Yes, that’s right, possums, Anita Dunn, former Obama aide who told a group of high school students that Mao Tse Tung was one of her two favorite political philosophers, has been hired by Tory hopeful David Cameron to help him prep for tomorrow’s televised debate with Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown. The British election hangs in the balance. Ms. Dunn had helped Obama “de-posh” himself during the campaign, showing him how to mimic looks of concern and concentration, how and when to frown, when to smile, and the makeover seemed to work. At any rate, Obama won. Can Ms. Dunn do the same for Mr. Cameron? Let’s see.
Ms. Dunn, who is married to Obama’s former personal lawyer, Robert Bauer, told the students that when confronted with difficult political problems, Mao was one of the people she “turns to most” for answers about “how to do things that have never been done before.”
Need to exterminate 50 (some say 100) million people? That was never done before, but Mao figured out a way to do it. Ms. Dunn referred to this genocidal maniac as a “political philosopher.” But really, as I noted when this story broke last October, Mao was not a philosopher but (in Leszek Kolakowski’s phrase) “one of the greatest, if not the very greatest, manipulator of large masses of human beings in the twentieth century.”
His violent peasant revolution mouthed Marxist slogans, but at its core was less Marxist than a particularly rebarbative form of anarchic and anti-intellectual tyranny. “The obfuscation of Western admirers of Chinese Communism,” Kolakowski observes toward the end of his magnum opus, Main Currents of Marxism, “is scarcely believable.” I wish he were still here for Anita Dunn.
In the 1960s and 1970s, many American universities, along with some other Western redoubts of privilege and irresponsibility, harbored a few deluded characters who declared themselves Maoists and were fond of toting around his pathetic compendium of absurdity, “The Little Red Book.” These creatures were the sorriest detritus of our own cultural revolution. Some destroyed themselves. Others grew up, in whole or part, and were absorbed by a rich and forgiving society into the tissues of American life. Only now is it clear that some of the most radical and benighted have subsisted long enough in the outer corridors of power to find themselves suddenly translated into its inner sanctum, the White House and other top agencies of the United States government. It is an eventuality that would be risible were it not repulsive and, indeed, frightening.
Ah, but that is ancient history now. Now Ms. Dunn has moved on from her position as interim White House Communications Director to PR mentor to the political stars.
The excellent web site American Thinker, which broke the story in the U.S., observes that Ms. Dunn’s Mission to London proves “that the art of packaging politicians transcends ideology and geography,” because “Ms. Dunn has crossed the pond and embraced the conservatives.” I’m not so sure about that. I think it is yet another reminder of how little David Cameron, even though he is the Tory leader, deserves the appellation “conservative.” Not that I doubt Ms. Dun’s venality or her willingness to work for the highest bidder, but in the case of David Cameron, though the package says “Tory,” the substance is squishy Europhilic neo-socialism. Anita Dunn will feel right at home.