Posted Jan 23rd 2011 at 11:33 am
This is the most recent installment of exclusive interviews with Dr. Paul Kengor on his book revealing how communists, from Moscow to New York to Chicago, have long manipulated America’s liberals/progressives. Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century is based on an unprecedented volume of declassified materials from Soviet archives, FBI files, and more. Fred Barnes calls Dupes “an incredibly important book.” Big Peace’s own Peter Schweizer calls it the “21st century equivalent” to Whittaker Chambers’ classic Witness.
Big Peace: Professor Kengor, the Washington Post last weekend opened its “Outlook” section to Mark Rudd, who appeared in several previous “Big Dupes” (click here and here). Remind us, who is Mark Rudd, and what’s his political relevance today?
Kengor: It’s critical that someone provide that answer on relevance today, given that the Post, predictably, ignored or concealed it.
Rudd burst onto the scene in the 1960s as head of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at Columbia, where he shut down the campus in the spring of 1968. This was a fitting culmination of what John Dewey and Corliss Lamont and other progressives, comrades, communists, and Soviet fellow travelers had been germinating at Columbia since the 1920s. That’s a sordid tale I detail in Dupes, and will spare you the agony here.
Rudd came to find SDS not far-left enough. He became a founder of the Weather Underground, and a literal fugitive and “wanted man” by the FBI. That was likewise true of Rudd’s colleagues, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, two domestic terrorists who recently achieved renewed notoriety because of their friendship and political support of Barack Obama. We’ve noted this in previous “Big Dupes,” including last week, where we covered how Obama, as a foundation chair in Chicago, funded Ayers’ “Small Schools” initiatives.
All of these people were not only ‘60s radicals, and, in some cases, literal bomb-throwers—or, at least, bomb-planters and planners—but were hardened communists. Bear in mind, they despised Democrats of their generation, like JFK, and sabotaged the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
Big Peace: As you’ve said here before, they finally, in 2008, at long last, found a Democrat they could support for president.
Kengor: Correct. In fact, Rudd is one of the original signers of the formal group “Progressives for Obama,” as is Jane Fonda and other ex-SDS radicals. Among the four initiators of the group are Danny Glover and Tom Hayden. Hayden, who was married to Fonda, wrote the Port Huron Statement, SDS’s founding manifesto. Today, he writes founding manifestos for Progressives for Obama.
Big Peace: That gets to what the Washington Post conveniently omitted in the tagline (bio) of Rudd’s piece last weekend.
Kengor: The Post wasn’t about to inform its liberal base and mainstream Americans—the latter are dupes who think the Post is non-partisan—that Rudd has reemerged as a Progressive for Obama. If you read the article and the tagline, it’s clear Rudd was a member of the Weathermen and, years after, taught at a college, but it leaves open a major question on the mind of readers: Hmmm, I wonder what Rudd is doing now?
Well, the answer is that he’s still active. He’s trying to re-establish a “new SDS” and is stumping as a “progressive” supporting Obama.
The Post left that out. Do you think the Post would be that sloppy if, say, Rudd had been a radical right-winger, and the president was, say, George W. Bush, or if Rudd was with a group titled, “Conservatives for Palin?” The Post wouldn’t have condescended to lend its pages to such a loathsome Neanderthal in the first place.
Big Peace: What did Rudd say in the Post piece?
Kengor: To be fair, it’s an honest, moving piece, acknowledging his earlier violent radicalism in light of the actions of the young Arizona shooter, Jared Loughner. It seems part of an ongoing, sincere mea culpa from Rudd. Rudd’s memoir came out last year. I read it cover to cover. He definitely regrets the violent past. At the same time, while his tactics have changed, his politics are still far to the left, which is one of the reasons he supports Obama—and why the Post excluded that information.
Big Peace: Previously, you shared a telling quote from Rudd on Obama duping (your word, not his) moderates and independents in November 2008.
Kengor: Rudd’s take on 2008 was fascinating, and dead on. He wrote: “Obama is a very strategic thinker. He knew precisely what it would take to get elected and didn’t blow it…. But he also knew that what he said had to basically play to the center to not … scare centrist and cross-over voters away.”
Indeed, if you look closely at the data from November 2008, it was self-identified moderates and independents that elected Obama. They made the decisive difference. They were the Big Dupes, along with Religious Left “social justice” Catholics and Protestants.
Big Peace: You’ve said here previously that this “progressive” label is sometimes a phony label being exploited by ultra-leftists—some of them ex-communists or even current communists—masquerading as liberals to generate support for Obama.
Kengor: In some cases, yes. And that’s especially so with these folks who comprise Progressives for Obama.
Big Peace: One last focus, not on Rudd but the Washington Post, which appears often in your book. You chronicle how liberals at the Post have been duped by communists for a long time.
Kengor: I cite examples from the original Hollywood Ten hearings before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947. The communists at the Daily Worker delighted in the Post’s clueless, sanctimonious coverage, reprinting lengthy excerpts. The Post, of course, was dismissive as to whether the communists were really communists. They were, as the Daily Worker knew.
Big Peace: And you show how liberals at the Post continue to be clueless on these questions. You give examples from 2008 on Obama.
Kengor: I give horrible examples. In one case, the Post published (August 22, 2008) a 10,000-word profile of Barack Obama’s life in Hawaii, so lengthy that the “print version” is 17 pages. Amazingly, this extraordinarily comprehensive article, the most in-depth piece on Obama in Hawaii by any major newspaper, neglected to mention Frank Marshall Davis even one time. That was something Obama himself could not avoid, as he wrote about Davis in Dreams From My father. How could he avoid Davis? Davis was a mentor to Obama, after all.
Big Peace: We did two previous “Big Dupes” just on Davis (click here and here). Tell us also about the Dana Milbank piece in the Post.
Kengor: It was classic liberalism, where the demon isn’t the communist but the anti-communists blowing the whistle on the communist. The concern wasn’t Davis’s blatant propaganda work trashing Harry Truman and advancing Stalinism, but the bad boys informing us about Obama’s pro-Soviet mentor.
Specifically, in May 2008, Herb Romerstein and Cliff Kincaid, two veteran investigators of the communist movement, held a press conference where they dared to lay out Davis’s litany of past communist associations—facts, by the way, exposed by Democrat-run committees. Dana Milbank ridiculed Romerstein and Kincaid, comparing their press conference to a “UFO convention.”
Here again, reverse the terms: Imagine if, say, Barack Obama were a conservative Republican whose mentor had long-running associations with the far right. Milbank wouldn’t laugh at that.
Big Peace: Professor Kengor, you have a website that features many of these actual documents.
Kengor: To learn more, and to view actual declassified documents, including some from Frank Marshall Davis’s FBI file, go to http://www.thedupesbook.com/.