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Our first "Red Diaper Baby President"

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Our First 'Red Diaper Baby' President?

All the pieces fit, so why do historians and biographers ignore the question.

As president, Barack Obama is many things -- manyunprecedented things. There's the commendable: the truly historic achievement (with apologies to Bill Clinton) of being the first black president. There's the dubious: the lamentable distinction (christened by Newt Gingrich) of being the first "food stamp president."

But here's an intriguing, provocative thought: Is Barack Obama our first "Red Diaper Baby" president? Gee, that would be unprecedented.

Now, before deeming the question over-the-top, out-of-bounds, and unnecessarily incendiary, hear me out:

I come at this question as a Cold War historian and as the guy who wrote the book on Obama's mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, a hardcore communist. And the thought is not my own. It was posed to me last week by an emailer, and I'm surprised the thought never once crossed my Cold Warrior mind, particularly given the daily questions that I field about Obama's past, the communists in Obama's past, and even whether Obama himself is a communist. I've heard them all. I've considered those questions from every angle, and yet, this one never occurred to me.

Moreover, a critical clarification: If Barack Obama is a Red Diaper Baby, it doesn't mean he's a communist. I've met many conservative anti-communists who were born and raised Red Diaper Babies, only to flee their parents' politics like the plague. They contact me, "Hi, professor Kengor, my name is [fill in the blank] and I'm the classic Red Diaper Baby. Let me tell you my story…."

There have been studies and books (some by university presses) on Red Diaper Babies. One of them, Red Diapers: Growing Up in the Communist Left, an edited volume by Judy Kaplan and Linn Shapiro, includes chapter contributions from the likes of Carl Bernstein, the Washington Post reporter of Watergate fame. Bernstein is not a communist.

So, the question of Obama's red diapers was just posed to me. I discussed it with Ron Radosh, a fellow historian of the Cold War and communism. Radosh himself, in his youth, was a communist. He wrote a terrific memoir called Commies. Radosh knew Red Diaper Babies by the nursery-load, and he understands the phenomenon not only personally but historically and as a scholar.

"I and everyone else who uses the term 'Red Diaper Baby,'" says Radosh, defining his terms, "do so to define anyone whose parents were either CPUSA members or fellow-travelers, and who therefore grew up in the milieu of the Party and its front groups." Radosh, a professor emeritus of history at the City University of New York, adds: "Obama fits that definition."

Indeed, Obama seems to fit that definition. Consider:

Barack Obama's mother and father met in a Russian language class at the University of Hawaii in the fall of 1960. Their choice of study was a reflection of political interests. As one sympathetic biographer, Sally Jacobs, said of Barack senior, "Obama had an abiding interest in the Soviet Union."

Jacobs has published the preeminent biographical work on the senior Obama. Among those she quotes is Naranhkiri Tith, a prominent Cambodian who became professor of international economics at the prestigious Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Tith was a classmate of Barack senior at the University of Hawaii. The two had frequent, spirited debates over subjects like communism, an ideology that would ravage Tith's native Cambodia, where Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge slaughtered 1-2 million out of population of 5-7 million in just four years.

"Obama and I were on opposite poles," says Tith. "I did not believe communism could save the world. It was too good to be true and I gave examples of what I had seen. Obama senior was the opposite. He was always glorying about how communism had liberated Africa and Cuba. He had no idea what communism was all about. For him, communism was going to save the world. Capitalism was going to collapse."

The senior Obama found a more receptive audience in Ann Dunham. A radical leftist, Dunham questioned the American way. As Sally Jacobs put it, Dunham was given to questions like: "What was so good about democracy? What's so bad about communism? And why was capitalism so great?"

It appears that Obama's mother was, at the least, a fellow traveler.

Of course, young Obama spent much time with his mother but virtually no time with Barack senior, which brings me to another source: Frank Marshall Davis.

    In the fall of 1970, a nine-year-old Obama was introduced to Frank Marshall Davis by Obama's grandfather, Stanley Dunham, who himself was on the far left. Dunham connected the two because his grandson was lacking a black-male role model. Dunham chose a curious pick as a mentor for his grandson. As I've noted in alengthy profile for The American Spectator, Davis was a literal, card-carrying member of Communist Party USA (card number 47544). He edited and wrote for Party-line publications such as theChicago Star and the Honolulu Record. Davis did outrageous pro-Soviet propaganda work. In December 1956, the Democrats who ran the Senate Judiciary Committee summoned Davis to Washington to testify on his activities. He pleaded the Fifth Amendment. Even more remarkable, Frank Marshall Davis's political antics were so radical that the FBI placed him on the federal government's Security Index, which meant that he could be immediately detained or arrested in the event of a national emergency, such as a war breaking out between the United States and USSR.

Young Obama met with Davis far more often than he met with the senior Obama. I've been told by one source that they met weekly, a claim I cannot substantiate. We know they met often, and in lengthy, late-night sessions. David Maraniss, whose source may be Obama himself, contends that Davis and Obama met upwards of 15 times, a conservative estimate that nonetheless would be 15 times the number of times that young Obama met his Kenyan father.

To sum up: Between Obama's mother, grandfather, Kenyan father, and Frank Marshall Davis, those are some pretty extreme political influences. Some of them were interested in communism, sympathetic to communism, fellow travelers, or even downright Communist Party members. For a young Obama -- who I actually feel bad for -- this would seem to meet the standards of a Red Diaper Baby environment. And as I lay out in my book, citing especially the testimony of Dr. John Drew, who states that he knew Obama at Occidental College as a fellow Marxist, these political pilgrims produced a kindred spirit who left Hawaii for the wider world in 1979. Today he sits in the Oval Office.

I can hear liberals now: So, if Obama is our first Red Diaper Baby president, but not currently a closet card-carrying communist, why does this matter? That's nonsense, the typical liberal red herring. Of course, it matters.

It matters just as any biography of any president or leader matters. None of us (liberals included) would ignore the ideological upbringing of any other president. This information gets to the core of the intellectual and political development of our current president, the most powerful man in the world, the man in charge of the mightiest economic engine in history. This man is the product of many radical influences that helped forge him into what he is today. If that man was raised a Red Diaper Baby, then it had some form of meaningful impact that's worthy of our consideration. Let's discuss it like adults.

 

About the Author

Paul  Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. He is author of the new book The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor. His other books include The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism and Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.

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New Film Exposes Radical Muslim “Deception”

The Investigative Project on Terrorism has released a new film exposing the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood inside the United States and how its front groups and sympathizers intimidate the major media and Hollywood.

The Muslim Brotherhood, now in charge of the Egyptian government and making major advances throughout the Middle East, was established in 1928 and is considered by experts to be the parent organization of terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and Hamas.

Coming just days before the November 6 presidential election, the film, titled “Jihad in America: The Grand Deception,” highlights a problem of subversion in the U.S. that both major political party candidates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, have not been asked by the media to address.

Investigative Project on Terrorism  executive director Steven Emerson, himself the target of death threats because of his work over the course of decades exposing Islamic extremist networks, spoke at a panel discussion in Washington, D.C. on Thursday October 25th that was attended by Accuracy in Media. We also reviewed an advance copy of the film.

Several years in the making, the film describes how Muslim Brotherhood fronts, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), have pursued a strategy described in secret documents as the “Civilization-Jihadist Process” of destroying Western civilization from within and making America into an Islamic state.

The film includes FBI wiretaps of Islamists in the U.S. disguising their support of terrorist groups like Hamas and declaring, “Politics, like war, is deception.”

In addition to secret wiretaps and videos of Muslim Brotherhood activities, the film includes newly declassified documents and interviews with law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and journalists.

Although the film suggests the Muslim Brotherhood front groups are operating as illegal agents of a foreign power, there is more at stake than just subversion. The film contends that the Muslim Brotherhood is directly involved in radicalizing American Muslims who then carry out terrorist missions.

The film examines the case of Army Officer Nidal Malik Hasan, a self-described “solider of Allah” with links to al-Qaeda who is accused of killing 13 people in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting. The Obama Administration has described this mass murder as “workplace violence” and not “terrorism.”

The film looks at the case of al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Aulaqi, who was in contact with Nidal Malik Hasan and later killed in a U.S. drone strike, and highlights the pro-terrorist views of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood who has perhaps become best known for his program on Al-Jazeera.

Al-Jazeera English is seeking carriage on U.S. cable and satellite systems in the U.S. while its political patron and funder, Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, just gave a major gift of $250 million to Hamas.

Despite the advances of the Muslim Brotherhood here and abroad, there has been a failure by political leaders to even acknowledge the nature of the problem. The film shows Obama Administration Attorney General Eric Holder during a congressional hearing, refusing to even use the term “radical Islam” in describing terrorism by Muslim militants.

But the Bush and Clinton Administrations are also criticized in the film for ignoring the threat and entertaining Muslim Brotherhood operatives at the highest levels of government.

However, the October 25th panel discussion featured Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, an outspoken Muslim who broke with the Muslim Brotherhood agenda and now writes a blog, “A Singular Voice.”  He participated in meetings with top Muslim Brotherhood leaders in the U.S.

In terms of gaining acceptance in the U.S., Muhammad said the Muslim campaign against “Islamophobia” is deliberately modeled after the successful homosexual campaign to promote gay rights by railing against “homophobia.” He said the Muslim militants reject homosexuality but have entered into an alliance with homosexual and left-wing groups for political reasons under the guise of “civil rights.” He said their attitude is, “Once we seize power, we will deal with them [the homosexuals].”

Muhammad said Muslim leaders here and abroad have studied and copied communist methods of infiltrating and penetrating America and other Western nations. “They have studied the tactics of the far left,” he said.

Emerson, executive producer of the film, commented that it is ironic that Rachel Maddow of MSNBC has regularly featured CAIR representatives on her show when she would never be invited to speak to a CAIR conference because of her own open lesbianism.

Also speaking at the panel discussion, former FBI special agent Robert Stauffer described attending a Muslim Brotherhood conference in the U.S that featured banners saying, “Death to America,” and “Death to Israel.”

Other speakers were Rachel Milton, producer of “The Grand Deception;” Daniel Pipes, President of the Middle East Forum; and Michael Fechter, Editor-in-Chief of the Investigative Project’s website.

The film says CAIR’s terrorist connections have been whitewashed by such news organizations as the taxpayer-subsidized Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), and cites evidence that Hollywood films are now screened and edited to eliminate negative depictions of Arabs and Muslims.

For example, in the 2002 film, “The Sum of All Fears,” the villains were changed from Muslims to neo-Nazis.

In other cases of “self-censorship,” in order to stave off charges of “Islamophobia,” the film notes that:

  • Publishing giant Random House killed a book in 2008 about the Islam Prophet Muhammad’s relationship with his child bride.
  • Yale University Press published a book about Danish cartoons said to be offensive to Islam without publishing the cartoons themselves.
  • An episode of Comedy Central’s animated cartoon series “South Park” was deleted from the Internet because of threats over its depiction of Muhammad.

The FBI officially cut its ties to CAIR in 2009, after the organization was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator and a Hamas front in the Holy Land Foundation terrorist financing court case.  CAIR has advised Muslims in America not to cooperate with the FBI.

Abdul Rahman Al-Amoudi, now serving a 23-year prison term for supporting terrorism and terrorist groups, is a Muslim Brotherhood representative in the U.S. whose work is examined in detail in the film. He had been put in charge of the military Muslim chaplain program by the Defense Department and was sent on taxpayer-subsidized “good will missions” by the State Department in the 1990s.

Producers of the film attempted to interview Al-Amoudi in prison. He declined but sent a letter reaffirming his membership in the Muslim Brotherhood.

The film, near the end, shows Muslim Student Association supporter Amir Abdel Malik Ali having a student audience repeat a Muslim Brotherhood “pledge of allegiance” that ends with the statement, “I will die to establish Islam.”

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