Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Closing Argument on Obama’s Radicalism

Stanley Kurtz sums up well the primary case against Obama:

Obama is clever and pragmatic, it’s true. But his pragmatism is deployed on behalf of radical goals. Obama’s heart is, and will remain, with the Far Left. Yet he will surely be cautious about grasping for more, at any given moment, than the political traffic will bear. That should not be mistaken for genuine moderation. It will merely be the beginning stages of a habitually incremental radicalism. In his heart and soul, Barack Obama was and remains a radical-stealthy, organizationally sophisticated, and — when necessary — tactically ruthless. The real Obama — the man beyond the feel-good symbol — is no mystery. He’s there for anyone willing to look. Sad to say, few are.

I would add that Obama seeks a return to the revolutionary meaning of the Declaration of Independence. This is not--especially not--Harry Jaffa’s Lincoln’s Declaration or some sentimental historical document. Obama’s revolutionary Declaration is an imperative of audacious hope; this lies behind Reverend Wright’s thunderous sermons, this inspires terrorist Bill Ayers, this moves minorities in Chicago; this fuels Barack Obama’s soul. His Audacity of Hope is a brilliant example of how to argue as a radical while appearing to be a moderate. Charles Kesler has opened this window on Obama’s soul.

Any post-mortems on the election, whatever its result, must indict leading Republican politicians for failure to have read and understood Obama’s books. It is a sign of the intellectual corruption that infects Republican politics.

As in all watershed elections, the interpretation of the Declaration of Independence will play the central role, as it did in 1800, 1860, 1932, and (to a lesser extent) 1980. The true Republican Party reform begins by its rearticulating the meaning of the Declaration of Independence for the 21st century. That interpretation must not lack in audacity or hope, not to speak of defenses of the rule of law and natural rights.

Discussions - 2 Comments

He’s there for anyone willing to look. Sad to say, few are.

Yeah. Colin Powell and Warren Buffet are clearly blind to his crazed radicalism. Stanley Kurtz . . . now there's a guy who clearly must know Obama better than them.

I hope that Obama's radical leftism is true, but I really don't think it is. He'll get in there and, I think, be a massive disappointment to those on the far left (and maybe even those who are just barely left depending on what he does).

Mr. Thomas - I think your apocalyptic doomsday preaching is a sign of election fatigue (and too much fair and balanced FOX News). But, in all honesty, here's hoping you're right.

Powell et al. think they can moderate him, assuming they're paying close attention. Kurtz and I base our analysis on reading Obama's words and taking him seriously as a thinker. Kurtz does the additional work of serious digging into his associations and past, which he doesn't discuss in his books. Add the two together and one gets some serious radicalism, which he has never repudiated, just as he has never repudiated Rev. Wright. How much of it he'll show is anyone's guess, but Obama didn't run for President in order to be the black Bill Clinton.

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