Not So Out There, After All

Ron Radosh says that he began reading Stanley Kurtz’s book, Radical-in-Chief, “skeptical of the charge” that President Obama is a socialist, but the book changed his mind:

As the years went by, and Barack Obama moved from community organizing to Harvard Law and then back to Chicago, Kurtz shows that one thing remained constant: Obama continued to move in the same socialist circles that he had first come across at the SSC at Cooper Union. It was there that he probably heard a young Cornel West talk at a panel on race and class in Marxism, and was introduced to the father of Black Liberation theology, James Cone, the mentor to a minister named Rev. Jeremiah Wright. It was also at the SSC that he most likely came across a leader of Michael Harrington’s Democratic Socialists of America, the Yugoslav-born Bogdan Denitch, who wrote an essay on the importance of Harold Washington’s mayoral campaign in Chicago, in uniting the black and white Left in a new class politics that would produce victory and socialist momentum.
These ideas and theories motivated Obama and helped him choose his own career path — that of community organizing as the way to lead a coalition of blacks, whites, and Hispanics to create a socialist “redefinition” of America, with one caveat: The concept and advocacy of socialism as the final goal would consciously be hidden from sight. As Kurtz reveals, the socialist theorists openly talked about what they called “stealth socialism” or “incremental radicalism,” small steps that move the nation forward until the ultimate goal of a socialist transformation is obtained. One moves apparently without an ideological plan, but working for measures that will end with an irreversible move to a statist economy based on public control through groups run by labor and community organizations. As Kurtz writes: “Obama’s college socialism, the influence of socialist conferences on his career, his choice of a profession dominated by socialists, and his extensive alliances with the most influential stealth-socialist community organizers in the country give the game away. Obama has adopted the gradualist socialist strategy of his mentors. . . . Eventually, this will transform American capitalism into something resembling a socialist-inspired Scandinavian welfare state.”

Plenty of us saw through the facade before America’s Great Mistake of 2008, but as Radosh points out, many of “Obama’s inexplicable actions” — disregarding all messages from the public regarding ObamaCare notable among them — make sense within this construct.
No doubt, many who take up the “stealth socialism” program do so unconsciously, merely being duped by the rhetoric that its advocates deploy. As the media fawners were quick to proclaim during his campaign for office, Barack Obama is too smart for that to be the case, for him.

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12 years ago

Sure, red baiting is fun, but do you guys actually believe these stuff? So our “socialist” President has an economic team comprised of Goldman Sachs execs? It’s as if you’re from another planet or something.
Certainly your grasp of the healthcare reform bill verges on the fantastical. Here’s how actual socialists view the bill:

In anticipation of a health care overhaul, an army of lobbyists set up base camp inside the Beltway and immediately unleashed shock and awe amounts of cash on members of Congress. The health care industry has more than 3,000 lobbyists, six lobbyists for every member of Congress. More than 500 are well-connected, former congressional staff members. They spent over $400 million on lobbying, advertising, and campaign contributions. Liz Fowler, a former Wellpoint executive, is Senator Max Baucus’s chief health care adviser. She wrote most of the Senate bill that formed the basis of the law Obama signed.
In fact, the bill is almost identical to a plan written in 2009 by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). From the beginning, Congress worked closely with Karen Ignagni, the CEO of AHIP and President Obama held private meetings with Billy Tauzin, the former CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), to cut deals.

12 years ago

This review was written for the Hudson Institute. It’s founder was an interesting person. From SourceWatch:
Herman Kahn (1922 – 1983) was founder of the Hudson Institute.
He began his career in the late 1940s as a physicist and mathematician at the RAND Corporation.
His co-directorship of the Strategic Air Force Project at Rand inspired him to write On Thermonuclear War, which advocated the view that such a war might be winnable. His influence helped to feed the then accelerating arms race. Kahn’s extreme views made him the inspiration for Stanley Kubrick’s movie character, Doctor Strangelove.
In 1961 Kahn resigned the Rand Corporation and set up the Hudson Institute, in order to capitalise on his burgeoning reputation as a futurologist.
In general, Kahn believed that science is necessarily and inherently progressive, and that political interventions for the benefit of the environment are based on an irrational fear of science. He was strongly opposed to the precautionary principle and felt that global warming is a “normal oscillation”, that deforestation was greatly exaggerated, and that acid rain is a minor problem [1]. His recommendations included the idea of excavating the Amazon using nuclear explosions.
Some of his predictions (such as mobile phones) were proved correct, but many were wrong. Kahn forecast that by 2000, Americans would work an average of 1,100 hours a year, roughly 20 hours a week. In reality, the actual work rate by 1993 rose to 1,905 hours for men and 1,526 hours for women — up by 100 and 233 hours, respectively, from 1976.
More predictions for the year 2000 included underwater colonies, machines “slaved” to humans, human hibernation for months at a time and programmed dreams. For those who woke up, artificial moons would illumine the night.
I’m wondering what he thought of precious bodily fluids.

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