Obama and Obamism

Shortly before the 2008 election Barack Obama proclaimed: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” What did he mean by that?

Last year we posted Stanley Kurtz’s speech to David Horowitz’s Wednesday Morning Club in Los Angeles. In his remarks Kurtz gives an overview of the results of his research for Radical-in-Chief: The Untold Story of American Socialism. It is the most effective presentation of Kurtz’s views that I have seen. It remains both timely and worth your time. It is probably the most popular video of its kind that we have posted on this site.

At his blog, Horowitz wrote about Kurtz’s book: “This indispensable work contains a wealth of previously unpublished research and tells the hitherto missing story of the activists who supported America’s Communist enemies in the Sixties and attempted to ‘bring the war home’ through violence in the streets, and who learned through their defeats to pursue the same destructive agendas through stealth and infiltration, and have emerged behind Obama as the dominant force in the Democratic Party.” The “activists” to whom David referred are Obama’s friends and mentors.

Kurtz is a scholar who holds a Ph.D. in social anthropology and a fellowship at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC. He is a serious man. If a comparable man of the left had spent a couple of years in the archives to produce a substantial book disclosing the fascist roots and beliefs of George W. Bush, the New York Times would have run a page-one story publicizing the author’s findings. The New York Times Book Review would have assigned the book to Paul Krugman for review and run the review on page one to promote the book. Krugman and Maureen Dowd would have devoted op-ed columns to the book’s explosive revelations of a president’s discreetly concealed past. The New York Times Style section would have profiled the author, explaining how this retiring academic type was handling his newfound fame. The man would be a celebrity.

The Times being what it is, of course, it kept news of the book and of the author a deep secret from its readers. He remains a scholar of conservative bent who is probably best known to faithful readers of NRO. The Times and other prominent organs of the left have simply ignored Kurtz and his book. The Kurtz New York Times readers are most likely to read about is, of course, not Stanley but Swoosie.

At his Restoration Weekend in West Palm Beach this past November, Horowitz presented a panel on “Obama and Obamism” featuring Kurtz as the lead speaker. (Shouldn’t that be Obamunism?) The panel included historian Ronald Radosh, former Department of Justice attorney Christian Adams, and Monica Crowley. The text of the panel’s remarks is posted here. It provides a fitting update on Kurtz’s Wednesday Morning Club presentation.

NOTE: In his remarks Ron Radosh observes that his review of Kurtz’s book in National Review was the only review of the book to be published in any substantial newspaper or magazine. He refers to his PJ Media column on “Obama’s faux populism.” Christian Adams cites his recently published Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department.

Our own Paul Mirengoff provided his take on Kurtz’a book in “Is Barack Obama a socialist? Part one” and “Is Barack Obama a socialist? Part two.” (Paul still owes us part three of that series.) We drew attention to Katherine Kersten’s Star Tribune column on Kurtz’s book, which remains available online. And we also posted Peter Robinson’s interview of Kurtz for Uncommon Knowledge here.

UPDATE: I should add that the Claremont Review of Books has had two pieces that bear on Kurtz’s book. Ramesh Ponnuru reviewed it skeptically in “Explaining Obama,” and Angelo Codevilla included Kurtz’s book in his provocative review/essay “The chosen one.”

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