In the New York Times, famed film director Milos Forman took some of President Obama’s critics to task for calling him a socialist:
Now, years later, I hear the word “socialist” being tossed around by the likes of Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and others. President Obama, they warn, is a socialist. The critics cry, “Obamacare is socialism!” They falsely equate Western European-style socialism, and its government provision of social insurance and health care, with Marxist-Leninist totalitarianism. It offends me, and cheapens the experience of millions who lived, and continue to live, under brutal forms of socialism.
I like Milos Foreman. I believe Amadeus was one of the best films from the 1980’s and is one of my all-time favourites. As a refugee from communist who remembers his roots (“I lived in Czechoslovakia from my birth in 1932 until 1968. The Communist Party was my Nurse Ratched, telling me what I could and could not do,” he explained in the same article), I am automatically sympathetic: my parents both experienced the Stalinist Soviet Union in World War II and most of my relatives lived under communism until the Wall came down. Nevertheless, he is wrong about Obama.
Where Forman goes wrong, I think, is that he conflates President Obama’s record with Barack Obama’s internal beliefs. While Forman is right that President Obama’s administration is a far cry from communism, he is nevertheless wrong to think that this is because Barack Obama only wants to go as far as Western European socialism. He does not. He would like to go a lot further. Read Stanley Kurtz’s book, Radical-In-Chief. It is an authoritative guide to Barack Obama’s intellectual past and it makes clear that he is a hard leftist - probably a communist, but certainly an undiluted socialist. In the New Left, his role is that of the respectable face who quietly implements the Cloward-Piven strategy while his more honest colleagues agitate on the sidelines.
What stopped President Obama from going further down the path towards the worker’s paradise are the inherent checks and balances built into the US constitution (checks and balances that, I might add, he is on record as opposing) and the good sense of the American public (which manifested itself in the tea parties and the rout of November, 2010). But it can’t be said that he didn’t push against those boundaries as hard as he could.
If the history of the 20th century teaches us anything it is that campus radicals are the shock troops of totalitarianism. And as Kurtz demonstrates, Barack Obama was one of their generals.
That is what a community organizer does.