Barack Obama was, in fact, a member of the socialist New Party in the 1990s and sought its endorsement for the Illinois senate–contrary to the misrepresentations of Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008, and in spite of the efforts of Politico’s Ben Smith to quash the story. Stanley Kurtz, author of Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism (2010), has released new “smoking gun” evidence at National Review Online. It is evidence that the mainstream media can no longer ignore–and Obama can no longer deny.
When the story of Obama’s association with the New Party first broke in 2008, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt claimed that Obama had never been a member. (LaBolt likewise told the New York Times that Obama had “not spoken by phone or exchanged e-mail messages since Mr. Obama began serving in the United States Senate in January 2005”–a statement that carefully concealed the truth that Obama had spent time in Ayers’ home after he began serving in the Senate.) The Obama campaign took up the issue at its “Fight the Smears” website, smearing Kurtz and willfully distorting the truth about Barack Obama’s radical past:
Right-wing hatchet man and conspiracy theorist, Stanley Kurtz is pushing a new crackpot smear against Barack falsely claiming he was a member of something called the New Party.
But the truth is Barack has been a member of only one political party, the Democratic Party. In all six primary campaigns of his career, Barack has has run as a Democrat. The New Party did support Barack once in 1996, but he was the only candidate on the ballot in his race and never solicited the endorsement.
Ben Smith of Politico wrote a classic “nothing to see here” story, taking LaBolt and New Party founder Joel Rogers at their word. The rest of the mainstream media, eagerly covering up for–and campaigning for–Obama, took Smith’s report as the definitive “debunking” of the New Party “smear” and failed to look further. The mocking tone of Smith’s article (“The dread New Party”) put the topic beyond the pale of polite debate.
Now, through careful archival research, Kurtz has proven his case–and proven once again that there are many people on the left who have been willing to misrepresent and obscure facts about Barack Obama, as well as many in the mainstream media who have acted as Obama’s accomplices rather than searching for the truth.
Minutes of the meeting on January 11, 1996, of the New Party’s Chicago chapter read as follows:
Barack Obama, candidate for State Senate in the 13th Legislative District, gave a statement to the membership and answered questions. He signed the New Party “Candidate Contract” and requested an endorsement from the New Party. He also joined the New Party.
Consistent with this, a roster of the Chicago chapter of the New Party from early 1997 lists Obama as a member, with January 11, 1996, indicated as the date he joined…
The revelation in 2008 that Obama had joined an ACORN-controlled, leftist third party could have been damaging indeed, and coming clean about his broader work with ACORN might easily have exposed these New Party ties. Because the work of ACORN and the New Party often intersected with Obama’s other alliances, honesty about his ties to either could have laid bare the entire network of his leftist political partnerships.
Obama was not the only one who lied, according to Kurtz:
Although Obama is ultimately responsible for deceiving the American people in 2008 about his political background, he got help from his old associates. Each of the two former political allies who helped him to deny his New Party membership during campaign ’08 was in a position to know better.
One of the most glaring lies–which Politico’s Smith readily accepted–was that the New Party did not have members. That is easily proved false, Kurtz says, with the group’s own documents, which he has recovered:
At just about the time Obama joined the New Party, the Chicago chapter was embroiled in a bitter internal dispute. A party-membership list is attached to a memo in which the leaders of one faction consider a scheme to disqualify potential voting members from a competing faction, on the grounds that those voters had not renewed their memberships. The factional leaders worried that their opponents would legitimately object to this tactic, since a mailing that called for members to renew hadn’t been properly sent out. At any rate, the memo clearly demonstrates that, contrary to Rogers’s explanation, membership in the New Party entailed the right to vote on matters of party governance. In fact, Obama’s own New Party endorsement, being controversial, was thrown open to a members’ vote on the day he joined the party.
As for the group’s socialist ideology, Kurtz says, the documents he has recovered leave no doubt:
The documents reveal that the New Party’s central aim was to move the United States steadily closer to European social democracy, a goal that Mitt Romney has also attributed to Obama. New Party leaders disdained mainstream Democrats, considering them tools of business, and promised instead to create a partnership between elected officials and local community organizations, with the goal of socializing the American economy to an unprecedented degree.
Kurtz ends by challenging the mainstream media to the opposite of what they did in 2008–to follow up on the facts he has uncovered, and “to report that President Obama once joined a leftist third party, and that he hid that truth from the American people in order to win the presidency.” And he hints that there are more facts to come.