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Ron Radosh

Conservatives and the Delusions of the Left

December 5th, 2008 - 3:23 pm

Melanie Phillips is a writer whose yeoman work in defense of Israel and whose critique of radical Islam and its threat to the West is second to none. Her book Londonistan is a clarion call for us to wake up and to ignore the threat of radical Islam at our own peril.

I had the pleasure to finally meet her a few weeks ago, and to have the chance to engage in  a brief conversation. As much as I admire her I have profound disagreements with her column today in the British Spectator.  She came across a blog written by former members of the extremist wing of the 1960′s Students for a Democratic Society, including members of the Weathermen and the Weather Underground.

They make the following claims: Obama was only pretending to lean towards the political center. In fact, he is a committed partisan of the far Left, whose pragmatic centrist strategy is but a shield for the real agenda he will deliver on in the future. Mark Rudd therefore see him as a genius, who understands that a more left-wing Congress will turn against him later. In the meantime, he has the public’s support for small steps, that will become large once momentum is built. It is a strategy of: “feint to the right, move left.” The progressive second string appointments like John Podesta will really be the ones to make policy—not his main Cabinet picks.

Ex Weatherman Jeff Jones agrees. Hillary Clinton is not a hawk; she was picked as a cover for him to adopt an anti-war position. Similarly, his economic team is a cover for extorting a new green industrial revolution in America, and finally, financial resources will be distributed downwards to the people. The centrists are but a “smokescreen” as he co-opts the moderate center and veers to the Left.

As I read the words of these unreconstructed leftwing extremists, I see a group of delusional people living in the dream world of their defunct ideology. The team that Obama has chosen are anything but people of the Left, even though at one time or another in their past, some of them may have been.

What is surprising is that Melanie Phillips actually seems to think that they are correct- that Obama is a stealth Marxist whose appointments are sham fronts meant to allow him to impose a secret left-wing agenda. She writes: “Just like me they believe Obama is practicing stealth politics with a degree of sophistication and success with which ‘even Lenin would be impressed.’…Obama knows that he must be subtle and reassure even the most conservative of his opponents if he is to achieve his radical goals.”

I have a simple retort to this: If you have radical goals, why appoint all your key people from the center and center/right?   As David Horowitz has written on his own blog on www.frontpagemag.com (you will find his blog on the left of the website under his photo) “conservatives need to get a grip.” He continues: “Now, as president-elect he has just formed the most conservative foreign policy team since John F. Kennedy, one well to the right of Bill Clinton. ..What is more relevant in his Hillary Clinton pick — her prickly past or the fact that except for Joe Lieberman, she is the Democrat most identified with support for the Iraq War?” And he goes on to note that Obama has appointed a conservative former Marine as his National Security Advisor, and kept Robert Gates on as Secretary of Defense.

But Melanie Phillips is not buying any of this. She argues that people like me and Horowitz have joined the ignorant public and the media and have “fallen for Obama’s stealth politics hook, line and sinker” and hence our “guard is now totally lowered.” But I have one question for Melanie: why, in making your estimate of Barack Obama, do you defer to the delusionary intellectual admonishments of the, far Left—who are and have been so out of touch with America for decades?  For anyone of a centrist or conservative bent, the most foolish thing to do is to take your cues from people like these.  Rudd and Jones are not “the horse’s mouth.” They are simply ideological thinkers who were proven to be fools a long time ago. We join them at our own folly.

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