Stanley Kurtz continues his efforts to be proclaimed an Enemy of the State in a prospective Barack Obama presidency with his essay today on Chicago’s New Party. While the Tanning Bed Media continues to report on Joe the Plumber’s driving record, only a handful of journalists appear interested in the record of an actual politician. Kurtz discovers that Obama’s affiliation with the New Party brought him into alliance with hard-Left progressives, Socialists, and into a partnership with ACORN:
During his first campaign for the Illinois state senate in 1995-96, Barack Obama was a member of, and was endorsed by, the far-left New Party. Obama’s New Party ties give the lie to his claim to be a post-partisan, post-ideological pragmatist. Particularly in Chicago, the New Party functioned as the electoral arm of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). So despite repeated attempts to distance himself from ACORN, Obama’s New Party ties raise disturbing questions about his links to those proudly militant leftists. The media’s near-total silence on this critical element of Obama’s past is deeply irresponsible.
Stanley, Stanley, Stanley … stop being such a racist. Don’t you know that the media has more important tasks than to inform the electorate about the candidates for the Presidency? I hear Joe Wurzelbacher may have belonged to something called the Natural Law Party over twenty years ago. That’s obviously much more important than Obama’s political record!
In any case, the New Party was clearly far to the left of mainstream Democrats, and according to Sifry, the party explicitly thought of itself as made up of committed “progressives,” rather than conventional “liberals.” That is entirely consistent with a famous 1995 profile of Obama by Hank De Zutter, which portrays him as closely tied to ACORN, and holding a world-view well “beyond” his mother’s conventional liberalism.
To get a sense of where the New Party stood politically, consider some of its early supporters: Barbara Dudley of Greenpeace, Steve Cobble political director of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coaltion, and prominent academics like Frances Fox Piven coauthor of the “Cloward-Piven strategy” and a leader of the drive for the “motor-voter” legislation Obama later defended in court on behalf of ACORN, economist Juliet Schor, black historian, Manning Marable, historian Howard Zinn, linguist Noam Chomsky, Todd Gitlin, and writers like Gloria Steinem, and Barbara Ehrenreich. Socialist? Readers can draw their own conclusions. At one point, Sifry does describe the party’s goals as “social democratic.” In any case, the New Party clearly stands substantially to the left of the mainstream Democratic party.
Come on, Stanley. Try to keep up. Joe the Plumber isn’t licensed in Ohio! Do you know what that means? Unless the government officially declares you a plumber, you can’t be one. Why aren’t you joining the masses of your colleagues in exposing Joe as a fraud?
Unquestionably, ACORN was one of the most important forces behind the creation of the New Party. According to Sifry: “Wade Rathke, ACORN’s lead national organizer, was in on the founding discussions that led to the New Party, and the group’s political director, Zach Polett, also came to play a big role in guiding New Party field organizing for the party [in Chicago and Little Rock].” In fact, Sifry portrays ACORN’s leading role in the New Party as the result of a conscious decision by the organization to move into electoral politics in a more substantial way than they had been able to solely through their political action committee. In addition to Rathke and Polett, a key early supporter of the New Party was Obama’s closest ACORN contact, Madeline Talbott.
Psst, Stanley. Did you know that Joe’s real first name is Samuel? He’s not even a real Joe. Well, except for his middle name, which he’s used consistently, but that’s not the point.
Obviously, Stanley Kurtz is not satisfied with membership in the Tanning Bed Media — and thank goodness. Kurtz takes a measured approach in this essay, refraining from labeling the New Party as Socialist. As Kurtz points out, it included socialists, but also many more people from the Left. It gave socialists and redistributionists their best opportunity to enter mainstream politics by influencing the direction of the Democrats in Chicago, and one of their stars in this effort was Barack Obama.
Tellingly, Kurtz’ best source for the New Party and its ties to ACORN is Micah Sifry. The progressive writer first committed the history of the New Party in his book Spoiling for a Fight, written in 2002 detailing the history of independent parties in the US. Using this history, Kurtz can easily draw the lines of alliance between Obama, ACORN, and the radicals and redistributionists who sought to pull the Democrats harder to the Left in Chicago — and who succeeded with Obama.
Why haven’t the national media done the same research? They’re too busy reporting on tanning beds and Joe the Plumber’s divorce records to spend any time vetting an actual presidential candidate.