Thursday, June 7, 2012

Only His Hairdresser Knows: Is Obama, or is he not, a Socialist?

This Stanley Kurtz story has been getting a lot of play, as he has dug up more documents establishing that Pres. Obama was a member of a socialist (or at pseudo-socialist) political organization back in his Chicago days. The kicker here is (1) his association with the "New Party"* began in 1996 - not exactly when he was young and foolish - and (2) the Obama's 2008 presidential campaign went to great lengths to deny any connection whatsoever, going as far as to organize a hostile mass call-in to a radio show Kurtz appeared on when he first reported this:
In late October 2008, when I wrote here at National Review Online that Obama had been a member of the New Party, his campaign sharply denied it, calling my claim a “crackpot smear.” Fight the Smears, an official Obama-campaign website, staunchly maintained that “Barack has been a member of only one political party, the Democratic Party.” I rebutted this, but the debate was never taken up by the mainstream press. 
Recently obtained evidence from the updated records of Illinois ACORN at the Wisconsin Historical Society now definitively establishes that Obama was a member of the New Party. He also signed a “contract” promising to publicly support and associate himself with the New Party while in office. 
Minutes of the meeting on January 11, 1996, of the New Party’s Chicago chapter read as follows:
Barack Obama, candidate for State Senate in the 13th Legislative District, gave a statement to the membership and answered questions. He signed the New Party “Candidate Contract” and requested an endorsement from the New Party. He also joined the New Party.
Consistent with this, a roster of the Chicago chapter of the New Party from early 1997 lists Obama as a member, with January 11, 1996, indicated as the date he joined.
Kurtz has done it again, and suggests that he has more information along these lines. I'm sure you'll hearing a lot of talk about "this was litigated in 2008" and "the story is just too complex to gain traction." Well, it's not too complex for the discerning and erudite readers of National Review, not to mention Free Will, so I guess we'll have to be alone in our knowledge. Still, the story's out there, and has been since 2008 (actually 1996 once you remind yourself that Obama was already a prominent Chicago pol so that his membership in the New Party was probably known to folks beyond the Internationale). 

Ultimately, the question isn't really whether Obama called himself a socialist; it's whether he holds socialist beliefs and has governed in a socialist manner. Back in2008, Obama could plausibly brush off claims that his radical ties were of recent vintage. There are no socialists in America! you can practically hear people sputter. Now? After 3+ years of Hope and Change turning to Conflict and Woe, not to mention the nationalization of banks, car manufacturers and the health care system? I think this could find some receptive ears somewhere. 

*gimme a break.

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