On his Fox News program, Glenn Beck aired a clip of White House communications director Anita Dunn calling Mao Zedong and Mother Teresa two of her “favorite political philosophers” and used those comments to falsely link Dunn to the murder of tens of millions of Chinese under Mao's reign. But numerous conservatives have approvingly cited the tactics of Mao, Vladimir Lenin, and the Viet Cong, stated that they had used those tactics in their political work, or have otherwise highlighted their philosophies -- leading Media Matters for America to question whether or not Beck will denounce them next.
Beck falsely linked Dunn to the atrocities of “her hero” Mao
But Dunn never praised Mao's ideology or atrocities in video Beck aired. In a video of a speech to high school graduates earlier this year, Dunn cited anecdotes about Mao and Mother Teresa to counsel that "[e]verybody has their own path." From the video, which Beck aired on his October 15 Fox News program:
DUNN: A lot of you have a great deal of ability. A lot of you work hard. Put them together, and that answers the “Why not?” question. There's usually not a good reason.
And then the third lesson and tip actually come from two of my favorite political philosophers, Mao Zedong and Mother Teresa -- not often coupled with each together, but the two people that I turn to most to basically deliver a simple point, which is, you're going to make choices. You're going to challenge. You're going to say, “Why not?” You're going to figure out how to do things that have never been done before. But here's the deal: These are your choices. They are no one else's.
In 1947, when Mao Zedong was being challenged within his own party on his plan to basically take China over, Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalist Chinese held the cities, they had the army, they had the air force, they had everything on their side. And people said, “How can you win? How can you do this? How can you do this against all of the odds against you?” And Mao Zedong said, you know, “You fight your war, and I'll fight mine.” And think about that for a second.
You know, you don't have to accept the definition of how to do things, and you don't have to follow other people's choices and paths, OK? It is about your choices and your path. You fight your own war. You lay out your own path. You figure out what's right for you. You don't let external definition define how good you are internally. You fight your war. You let them fight theirs. Everybody has their own path.
And then Mother Teresa, who, upon receiving a letter from a fairly affluent young person who asked her whether she could come over and help with that orphanage in Calcutta, responded very simply: “Go find your own Calcutta.” OK? Go find your own Calcutta. Fight your own path. Go find the thing that is unique to you, the challenge that is actually yours, not somebody else's challenge.
Beck invoked Mao's atrocities while criticizing Dunn. After commenting that Mao “killed 70 million people,” Beck falsely claimed those killings were the work of Dunn's “hero.”
BECK: Stop. I wanted to make sure that we at least played the -- there's more -- but I wanted to make sure that we didn't take it out of context. We showed you the nice things she said about Mother Teresa, OK?
So, the reason why this phone hasn't run all week is because the most important political philosopher for her is Mao Zedong -- oh, and Mother Teresa. The guy responsible for more deaths than any other 20th-century leader is her favorite philosopher? How can that man be your favorite anything? He killed 70 million people. That would be like me saying to you, “Oh, you know who my favorite political philosopher is? Adolf Hitler. Have you read Mein Kampf? Just fight your fight, like Hitler did.” It's insanity! This is her hero's work! Seventy million dead! (Glenn Beck, 10/15/09)
Goldwater “alter ego” said he “followed the advice of Mao Tse-tung”
Shadegg: "[I]n all ... campaigns where I have served as consultant I have followed the advice of Mao Tse-tung." In his 1964 essay “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” Richard Hofstadter wrote that Stephen C. Shadegg, adviser to Sen. Barry Goldwater during his senatorial and presidential campaigns, approvingly cited Mao and quoted him, saying that he “followed the advice of Mao” while working for Goldwater and in his other campaign work:
In his recent book, How to Win an Election, Stephen C. Shadegg cites a statement attributed to Mao Tse-tung: “Give me just two or three men in a village and I will take the village.” Shadegg comments: " In the Goldwater campaigns of 1952 and 1958 and in all other campaigns where I have served as consultant I have followed the advice of Mao Tse-tung." “I would suggest,” writes senator Goldwater in Why Not Victory? “that we analyze and copy the strategy of the enemy; theirs has worked and ours has not. (Harper's Magazine, November 1964)
NYT: Shadegg “regarded as the alter ego of Senator Barry Goldwater.” In its obituary of Shadegg, The New York Times described him as “a political campaign manager who was regarded as the alter ego of Senator Barry Goldwater in the Senator's unsuccessful quest for the Presidency in 1964.” The Times also reported that Shadegg “for three years wrote a nationally syndicated newspaper column that carried Senator Goldwater's byline,” “served as Western regional director of the Goldwater forces” during his 1964 presidential campaign, and “was acknowledged as the person closest to the Senator in philosophy and as the craftsman of the Goldwater image as a staunch conservative.” (The New York Times, 5/24/1990)
Beck has repeatedly called on Republicans to “get back to the conservative roots of Barry Goldwater.” In two editions of his CNN Headline News program during October 2006, Beck called on Republicans to return to the practice of “Barry Goldwater” conservatism.
- Beck: “If the Republicans want to win this or any election, they need to get back to the conservative roots of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. They need to say what they mean and mean what they say. They need to do the right thing. And when I say right, I don't mean like, oops, right, it's the opposite of left. No, I mean right as in the opposite of wrong.” (CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck, 10/26/06, retrieved from the Nexis database)
- Beck: “I also know that both parties need to change soon or else. The Republicans better find their soul and their roots, and Ronald Reagan or Barry Goldwater conservativism -- conservativism, or they will lose any advantage -- that was easy for me to say -- any advantage they have gained over the years. The Democrats will either shed their label as the party of Hollywood elitists and people who stand next to Hugo Chavez in Venezuela for a photo op -- hello, Cindy Sheehan -- or they will destroy themselves, as well.” (CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck, 10/30/06, from Nexis)
Cato article on " 'Leninist' Strategy" for Social Security reform reportedly laid foundation for Bush's proposal
LA Times cited 1983 Cato Journal article as part of “the groundwork” for Bush's push to change Social Security. According to Los Angeles Times staff writer Janet Hook, "[a] generation of free-market conservatives like [Cato Institute president Edward H.] Crane" had been “laying the groundwork for” “Bush's plan to allow younger workers to divert Social Security taxes into personal investment accounts.” Hook then cited a 1983 Cato Journal article in which Heritage Foundation analysts Stuart Butler and Peter Germanis wrote: “It could be many years before the conditions are such that a radical reform of Social Security is possible. ... But then, as Lenin well knew, to be a successful revolutionary, one must also be patient and consistently plan for real reform.” From the LA Times article, “They Invested Years in Private Accounts”:
Back in 1997, proponents of overhauling Social Security met with the man who would become their most powerful convert: Texas Gov. George W. Bush, whose presidential ambitions were beginning to gel.
The governor dined with Jose Piñera, architect of Chile's 1981 shift from government pensions to worker-owned retirement accounts, in a meeting that helped bring Bush a big step closer to embracing a similar plan for Social Security in his emerging presidential platform.
“I think he wanted to support the idea but needed to be convinced,” said Edward H. Crane, president of the libertarian Cato Institute, who was at the dinner. “I really think Jose convinced him.”
This week, President Bush's plan to allow younger workers to divert Social Security taxes into personal investment accounts will be a centerpiece of his State of the Union address and a barnstorming tour of the country. It is a tough sell to an uncertain public, but Bush has a secret weapon: A generation of free-market conservatives like Crane and Piñera has been laying the groundwork for this debate.
“It could be many years before the conditions are such that a radical reform of Social Security is possible,” wrote Stuart Butler and Peter Germanis, Heritage Foundation analysts, in a 1983 article in the Cato Journal. “But then, as Lenin well knew, to be a successful revolutionary, one must also be patient and consistently plan for real reform.”
Now, Bush is drawing on a deep reservoir of resources -- including policy research, ready-to-hire experts and polling on how to discuss the issue -- that conservatives have created over the last 20 years. (Los Angeles Times, 1/30/05)
Heritage analysts' article headlined “Achieving a 'Leninist' Strategy.” In their Cato Journal article, Butler and Germanis wrote:
As we contemplate basic reform of the Social Security system, we would do well to draw a few lessons from the Leninist strategy. Many critics of the present system believe, as Marx and Lenin did of capitalism, that the system's days are numbered because of its contradictory objectives or attempting to provide both welfare and insurance. All that really needs to be done, they contend, is to point out these inherent flaws to the taxpayers and to show them that Social Security would be vastly improved if it were restructured into a predominantly private system. Convinced by the undeniable facts and logic, individuals supposedly would then rise up and demand that their representatives make the appropriate reforms.
Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation experts frequently appear on Beck's show. According to a Nexis search, Cato and Heritage experts have appeared on Beck's show a total of at least 14 times in the past six months.
GOP strategist Ralph Reed approvingly cited Mao, Viet Cong
Reed reportedly cited Mao approvingly. A 1992 Seattle Times article reported that Republican strategist and former Christian Coalition director Ralph Reed said in an “interview with The Phoenix Gazette” that “Mao Tse-Tung said politics is war without bloodshed. Clearly, there are some metaphors that sit nicely with politics.” From the article:
Televangelist Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition plans to distribute in Washington state an estimated 500,000 copies of its 1992 Voter Guide - a move one news report describes as part of a long-term plan for conservative Christians to control U.S. politics by the end of the century.
But Ralph Reed Jr., executive director of the Chesapeake, Va.-based coalition, called The Phoenix Gazette story “stupid” and said the Christian Coalition's guide was nonpartisan, laying out where candidates for the White House, Congress and the statehouse stand on issues ranging from abortion and gay rights to educational vouchers and a balanced-budget amendment.
In a recent phone interview with The Phoenix Gazette, Reed said that the war metaphor is apt.
“Mao Tse-Tung said politics is war without bloodshed,” he said. “Clearly, there are some metaphors that sit nicely with politics.” (The Seattle Times, 10/25/1992, from Nexis)
Reed called for using Viet Cong-style political tactics. In The Art of Political Warfare, John J. Pitney Jr., a contributing editor to the libertarian journal Reason, wrote that Reed explained the Christian Coalition's strategy of sometimes backing " 'stealth candidates' for local office who would downplay their affiliations in order to attract broader support" by saying, “It's like guerrilla warfare. If you reveal your location, all it does is allow your opponent to improve his artillery bearings. It's better to move quietly, with stealth, under cover of night. ... It comes down to whether you want to be the British army in the Revolutionary War or the Viet Cong. History tells us which tactic was more effective.” From The Art of Political Warfare:
In the 1950s, GOP activist Stephen Shadegg explicitly followed Mao Zedong's “cell group” model. Just as Mao's cells would lay the basis for guerrilla warfare, so Shadegg's cells would quietly build support for his candidates apart from formal political organizations. “The individuals we enlisted became a secret weapon possessing strength, mobility and real impact,” Shadegg wrote. “They were able to infiltrate centers of opposition support, keep us informed of opposition tactics, disseminate information, enlist other supporters and to do all these things completely unnoticed by the opposition. In the early 1990s, local affiliates of the Christian Coalition sometimes backed ”stealth candidates" for local office who would downplay their affiliations in order to attract broader support. Ralph Reed, longtime director of the Christian Coalition, once summed up the value of the quiet approach: “It's like guerrilla warfare. If you reveal your location, all it does is allow your opponent to improve his artillery bearings. It's better to move quietly, with stealth, under cover of night. ... It comes down to whether you want to be the British army in the Revolutionary War or the Viet Cong. History tells us which tactic was more effective.” (The Art of Political Warfare, University of Oklahoma Press, 2000).
Reed has repeatedly appeared on Fox News. According to a search of Nexis for “Ralph Reed,” he has appeared on Fox News at least four times in 2009, most recently on the August 17 edition of Hannity.
Bush recommended Mao bio to adviser Karl Rove
Rove: President Bush “encouraged me to read a Mao biography.” From Rove's December 26, 2008, Wall Street Journal column:
With only five days left, my lead is insurmountable. The competition can't catch up. And for the third year in a row, I'll triumph. In second place will be the president of the United States. Our contest is not about sports or politics. It's about books.
It all started on New Year's Eve in 2005. President Bush asked what my New Year's resolutions were. I told him that as a regular reader who'd gotten out of the habit, my goal was to read a book a week in 2006. Three days later, we were in the Oval Office when he fixed me in his sights and said, “I'm on my second. Where are you?” Mr. Bush had turned my resolution into a contest.
By coincidence, we were both reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's “Team of Rivals.” The president jumped to a slim early lead and remained ahead until March, when I moved decisively in front. The competition soon spun out of control. We kept track not just of books read, but also the number of pages and later the combined size of each book's pages -- its “Total Lateral Area.”
We recommended volumes to each other (for example, he encouraged me to read a Mao biography; I suggested a book on Reconstruction's unhappy end). We discussed the books and wrote thank-you notes to some authors.