Who’s Policing Stanley Kurtz?

December 7th, 2010 at 9:36 pm David Frum | 37 Comments |

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The “No Labels” op-ed I coauthored with William Galston has ignited a ferocious response from Stanley Kurtz at NRO.

Kurtz was especially offended by this paragraph in our op-ed:

Nor does the political system work if politicians treat members of the other party as enemies to be destroyed. Labeling legitimate policy differences as “socialist” or “racist” undermines democratic discourse.

As the author of a new book that seeks to prove President Obama’s adherence to socialist ideology, Stanley takes these remarks personally. He suggests I am trying to delegitimate him, silence him, banish him from political debate. He calls me an aspiring policeman of our democratic debate.

All of which raises a question:

When Stanley Kurtz wrote his book, Radical in Chief, what was his purpose?

Was he arguing: “I think Barack Obama is a socialist, let me explain why his ideas are mistaken?” Of course not. The badness of socialism is taken entirely for granted in the pages of Radical in Chief. Kurtz’s goal is precisely to delegitimate.

And in that goal, Kurtz has enjoyed some considerable success. Obama is regularly described as a socialist on conservative radio and television, and by politicians like Newt Gingrich. So one might expect a more triumphant tone from Stanley – perhaps even a restatement of his proofs that Obama really and truly is a socialist.

Yet Stanley does not sound triumphant, and he does not restate his case. What we get instead is a lot of aggrievement, seasoned with a noticeable flavor of threat. If people like me do not get out of the way of people like him, well he won’t answer for the consequences.

I had to think hard about the reasons for this ill temper, but I won’t pretend to have fathomed them.

Perhaps part of the problem is that while Stanley Kurtz’s general thesis – Obama is a socialist – is almost universally accepted in the conservative world, Stanley himself has received very little credit for his labor. Kurtz grumbles that the New York Times and other lamestream media types have ignored his book. But it goes deeper than that. Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck have also neglected Radical in Chief.

Why? Because I whistled up the speech police? Obviously not. The problem is that Kurtz didn’t get the goods. Yes, he worked enormously hard and did considerable research. And at the end of the day he discovered for instance… that Obama once attended a socialist scholars conference. Very possibly Obama was invited to attend a second conference, although there is no evidence he attended. Beyond that, Kurtz’s research amounts to a footnoted version of a 1920s dance tune: “I danced with a man who danced with a girl who danced with the Prince of Wales.” Obama worked for a man who had once belonged to an organization that supported a magazine… well you get the idea.

Barack Obama has written or spoken millions of words. He has cast hundreds of votes as a legislator. Now as president there’s an even more extensive record. And if you can’t find your evidence there, you’re not going to find it by tallying the various people he met on his ascent through Chicago and Illinois politics. For Obama as for Ronald Reagan as for all politicians, the rule is always: “They endorse me, I don’t necessarily endorse them.”

And even if Kurtz had succeeded in his research- if he had unearthed an old membership list of the Democratic Socialists of America with Barack Obama’s name on it – he’d still have nothing very exciting. You’re not going to excite a Fox News article with the news that Obama shared an ideology with the president of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. (Unless of course Megyn Kelly is modeling some of those garments.)

Somebody who understands all this much better than Stanley Kurtz is Dinesh D’Souza. D’Souza did not bother with Kurtz’s tedious archival drudgery. D’Souza went right for the motherlode: he accused Obama of being motivated by racial animus, Kenyan anti-colonial ideology, revenge against the white overlord. Proof? Does Glenn Beck care about proof? Just assert whatever the hell you feel like asserting, if people dislike the president enough they won’t be fussy about the paperwork.

Which may explain why so many have adopted Kurtz’s conclusion while disregarding Kurtz’s convoluted paper trail. They don’t need to know whether the young Barack Obama read Commonwealth or Commentary or both or neither. For that matter, they don’t care that the Obama administration is liquidating its emergency holdings of Citibank and GM stock, or that corporate profits are soaring, or that the stock market is rising, or that Obama has been taking his advice from Paul Volcker and Tim Geithner, not Robert Reich and Paul Krugman.

The people who call Obama a “socialist” are not looking for an analysis, and they do not thank Stanley Kurtz for trying to provide that analysis. They are reaching for an epithet. And it’s against the use of epithets that the No Labels movement is protesting.

Five years ago, nobody would have appreciated this point better than Stanley Kurtz. In the days when international journalists regularly described Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice as “neocons,” Kurtz would have well understood how a formerly meaningful term like “neoconservative” can be transformed into a meaningless slur with overtones of bigotry. Those who objected to the politics of epithet in 2005 should feel at least some discomfort at the politics of epithet in 2010. I remember that earlier wave of irrationality, I hated it, and I resolved then that I would never lend aid and comfort to anything like it in the future. That’s the route that took me to where I am in. I wish I could figure out how Stanley arrived at his destination. Then maybe there’d be some hope of finding him a route back.

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37 Comments so far ↓

  • Nanotek

    so even if one makes the case that “Obama is a socialist,” why is that bad? it’s a word

  • Kurlis

    David claims “Socialist” is used as an epithet. He’s got a point. Charles Gasparino in his New York Post article makes a persuasive case that Obama’s economic policies haven’t benefited the lower or even the middle classes; that oddly enough, his policies have benefited the fat cats on Wall Street more than anyone else.

    I respect David’s tremendous intellect and I cannot easily dismiss his very persuasive arguments.

    So I won’t call Obama a Socialist. But I still think his economic policies are wrong.

  • politicalfan

    That was a majorly long plug for the book. He should send you a Thank you letter for the free publicity!

  • Moderate

    Stanley Kurtz: No Labels will only increase the level of political acrimony by attempting to constrain debate

    This is absurdly stupid. Imagine it in another context: The NFL will only increase the number of violent hits by labeling them fouls and assessing penalties! The Ten Commandments are going to lead to resentment amongst criminals, so why bother, Moses?

  • pampl

    I can sort of see what Kurtz is saying. People argue about the rules of debate, so new rules = new arguments (ofc, not necessarily WORSE arguments, which is his claim). Not sure how you could tell whether the new arguments are more acrimonious than the old ones.. in my experience meta-arguments are less emotionally fraught, but I’m not sure Mr. Frum is really making that case when he makes this long argument that Kurtz is basically upset because he’s a loser.

  • lessadoabouteverything

    Bravo, excellent article, I especially like this: I remember that earlier wave of irrationality, I hated it, and I resolved then that I would never lend aid and comfort to anything like it in the future.

    It shows a man who has learned from the past, not become bitter and revengeful. Speaking as a Democrat I was sickened by such Democratic idiocies at the whole “General Betrayus” nonsense, or that the Iraq war was motivated only by dreams of oil riches. You can not have a dialog about positions if you do not act in good faith with the opposition. I am perfectly fine with Conservatives saying no provided it is followed by a because and not preceded by a hell.

  • CentristNYer

    Very good piece, David.

    People like Kurtz — and entities like NRO and FoxNews — have a vested interest in keeping their rhetoric at such a stratospheric level: angry, scared masses means more clicks, more readers, better ratings and higher sales. It’s the “Perpetual Panic Conflictinator,” as Jon Stewart calls it. Who knows whether Kurtz or any of these pundits (be they on the left or the right) actually believe what they’re saying. If you don’t have your audience in panic mode, soon you won’t have an audience.

  • Deep South Populist

    “No Labels” is itself a label. It suggests other partisans offer no substance but rather mere labels. This is complete nonsense of course. If Kurtz is wrong that Obama is a socialist, he is wrong because of a weak argument not because he used a “label.” If Kurtz is right, however, then the label is right. Likewise, if a left-liberal is wrong that so and so is a racist, then the weak supporting facts underlying the attack are the problem not the label.

    David Frum himself also uses labels often, usually to attack ideological enemies and to narrow the range of public discourse. In his essay “Unpatriotic Conservatives,” he attempted to marginalize conservatives opposed to the Iraq war using the label “unpatriotic.” David Frum also likes to use the label “fringe” often.

    David Frum:

    That’s what No Labels is. Here’s what it isn’t: It is not a nascent third-party movement. It is not a stalking-horse for an independent candidacy. And it is not a front for anyone’s agenda.


  • politicalfan

    As a voter of the President.
    Leave it to real substantive debate on the issues. Honestly, it makes me want to vote for the President again when people start with the highly divisive rhetoric. I could care less if he studied the various aspects of socialism. I don’t think he has had a chance to read the book that Hugo Chavez gave him. Finding a candidate that speaks to your values may be more productive in the long run. I applaud your attempt Frum. We need to move the discussion forward with people that don’t think like each other! How can we relate to other countries if we can’t understand the people within in our own country?

  • armstp

    David Frum, I will keep coming back to your website as long as you keep writing pieces like this. I don’t think you are defending Obama, as I am sure you disagree with him on much, but I do like the fact that you are defending “reason”, particularly as many in your party have very little “reason” these days.

  • HighCountry

    Thanks for the great piece, David. When I listen to conservative talk radio, read op-eds on conservative websites, and have discussions with conservative friends and family, I frequently hear statements like “Obama is [this], Obama is [that], he wants to do [this], he wants to do [that], he’s trying to do [this], he’s trying to do [that].” But it seems that I see very little direct evidence of things that he is doing or has done that truly advance the agenda of [this] or [that]. And when I press friends and family to give me direct evidence, they can’t seem to come up with much. I think that there are PLENTY of reasons to criticize Obama, his administration, and the Democrats in congress, but I think the discussions would be much more productive if we could stick to talking about ACTUAL things that they have ACTUALLY done, or are doing, instead of these hyped-up, imaginary accusations.

  • politicalfan

    (Deep South Populist)

    Is it fair to say that we all use “labels” in some context to make our point against those that we disagree? I think Frum is suggesting that this can be a non-starter to a serious conversation.

    ” ideological enemies”

    I do not agree with the idea that people are staunchly left or right. Would it be plausible that a fiscal conservative might be socially conservative? Could an otherwise fairly liberal view on helping the poor foster an otherwise conservative thinker? I know many people who do not like politics. They simply vote for the guy they like the most or the way that they have voted for years without studying the issues. What is a Republican or Democrat if that isn’t a label? Maybe a further examination is the fact that people simply change their mind.

  • WillyP

    Here’s some “alarmism” from the pages of Foreign Affairs,

    “But what if times were not normal? During a crisis over Taiwan, for example, Chinese central bankers could prove more dangerous than Chinese admirals. A simple announcement that China was cutting back its dollar holdings could put huge pressure on the U.S. dollar and/or interest rates. This would be similar to the way the United States used economic pressure against the United Kingdom during the 1956 Suez crisis, when Washington refused to support an IMF loan to the British government unless it agreed to withdraw its military forces from Egypt. That threat worked, as an overextended United Kingdom could not sustain its currency against foreign pressure. What goes around could easily come around.”

    “This shift in power from the United States, Europe, and Japan will accelerate the emergence of a nonpolar world, in which power is widely diffused among numerous states and nonstate actors. In particular, it will raise the global clout of the major emerging nations, including China, Brazil, India, and others. The relative position of the United States will inevitably decline, as will its ability to lead and shape international relations. No one else appears willing and able to assume this role. The result of reduced U.S. power will be a world that is messier and, in the end, less safe and less prosperous.”

    Get that? The end of American prominence in global affairs. That’s why conservatives are worried… we’re losing our way of life. At least Kurtz has the courage to lay blame on Obama for making this much worse than it need be.


  • cdorsen

    I may disagree with most of Obama’s explicit and implicit ideologically, but finding a nice socialist construct and trying to squeeze the prez in doesn’t get you anywhere. If you prove he is a socialist, so what? Impeach him? You do much better sticking to the issues that you agree or disagree with than forming the prez’s view on the issue into a form fitting construct.

    Willy, America may be on it’s way to less prominence and the President may not be helping or worse exacerbating the problem, but tell us exactly what he is doing and how it is hurting instead of screaming that we are losing our way of life. What does that even mean? If China overtook us economically and militarily tomorrow, I wouldn’t be happy about it, but how would your life be different?

  • Deep South Populist


    I don’t see how you get from A to B.

    Get that? The end of American prominence in global affairs. That’s why conservatives are worried… we’re losing our way of life.

    Respectfully, how the heck is losing what you call our “prominence” — what I call our ability to meddle in international affairs that our not our concern — leading to Americans losing their way of life?

    One reason we are falling behind China is because we are wasting valuable resources all over the world on an aggressive military posture.

  • John

    excellent piece. i think david is talking about labels as ad hominem. call obama a socialist (with or without evidence) and you no longer have to contend with the merits of his policies – they’re socialist policies! call rumsfeld a neocon and you no longer have to contend with the merits of the war in iraq – its a neocon war! he isn’t saying to literally stop labeling things – that would be impossible.

  • politicalfan

    This is exactly the counter argument about Palin. There are many people that think the Mayan Calendar is spot on if she wins in 2012!

    Fear is a powerful motivator but the only problem is that it can also creates the opposite. Therefore, continue to make fun of the President, it may help him get re-elected.

    If the President held the majority in the Senate and Congress (with less Blue dogs and more liberals) maybe a slight freak out would be in order. The reality is the math does not add up and statistically people are not ideologically in high numbers, they may simply tune into one cheer without having the full story.

    If the President had complete Executive Order and could be free to do whatever he wanted, then freak out. We can scream about policy differences but let’s be honest here, our President’s are more limited than we would like to admit. That was put in place for a reason! Perhaps a better use of time should be to have a solution to the problem versus being the catalyst of that problem?

    I am getting tired of making fun of Palin. She is laughing all the way to the bank these days it would seem! When we continue to talk about politics in the context of a sound bite that we heard on the news, the discussion is going to be short lived. Propaganda is alive and well, why wouldn’t it be? Many people would not have a job otherwise!

  • Demosthenes

    Excellent article. I crystalizes why I eagerly read this blog, and your writing in particular, Mr. Frum. Like you, I am sick and tired of trite, meaningless labels, whether coming from the Republicans or the Democrats.

  • lessadoabouteverything

    DSP, I don’t think being a pragmatist who is interested in solutions that work instead of trying to force a solution that doesn’t based on ideology is a “label”

  • WillyP

    The idea of “no labels” is as silly as much hopeless. The democratic process is name-calling and labeling. To the extent that political language becomes meaningless and trite is only a reflection of the electorate, as evidenced pop culture and today’s television programs.

    I’m happy the word socialist has been brought back into use. There is no equivalent in the English language. It describes, practically, state control of formerly private property. What other word do we have for that?

    Furthermore, the word “socialist” was not always viewed with such suspicion. John Stuart Mill advocated for socialism at the end of his career. The founders of LSE, Sydney and Beatrice Webb, were socialists. Albert Einstein was a professed socialist. So was Gandhi.

    Leaving Einstein and Gandhi aside, many prominent intellectuals believed in the socialist future, in the role of the state to “even out” economic disparity. In short, they did not like the immense wealth of the new industrial class. They saw the growing inequality of the “worker” and the “capitalist” and correctly identified the institution of private property as the source of the problem.

    Socialists, therefore, are not necessarily evil. What they are is ignorant of history and economics. The Soviets were socialists as were the Nazis. Taking Socialism seriously,these thuggish parties began to systematically break down private property rights. In order to be effective they had to resort to violence, executions, disenfranchisement, and the liquidations of entire “classes” of people. If there’s a reason why socialist carries such a negative connotation, it is because its first practitioners were the lowest form of scum ever to rule parts of the earth.

    Modern day socialists exist in many flavors. African dictators and the authoritarian Chinese probably represent the worst; the bankrupt Europeans and thus far (largely) unscathed Canadians probably represent the best. (Frum is clearly a Canadian at heart… I don’t know why he just can’t accept it and say he believes in the Canadian political and economic model.) The difference is that most of these parties are fairly honest with the voters. They call themselves socialists (or “social democrats”). In Canada, always the exception, the leaders of the so-called “Liberal” party are no more liberal than the so-called “Conservative” party; that is to say, none of these parties believe in economic liberalism in healthcare. (And as Mark Steyn’s experience shows, less and less liberal in the area of free speech). Regardless of dominion, all parties mentioned can also fairly be labeled statists; that is, they believe in using the State and its coercive apparatus to achieve social goals.

    Somewhere in between the Euros and the Chinese is the deceptive Barack Obama, feckless as he is destructive, and praising the same private sector he is simultaneously dismantling. He is a terrible leader, in that he does not articulate his end game (which makes people suspicious, for good reason). The means he is utilizing to realize his ends (whatever, precisely, they are) have proven devastating to the American economy and psyche. His administration regularly threatens private companies with consequences if they dare speak out against his unconstitutional legislation (cf. health insurance companies). He is succeeding in bankrupting the country (cf. Foreign Affairs article linked above). He is the appeaser-in-chief, making apologies for America abroad (Cairo speech) while isolating allies (Germany, UK) and encouraging her enemies, or at the very least, authoritarian countries who seek to play a larger role in shaping global (Russia, China, Iran). Cutting through all Obama’s propaganda and supposed love for the American system is Stanley Kurtz, who correctly applies the word “socialist” to describe Obama, while pointing out that not long ago Obama used the same word to describe himself.

    With American leadership and living standards facing decline in short order, how does Frum respond? Attacking Stanley Kurtz for doing meticulous research and refusing to surrender the English language to the libs.

    Bravo, Mr. Frum! How prescient!

  • Deep South Populist

    lessadoabouteverything: I don’t think being a pragmatist who is interested in solutions that work instead of trying to force a solution that doesn’t based on ideology is a “label”

    OK, but I disagree. As a long-time reader of David Frum, I know he uses labels in the bad sense when it suits him. Frum displays a banner on his own Web site that labels rightists he disagrees as part of the crackpot fringe. I have made this point repeatedly here.

  • politicalfan

    Cenk Uygur (Is the US Military a Socialist Institution?)

  • WillyP

    … I did not realize that “No Labels” was such a large initiative.

    My guess is that it’ll have more people on its leadership council/board than it will followers. Very hard to build a passionate movement of political squishes.

  • lessadoabouteverything

    DSP, but there are crackpot fringes on both sides of the aisle. I think the issue is good faith. You generally always argue with good faith hence there is little reason for anyone to attack you. You have taken a principled stand against spending as much as we do on defense as we do. I disagree with you but you don’t label people like me “war mongers” because I try to argue with reason. However, if I came out and said all Muslims are filthy animals that should be put down and that we have to invade Iran because they are Muslims, then of course you can call me a warmonger. The same if I don’t argue in good faith, if I accuse you of being a Muslim symp. and secret traitor to freedom because you oppose elements of the Patriot act, for example, then again you can call me a crackpot since I am not arguing in good faith.

    Kurtz seems to be interested in making a quick buck and stirring up the partisan base.

    Now if you think David is being unfair in his label, call him out on it. That is perfectly fine. I certainly agree that there might be a little bit of sanctimoniousness in labelling yourself someone who is above labels, but this is countered by argument.

  • WillyP

    This keeps getting better and better… now our ninny mayor Mike Bloomberg has joined the fray:

    “[Bloomberg plans to attend an event for a group that is in the formative stages called No Labels, which is trying to appeal to disaffected Democrats and Republicans, and perhaps even seeking to become a third party in the next election.
    [Said Bloomberg] “Despite what ideologues on the left believe,” he said, “government cannot tax and spend its way back to prosperity, especially when that spending is driven by pork barrel politics. And despite what ideologues on the right believe,” Mr. Bloomberg said, “government should not stand aside and wait for the business cycle to run its natural course. That would be intolerable.”

    How deep… so we can’t spend our way out, but we can’t do nothing (i.e., not spend our way out). This says exactly nothing. Blooms, so we spend more or not spend more? Has the spending worked? If so, where’s the recovery? If not, why not?

    What exactly is this third, non-ideological position? To spend or not to spend, that is the question. The question is binary. There is no third answer. “I can spend it better” isn’t gonna fly.

    Mayor Bloomberg: Government can only spend the country out of depression if Mike Bloomberg directs the pork! Now all you partisan losers, listen up! King me and your problems will disappear. We’ve heard this before… in 2008 with a certain presidential candidate.


  • CA

    I think Kurtz raises some good questions in his piece. What of the “calling out” No Labels intends to do? Frum, strangely, does not address this in his response.

  • Deep South Populist

    David Frum:

    They will call out politicians whose rhetoric exacerbates those problems, and they will establish lines that no one should cross. Politicians, media personalities and opinion leaders who recklessly demonize their opponents should be on notice that they can no longer do so with impunity.

    Well, Mr. Frum, you don’t get to decide what is a rhetorical excess and what isn’t.

    This is a very illiberal idea.

  • CA

    Ron Radosh, also, is no fan of “No Labels.”

    “The problem with the Galston-Frum argument is that rather than try and move to what I think they really want — a moderate conservative party — they have come up with something that is little more than a gimmick, creating a movement which they argue is based on attaining a single goal: “to expand the space within which citizens and elected officials can conduct that conversation without fear of social or political retribution.” A movement, in other words, that will avoid “partisanship.””

    He concludes:
    “What we do need is serious political dialogue, and I fear that despite their good intentions, Bill Galston and David Frum’s new effort will only serve to prevent that, rather than to stop unfair political smears.”


  • Elvis Elvisberg

    Those who objected to the politics of epithet in 2005 should feel at least some discomfort at the politics of epithet in 2010. I remember that earlier wave of irrationality, I hated it, and I resolved then that I would never lend aid and comfort to anything like it in the future.

    Indeed. That was just as we had lumped three countries into an “Axis of Evil”– including two who had fought each other in a brutal and protracted war– and invaded one of them, sparking the other two to ramp up their nuclear programs. Emotion in lieu of analysis makes for terrible policy.

    As to lessadoabouteverything’s point about “General Betrayus,” that was an outside group that was condemned by roughly every elected Democrat. Whereas it is mainstream discourse among GOP/Tea Party elected officials and leaders that tax cuts at 1990s levels, or the Heritage Foundation’s health insurance reform proposal, are socialism, and perhaps fascism and/or Kenyan anti-colonialism.

    Both parties are equally capable of extremism, for sure; but at the moment, the Democrats are a centrist party while the Republicans have nothing but labels that remind them who to hate.

  • pnumi2

    Beginning with the McCarthy Era, as political discourse becomes more bitter, America’s challenges become more difficult.

    Unless it’s the other way around.

    Things got worse in the late ’60s as America suffered a stalemate and withdrawal from Viet Nam. And there weren’t just labels then, there were injuries.

    The end of the war lead to inflation, to Ronald Reagan and to Morning in America. A return to happy days and less labeling.

    Some, though, recognized the slipping into the economy a poison called “Deficits Don’t Matter.”

    That poison worked it’s evil during Reagan’s 8 years and Bush’s 4 years. During Clinton’s 8 years, labels came back. From murderer in Central America to imprisoner of fellatio to creator of surpluses to impeached but not convicted.

    2001 saw the Bush fils and the destruction of the World Trade Center and the hyping of the war soon to be in Iraq.. The labelers had too much material to work with so they joined the anti-Saddam and pro-it’s- not-about-the-oil claque. The housing bubble caught them by surprise and the near destruction of the economy shut them up as they were busy counting the “for sale”‘s sign in their neighborhood.

    The labelers were at a loss. How could they blame the Democrats for America’s near death experience?

    God answered their prayers.

    In 2008 the Republicans nominated Commander Fuddydud and he selected for his running mate the woman whose picture is in the dictionary under the words sui generis.

    You know the rest. Obama won and 20 years of Republican mismanagement were written on a label that Stanley Kurtz et alia are trying to tie around Obama’s big toe.

  • Bebe99

    I think the point is that both sides of the aisle will participate in the calling out. At least I hope that will be a key part of this group. It is all too easy to hear the insults of one’s opponents, but the name-calling done by one’s compatriots often sounds like a joke or just the plain truth to those who agree.

  • Question:

    [...] what point does it become comical to insist on calling yourself a conservative while at the same time claiming the case need be made [...]

  • Old Patriot

    I get it! A boxing ring with “NO ROPES!” I don’t know if Frum is a dolt or a genius but he seems to have a narrow liberal streak.
    I’m a no holds barred, defeat the enemy kind of guy. No PC here, and only one rule of engagement….destroy the enemy on the battlefield or inside the beltway.
    And Obama is a MARXIST. An adjective is a label and can not go unspoken.
    No labels is as stupid as Pelosi saying, “we have to pass it, to see what’s in it.”

  • pchas

    “Barack Obama has …cast hundreds of votes as a legislator.” Mostly as “present”.

  • prosanity

    …socialist, socialist, socialist, socialist…

  • johndrew25

    I was an eye witness to young Obama’s ardent commitment to Marxist socialist thought while he was a sophomore at Occidental College. I’m grateful to Michael Savage, Paul Kengor and Stanley Kurtz for giving me the opportunity to tell my story. I have a Ph.D. in political science and taught at Williams College with two of the professors young Obama would have known – and admired – while he was an undergraduate at Occidental College. I don’t know what it takes to get my story into the mainstream media. :)