The panel discussion below recently took place at David Horowitz’s Restoration Weekend in West Palm Beach, Florida (Nov. 17-20, 2011). The transcript follows. To view the question and answer session, click here.
Karen Lugo: –And his discussion–the poll statistics that he was showing on both Sharia law and [Molly Norris] are dramatic and also have proved out in having public discussions as I go before city councils and newspaper editorial boards, county boards of supervisors, speaking in public on these issues, it is very difficult to make a segue into talking about Sharia law unless we can talk about things that matter to people and that demonstrate that the U.S. has already made concessions in these areas. I have just completed a survey of family law in America and the judges that have incorporated Sharia into family law decisions, Frank Gaffney in the back and Center for Security Policy have also done–they have done a fantastic report on the broader areas of law where our American courts have incorporated Sharia into the decisions. So I encourage you to take a look at that very useful information and good to know that people do care and are paying attention.
Okay, this panel, I’m going to challenge the audience now as we begin to be thinking. You actually will have some homework to do – Q&A – and we’re going to save some time for questions. Please work on ideas. You’re out there. You’re the activists. We know that we have an electorate that got us into the situation we’re in today, even though we knew or should have known who Barack Obama was. What do we do at this point? And we’ll be talking about the very difficult predicaments that we are in. But what do we do between now and the next election to alert voters to the situation and the fact that an additional Barack Obama term would be devastating.
So as we have the discussion here today, we have people that are qualified to provide the insight and the fact that these people are skilled and scholarly. They have documented what they’ll be saying, and you can see and write–read their opinion almost on a daily basis. I’m not going to go into where they’re all published because you’ll see them on commentary, Weekly Standard, National Review. So I’ll talk quickly about their professional credentials.
First of all, and I’ll be introducing them from your right. From my left to right, your right to left, and then they’ll come up sequentially and make their remarks. So as I introduce them, hold your applause and then we’ll have remarks and–so we can move quickly. First of all, Stanley Kurtz is a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a former Adjunct Fellow with Hudson Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from Harvard and did his field work in India. He taught at Harvard and the University of Chicago. He has won many awards and prizes as recognition for his astute analysis and insightful commentary. He is best known for his exhaustive and rigorously investigative expose into the life and ideology of Barack Obama. Radical in Chief, his book, reveals Obama’s Socialist convictions and tactical [restlessness] that has long been swept under the rug. To say that Kurtz has done the job that American journalists refuse to do is an understatement.
Ron Radosh – Ron is an Adjunct Fellow at the Hudson Institute and a columnist for PJ Media. A former history professor at the City University of New York, he is author or co-author of 15 books, including most recently A Safe Haven – Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel. This was co-authored with his wife, Alice. His memoir, Commies – a Journey through the Old Left, the New Left, and the Leftover Left, chronicles his political life and movement away from Socialism to Conservatism. Most recently, he and his wife wrote the cover story for the October issue of the Weekly Standard, entitled, “Time for Another Harding – How a Much Derided President Succeeded in Cutting the Budget and Fixing the Economy.” They are now writing a book about Warren Harding’s presidency.
And J. Christian Adams, whom I was privileged to give the [Annie Taylor] Award to last year, he is a five-year veteran, an attorney for the DOJ, working in the Civil Rights division. He specialized in election law and he resigned as we know over the New Black Panther voter intimidation scandal. Christian Adams revealed that the DOJ’s Civil Rights division has degenerated into a politicized fiefdom for far left militants where the enforcement of law depends upon the race of the victim. Consider the many lawyers whose main career experience wasn’t subverting laws will be those standing watch over America’s voting system during the 2012 presidential election.
Here’s what Andrew Breitbart had to say about Christian Adams’ book. “Injustice is a whistleblower’s explosive expose into the rancid world of Obama’s Justice Department. Adams shows how the institutional left has turned the power of the Justice Department into a weapon against the rule of law.”
Monica Crowley – Monica holds two Master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in International Affairs from Columbia University. She worked as a Foreign Policy Assistant to former President Richard Nixon from 1990 until his death. Her experiences with Nixon and her insight into his thinking and his career prompted her to write two bestselling books – Nixon Off the Record and Nixon on People and Politics. Crowley has been a guest on the major TV and cable news channels and we know from last night her extensive experience with radio. I thought it notable that on her website her favorite quote is one that is important for us to remember this weekend. As John Stuart Mill said, “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed, integrated state of moral and patriotic feeling, which thinks that nothing is worse than war, is actually far worse.”
So I commend to you all of our panelists this morning, and we’ll start with comments by Stanley Kurtz.
Stanley Kurtz: Okay. I’m going to be speaking today not just about Obama’s past or his leftist ideology, but about what steps we can actually take to bring these points home to the public. How can we persuade an American electorate still reluctant to hear it of the truth about Obama’s transformative and even radical agenda? That’s the point I’m going to be moving toward today.
Now, in a sense all of the information about Obama’s past that I laid out in Radical in Chief led up to argument about how Obama would conduct his presidency and what his reelection strategy would be. My argument was that Obama had been trying all along to jumpstart a populist anti-business movement of the left. That was the point of things like Obama’s attacks on fat cat bankers, his attacks on the Chamber of Commerce, and even his unprecedented attack in his State of the Union address on the Supreme Court’s campaign funding decision. All along, Obama has been trying to create a leftist movement of anti-business populous. And the reason for this is that Obama has been following a political strategy taught to him by his radical mentors in community organizing.
Many of the community organizers who trained Obama and sponsored his political rise were followers of Michael Harrington, the leader of the Democratic Socialists of America, and really the leading American Socialist thinker of his generation. And Michael Harrington was famous for what he called his party realignment strategy. You see, Harrington’s idea was that instead of presenting themselves as a separate party on the left, Socialists ought to work from within the Democratic Party. Since Americans would almost certainly reject a separate Socialist Party, if it was presented to them openly, Harrington decided that the better tact to take was to push the Democratic Party itself to the left, to make the Democratic Party slowly and by degrees into a kind of de facto Socialist Party.
So how exactly did Harrington and his followers plan to do that? Well, the idea was to jumpstart a populist anti-business movement of the left, thereby driving business interests out of the Democratic Party and into the Republican Party. Now that might sound slightly insane. Why would anyone want to drive someone out of their party, especially people with money? But the idea here was that a populist movement powerful and radical enough to drive business interests into the Republican Party would also bring plenty of newly energized members from the working class, from the poor, and from minorities into the Democratic Party and that would more than make up for the losses.
Not only that, but now the country would be polarized along class lines with all the haves in one party and all the have nots in the other. So Herrington’s idea here was that once America had been effectively polarized along class lines, the party of the have nots, the Democratic Party, would gradually drift toward a kind of de facto Socialism.
So what do we see when we look at the situation today? We see that Obama has finally succeeded in jumpstarting a populist anti-business movement of the left. It’s called Occupy Wall Street. And it was very arguably inspired in significant part by Obama’s attacks on Republicans for refusing to tax the wealthiest Americans in their corporate jets, and all the attacks I mentioned before and plenty more besides. And whether or not you agree that he inspired Occupy Wall Street, we know that Obama, the leadership of the democratic party, and even the mainstream media have all embraced this movement despite its apparent lawlessness and its openly radical desire to utterly transform and even abandon the capitalist system.
The New Republic here serves as the exception that proves the rule. Its editors immediately recognized the anti-capitalist nature of Occupy Wall Street and rightly condemned the movement as illiberal in an editorial. Yet virtually no one else on the left has followed even after the violence at Oakland. And even many of the New Republic’s own contributors have repudiated the magazine’s rejection of the protesters. So something very significant is going on here, something that helps to explain how a man as far to the left as Barack Obama could have gotten the Democratic Party nomination in the first place. Obviously, all of this provides Republicans with a potentially powerful teachable moment, a way of finally convincing the American people that President Obama, the Democratic Party, and the mainstream press have lost their compass and run off the rails.
It gives us a potential way of driving home the point that David Horowitz has been making for years – that large parts of the Democratic Party have stopped being true liberals and are actually leftists instead.
Unfortunately, it’s also quite possible that this opportunity will slip away. So far, Republican politicians have backed off of Occupy Wall Street, even though the issue presents a golden opportunity to define today’s Democratic Party in a way that is both true and highly advantageous to the GOP. Even now, there is something of a preference among conservative critics of Occupy Wall Street for pointing to incidents of violence, lawlessness, disrespect, lack of sanitation, et cetera, but without tying all of these important points to the movement’s ideology.
On the other hand, on the positive side, I’ve noticed lately that some of the conservative pundits most reluctant to point to Obama’s own radical history have been bolder than usual in attacking Occupy Wall Street. So this is a moment of testing for us. If the GOP can’t tell the truth about Occupy Wall Street and its Democratic allies, even in the face of disapproval from media and liberal elites, then they’ll never come close to telling the truth about Barack Obama himself.
Right now, we just don’t know how the GOP is going to handle this, whether they’ll have the guts to pin Occupy Wall Street on Obama and the Democrats, which of course, is exactly what they should do. I think things could go either way. For its part, Occupy Wall Street has intentionally tried to downplay its ideology partly to make piece among its various hard left factions, but even more so to help it attract a mass base of supporters, even as the hard left core retains control of the movement. Yet, Occupy Wall Street’s core activists are so far to the left that their desire to do away with the capitalist system entirely has been impossible to disguise, even if they haven’t advertised their Socialist or anarchist ideologies in detail.
Actually, I think this anti-capitalism gives us quite a lot to work with. It’s not absolutely necessary to prove to the public that Occupy Wall Street is explicitly Socialist. Exposing and highlighting the movement’s anti-capitalism would do nicely. The movement itself is remarkably open about this. After all, the march that led to much of the violence in Oakland was actually called the Anti-Capitalism March.
I think many conservatives who prefer to downplay Obama’s own radicalism have been a bit surprised by his evident turn to the left. Some Republicans put Obama’s left turn down to political desperation, as if he had no alternative. I think this underestimates Obama’s willingness to take calculated risks in the service of creating a new class-based majority of the left.
So if we want to make sure that Obama stays a one-term president, a big part of the answer is drawing out the implications of the Democratic establishment’s support for Occupy Wall Street. That might work even without bringing up Obama’s own radical past. More likely, however, once the public fully grasps the nature of Occupy Wall Street they will spontaneously make the connection to the truth about Obama’s own past, a truth that until now has seemed to some too irrelevant or too impolite to mention, while in reality, of course, the truth of Obama’s radicalism continues to play out before our eyes every day.
Ron Radosh: Thank you very much. I’m very glad to be–honored to be speaking at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Let me preface it with something about my background because it bears on what I’m going to say. I’m probably the one person in this whole conference who knows David Horowitz the longest, because when I was in the ninth grade and a Young Communist, David Horowitz came to my Young Communist meeting–he lived in Queens, I lived in Manhattan–to recruit people to write for the Youth Edition of the Communist publication, The Daily Worker, of which he was the Youth Editor. I was the only one he recruited to write for them. In fact, my first published article, I’m sad to say, was in the The Daily Worker, but I didn’t sign my name to it because they told me it would hurt my future, so I left my name off.
But thank you, David, you gave me my first published writing. I’ve known David since the ninth grade. We go way, way back. And like him, I’ve moved in the same direction for much of the same reasons. And this is related to what I’m going to say about understanding what Barack Obama is, where he comes from, and what we have to do to defeat him. Two weeks ago in the National Review, there was a wonderful issue with formerly Marxist historian, Eugene D. Genovese, one of America’s great historians, in which Genovese commented when they asked him about Obama, he said, Obama is redder than most people believe, even the people in a conservative movement who believe he’s very red. And this gets to Stanley’s book, which I in fact reviewed for National Review and I think may have been the only review the book had anywhere. Very interesting that this important critical book was totally ignored by the mainstream media–in fact, much of the conservative media, too–because they couldn’t deal with it. It was so well researched and so important and definitive that they couldn’t touch it. So they followed the second rule – don’t attack it like they do many conservative books that are just opinion, just–the second thing they do is just ignore it so no one will know about it. They don’t care if conservatives bought it because conservatives were already against Obama. They didn’t want anyone else to know what he had in that book.
And that gets to Obama where he is. And I think, as Stanley said, and I agree with him, that Obama comes from a Communist milieu background, that he combined with cutthroat Chicago politics and support of a black nationalist base, bringing the three elements together as a winning ticket to political power in Chicago. And one thing he followed and managed to keep going all through that period is the rough, cutthroat Chicago political tactics, masterminded by people like David Axelrod, who also came from a very leftwing background.
So here’s the thing about Obama – the question most people ask–and when I try to go through what Obama’s background is–and like Stanley, I believe Obama does have a desire as he said in that critical thing I think we saw in one of the videos yesterday where Obama said, we are minutes away from a fundamental transformation of America. And you’ll remember as well Michelle Obama’s comment about how we have to change our history. They couldn’t help but acknowledge and allude to their very radical beliefs during that campaign, but they try to minimize them.
The question most people ask me, if that’s true, how come so much of Wall Street poured their money into Obama in the years he was President and into his campaign? Why would Wall Street and big money and corporate money go to the Democratic Party and to Obama if he is someone who wanted some kind of Socialist transformation of America along the lines, as Stanley said, spelled out by Michael Harrington?
I wrote a column last week for PJ Media in which I called the Obamas [for] populism. It’s very hard for Obama to hold the OWS populous mantel when you can point out with all the specifics the details of how much corporate money went into the Democratic Party coffers. Well, there are two answers to that – one is Lenin’s old adage that when you give the capitalists rope with which they’ll hang–we’ll sell them the rope with which they’ll hang themselves–or with which we’ll hang them come the time. That’s one thing. The second thing is that why I prefer to call Obama not a Socialist or a Marxist, but a Leninist, Leninist not in terms of Lenin’s politic ideology, but in terms of Lenin’s tactics. Lenin is referring to a strategy employed by the Communists as outlined by Lenin in his early writings.
What Lenin said–and the new economic policy endorsed by the Bolsheviks in the 1920s is an example of this–is take a few steps backwards in order to move forward later in the future when the time is ripe. Obama–when Lenin instituted this so-called capitalist period, everyone said, see, at the time, if you go back to read what people said in the 1920s, the Bolsheviks are moderating. They’re adopting capitalism. They’re not so bad. They’re moving back from this wartime collectivism. That was just a strategy. It was a strategy so they could move forward full-fledged towards real Communism when they had stabilized their power. That’s what Lenin has to do. And it’s very easy–following that strategy, what Obama did is backtrack, try and appear to be moderate, try and not to–to not appear to publicly say what he really wanted once he’s in office, to appear to be some kind of a moderate and not a threat to corporate money.
And in fact, he did make deals, as he did with the drug companies, and he did get some big firms, particularly to go through his plan for socialized medicine by giving them some of what they want to gather their support causing, as you’ll recall, some of the left to say that he has betrayed us. He came out–from their perspective he didn’t go for the single payer system in real socialized medicine from the start. He adopted a more moderate program. As he himself admitted in some of his early speeches, this was just a starting point. Once we get there we can move forward to the single payer system later, because nothing else will work and we’ll get there by stealth. These are classic Leninist tactics which Obama clearly learned when he was in his youth. And that’s why in his background it’s very important to understand how he operates.
So I think we have to do two things- we have to clearly expose where Obama came from, expose how he operates, and try and educate the public about him and be very firm and very definitive. And one final comment about Occupy Wall Street. This goes back to another point Stanley made. What the movement says as they allude to FDR in 1936 as they [see things], FDR–and I think Dick Morris said that last night–FDR did not move into the so-called Second New Deal till 1936 when you had all his more far reaching reforms based on the power of the unions and the CIO and their organizing campaign. They see OWS as the equivalent of the base that gave Roosevelt his so-called push to the left in 1936. They are consciously following that strategy.
They see Occupy Wall Street as their equivalent of a leftwing people’s movement that will force Obama to the left. And what we have to explain to regular everyday people is that if he gets a second term and he doesn’t face reelection, this is what he’s going to do. He’s going to go to the equivalent of his Bolshevik central committee, which is the Center for the American Progress and the Institute for Policy Studies, both of which has issued papers advising Obama how to rule by edict rather than through Congress. He is going to go to them, use their plans, and try and push America far to the left in his second term when he has nothing to worry about. And that will–and I agree with Pat Caddell, create an America not like anything we have grown up in.
We have to prevent that. And by exposing and informing the public about what Obama was, where he came from, and what his strategy is, we can help prevent him from getting that second term.
J. Christian Adams: Good morning. It’s great to be here, great to back. Last year was a real treat and this one is too. It is also very good to be following Stanley Kurtz. Thankfully, he went ahead of me because in some ways my book, Injustice, is a sequel to his book, Radical in Chief. Stanley told you where Obama and his gang came from and Injustice sort of tells you what they’re up to now that they got there, about the radical policies that are actually being implemented inside your government by these folks. The topic before us is what–is Obamism.
And it’s pretty easy–most people have figured it out by now–that it’s a proxy for a form of radicalism that we’ve heard Stanley and Ron talk about. But I think it’s also something even worse in a way. I’m reminded about when I was researching the book I got a tip that said if you go down to Selma, Alabama, you will find buried in an archive some photographs and video of candidate Obama marching with Malik Zulu Shaba, the President of the New Black Panther Party, who is a radical anti-Semite. He’s a complete nut. He’s also an attorney. They aren’t mutually exclusive.
And they said–I got a tip that said you’ll find video of Obama and Shabaz sharing a podium at this event in March of 2007 in Selma when Obama was trying to get his credibility up as an authentically black candidate. And so, I went down to Selma and sure enough I found the photographs and they’re in the book. But I found something else, and I think in some ways the something else is more powerful than the pictures of Obama and Shabaz together. And these archives were at the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma. It’s the nation’s premier voting rights museum. It is viewed as credible by anybody from the center to the left.
And it has a timeline of the United States–and I actually have this photograph in the book, but I’ll try to describe it to you. And it has the picture of the iconic painting of John Trumbull’s signing of the Declaration of Independence with Jefferson and Franklin all standing around and they’re signing it. And the caption underneath this painting really says everything you need to know about this crowd. It says, “1776, the Declaration of Independence signed by wealthy white men.” These aren’t just radicals. These are destroyers. They are out to destroy things that we hold sacred, for example, the Declaration of Independence, the reviews about that event.
So I want to kind of dial something back though because most people assume this radicalism I think is centered high up in the administration, the David Axelrods, Barack Obama, the political folks. But what I’m here to tell you and what I write about in the book is the enormous synergy between these radicals that would have household names and the radicals that I used to work with at the Justice Department that you’ve never heard of. Okay? These are the folks that do the dirty work, the heavy lifting, that implement the ideological marching orders. And without this synergy between the folks you all heard about and my former co-workers, the radicalism will not work. But there is an enormous synergy between these two.
And the radicals have been waiting–there’s really two types of government workers. The first type are the radicals who have been waiting a long time for this very moment. It’s finally happened. We have a crackpot at the top. Okay? Bill Clinton–I like to say, give me back Bill Clinton. This is not Bill Clinton. But there’s a second type and this is the more dangerous type. These are not the radical government employees, but they’re the ones who have tendencies in the direction of big government. So these two factions in the Justice Department in particular join together and there is nobody standing in the [bridge]. The political people, the radical civil servants, and the pro-government tendency folks are all in lockstep and there is hardly anybody left. Now, why do I talk about justice all the time, about the DOJ?
People need to understand the DOJ is like the auger in the petri dish. It is the most important federal agency to spread radical ideology. If you infect the DOJ, it spreads throughout the federal government because the DOJ sets policy throughout the federal government. Miranda warnings for battlefield detainees, DOJ. Termination of enhanced interrogation, DOJ. But endangered species enforcement – what do you do with grizzly bears who attack farmers and the farmer shoots them? DOJ. Prosecuting someone in Idaho for this. But I saw firsthand also how it deals with election and race. And race is something that I’m not–it’s not the topic of my talk but it can’t be overlooked. Shelby Steele has written about this extensively. But it’s the topic of my book. It’s not just class that is the focus of these destroyers, it’s also race, because they use that like gasoline on a fire. And I write about this in the book and I won’t get into it.
But let me share some of the–one of the radical things that’s happening under the radar that most people don’t realize. The DOJ is implementing this radical policy. For example, I talk about the transvestites in schools. In Mohawk United School District in New York, a 15-year-old boy decided to come to school dressed like a transvestite – stiletto heels, he wore a miniskirt, he wore a pink wig. Now, in the old days, like five years ago, this wouldn’t last very long. And in fact, the school district said you can’t come to school dressed like this. But to the radicals of the Justice Department this was a federal cause of action. And the radicals of the civil rights division where I used to work sued the school district. This is true. It’s in the book. It’s Mohawk United School District because they would not let this student dress like a transvestite, a 15-year-old boy. And the theory of the case was that he was just exploring his gender identity. He had gender identity issues and the Federal Civil Rights laws against discrimination against women in the workplace should also extend to 15-year-old boys who think they’re girls.
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