National Review Clings To Fantasy That Obama Is A Secret Radical

National Review claims it has new evidence that President Obama associated with a minor political party in Chicago in the 1990s. This is apparently supposed to reveal more about Obama's political views and the way he governs than his service in the U.S. Senate and the three years he has been president.

The article instead appears to be part of the right's ongoing effort to further the absurd myth that the media has not vetted Obama -- an argument that is destroyed by the facts.

National Review's Stanley Kurtz writes that he has minutes from a meeting of the New Party's Chicago chapter showing that Obama requested an endorsement and joined the party in 1996. Kurtz describes the New Party as “deeply hostile to the mainstream of the Democratic party and even to American capitalism.”

Kurtz is trying to create confusion about the New Party's place on the political spectrum. Questions about Obama and the New Party arose during the 2008 election, and in a Politico blog post, Ben Smith accurately described where the New Party fell:

[T]he New Party was a attempt to build a model of political fusion. It dissolved after losing a Supreme Court ruling aimed at making fusion -- a system under which more than one party can run the same candidate, which exists in some states -- universal.

It's strongest heir, run by another New Party founder, is New York's labor-backed Working Families Party, which cross-endroses (mostly) Democratic candidates in the hopes of pulling the party to the left. Such noted socialists as Hillary Clinton and various Republican state senate candidates have run on the line. There are running arguments over whether they're good for the political process, but no particular taint of radicalism.

Kurtz complains bitterly in his article about this post from Smith, but his objections boil down to the fact that the mainstream American political world won't accept Kurtz's definition of what radical is.

For his post, Smith interviewed a co-founder of the New Party, University of Wisconsin professor Joel Rogers (who is a recurring figure in Glenn Beck's conspiracy theories):

Rogers described the party's platform including national health insurance and wage insurance, quality education, and environmentalism. Those are positions that basically placed the New Party, ideologically, well within the left half of the Democratic Party. The aim, in fact, was to be the “conscience of the Democratic Party,” Rogers said, though they also endorsed the occasional Republican.

As for “socialist”?

"'Socialist' means is you try to whatever extent to move the means of production under public ownership," Rogers said. “The New Party was never about that.”

Kurtz has obsessively attempted to paint Obama as a secret radical since 2008, often by connecting him to the New Party. His 2010 book is titled Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism.