blog on the 1960’s, that provides evidence from Carl Davidson, once a leader of Students for a Democratic Society, and author of an old book that provided a far left perspective for social change. The blog by Aaron Klein offers new information about Obama’s obtaining the support of the New Party during his State Senate campaign in 1996. That political party was created from both the COC and DSA, and had links to ACORN as well. It was founded by a University of Wisconsin socialist activist, Joel Rogers. Details about him may be found here.
Obama’s campaign last year denied the then presidential candidate was
ever an actual member of the New Party.
But the New Zeal blog dug up print copies of the New Party News, the
party’s official newspaper, which show Obama posing with New Party
leaders, listing him as a New Party member and printing quotes from
him as a member.
The party’s spring 1996 newspaper boasted: “New Party members won
three other primaries this Spring in Chicago: Barack Obama (State
Senate), Michael Chandler (Democratic Party Committee) and Patricia
Martin (Cook County Judiciary).”
The paper quoted Obama saying, “These victories prove that small-’d’
democracy can work.”
Klein then continues to bring forth new information he gathered from the DSA Chicago newsletter, which revealed that on April 11, 1996, Obama attended a New Party meeting. At that event, Obama expressed his gratitude for the group’s support and “encouraged (New Party members) to join in his task forces on voter education and voter registration.” It continues to quote an e-mail from Carl Davidson, who revealed the following:
“A subcommittee met with (Obama) to interview him to see if his stand
on the living wage and similar reforms was the same as ours,”
recalled Marxist activist Carl Davidson.
“We determined that our views on these overlapped, and we could
endorse his campaign in the Democratic Party,” Davidson said.
Davidson was a Chicago member and activist within the New Party. He
told WND he handled some of the New Party member databases and
attended most of the party’s meetings.
But Obama was a shrewd politician. He was able to bypass New Party rules, which required any candidate seeking their endorsement to formally join the organization. Davidson recalls that they decided “there was no need for him to do so…since the stand of his campaign and the New Party reform planks were practically the same.” Their program included traditional redistributive socialist goals: “full employment, a shorter work week and a guaranteed minimum income for all adults; a universal ’social wage’ to include such basic benefits as health care, child care, vacation time and lifelong access to education and training; a systematic phase-in of comparable worth and like programs to ensure gender equity.”
All of the above are a representative amalgam of pie-in-the-sky socialist economic programs that would ignore completely how a modern economy works, and that would quickly bankrupt the nation and destroy the creation of jobs and the ability of business to function.
It also had been revealed during the campaign- by Newsweek no less- that Obama had gone during the 1980’s to the annual Socialist Scholars Conference at Cooper Union in New York City. The Conference, which took a name from a group created much earlier by genuine socialist scholars (of which I was originally a part) was transformed into an activist socialist get-together from virtually every existing socialist sect in America, and which held panels on scores of political topics.
So we know that Barack Obama came not only from the world of rough and tumble Chicago politics, which Fred Siegel has written about both for The Weekly Standard and National Review many times during the campaign, but also from the world of radical black nationalism exemplified by Rev. Jeremiah Wright and the church he ran and which Obama attended regularly.
This past, I think, explains Obama’s propensity to keep appointing rather low-level officials who can operate under the radar, who come from a similar radical or left-wing past. The latest appointment, perhaps not as low level, is that of Hannah Rosenthal, who started her new job last week in the State Department as the special envoy to monitor and report on anti-Semitism. With the growth of anti-Semitism in countries like Britain and France, the job sounds important and necessary. But what was Ms. Rosenthal’s first salvo aimed at?
As an article in Haaretz reports, her first statement, issued in Israel, was a public blast at Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, for criticizing J-Street and refusing to attend its convention. This is an unprecedented act, since she made her views known on an official trip to Israel on behalf of the administration, and may be the first time an American official has attacked the personal views of an Ambassador to the US from an American ally. Rosenthal’s position is meant to stand up to anti-Semitism; yet, her first headlines have resulted instead from a defense of J-Street, the unrepresentative American Jewish left-wing group that purports to speak on behalf of the mainstream American Jewish community.
The article goes on to report that Rosenthal served on the Board of J-Street before her appointment, and previous to that, was on the Board of Americans for Peace Now, another would-be pro-Israeli group that was highly critical of Israel’s policies and was on the left-wing of the political spectrum. Rosenthal, it notes, first met Obama in Chicago when he was a state Senator.
What the article does not go on to note,(as Aaron Klein points out on his blog) however, is that Rosenthal’s husband, Richard Phelps, was a three-term Madison, Wisconsin executive who worked closely with Joel Rogers, one of the founders of The New Party. Clearly, she met Obama in 1996 when he was gaining the support of The New Party for his campaign.
So once again- as with the appointment of Van Jones- Obama has put in a major position of influence a person from the left-wing of the political spectrum, who as an official whose office monitors anti-Semitism, is using her position to support J-Street, on whose Board she previously sat. Conflict of interest, anyone? Are the statements she gave to Haaretz, uttered in her official capacity, likely to help or harm the ability of Israel to defend itself against its enemies, or once again work instead to cast doubt among Israelis about the view of Israel really held by the Obama administration?
Ms. Rosenthal notes, parenthetically, that criticism of her appointment comes “from a very few people who blog a lot.” Add this blogger to that list!
Ronald Radosh is an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute; Prof. Emeritus of History at the City University of New York, and the author of many books, including "The Rosenberg File;" "Divided They Fell: The Demise of the Democratic Party, 1964-1996," and most recently, "Commies: A Journey Through the Old Left, the New Left and the Leftover Left."
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