Berkeley on the Potomac?

My cousin’s guest post about the radicalism of Bill de Blasio, New York City’s new mayor, made me wonder whether de Blasio is appreciably more radical than President Obama. I don’t believe he is.

In 1990, de Blasio, having been inspired by the Sandinistas, stated that his goal was to bring Democratic Socialism to the United States. Stanley Kurtz has demonstrated that this almost certainly was Obama’s goal at that time and beyond. He has also shown that some of Obama’s closest political associates in the 1990s make de Blasio look almost moderate by comparison.

In 1996, when Obama went into electoral politics as a candidate for the Illinois state Senate, he did so as the hand-picked successor to Alice Palmer, an avowed socialist. (Palmer, however, decided to fight Obama for the seat after she lost a special election for Congress; Obama kept her off the ballot by successfully challenging her petition signatures). Palmer is the author of such articles as “Socialism Is the Only Way Forward.” And she attended the Twenty-seventh Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1986.

Palmer would not have hand-picked Obama if she did not have good reason to believe that he shared her socialistic vision.

In 2000, when Obama ran for Congress against the prominent leftist incumbent Bobby Rush, the Democratic Socialists of America, though not endorsing either candidate, spoke of Obama in glowing terms while describing Rush as a disappointment to the left.

The Democratic Socialists of America would not have praised Obama if it did not have good reason to believe that he shared its socialistic vision.

Obama served in the U.S. Senate from 2005-2008. As Kurtz notes, one prominent index rated him the most liberal member of the Senate during that period — more liberal than even Bernie Sanders, an avowed socialist.

Would Bill de Blasio have compiled a more leftist Senate voting record than Barack Obama did? It’s difficult to see how.

Obama is more cautious than de Blasio. For example, he and Michelle did not honeymoon in Cuba, as de Blasio and his wife did. But then de Blasio probably never dreamed of running for President.

Obama’s presidency reflects his caution, but also his radicalism. Obamacare has been exposed as redistributionist at root, though Obama favored the more radical single payer system that he called for as a State Senator.

As Kurtz has shown, the Obama administration has quietly been promoting a form of “regionalism” the intent of which is to take resources from affluent suburbs and distribute them to the inner city and inner-ring suburbs.

Finally, Obama has tilted American foreign policy in favor of the likes of Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and now Iran. They are among America’s most virulent enemies and, in that sense, can be viewed as the modern-day counterparts of the Sandinistas with whom de Blasio so strongly sympathized.

If there is any space between the ideologies of Barack Obama and Bill de Blasio, that space is probably small. And to me, it is not entirely certain which of the two politicians, deep down, is further to the left.


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