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Who are America's Heroes? A Debate with Peter Dreier

Finally, Dreier writes that I make “a serious error in relying on Stanley Kurtz’s book about Obama to learn anything about me.” I have a feeling Dreier is talking about Kurtz’s 2008 book, not his new one. He writes that Kurtz “mentions me in a few places as having some influence on Obama’s political views,” a charge to which he writes “Kurtz has no evidence” at all.

Kurtz’s view, however, is based on an op-ed Dreier co-authored with Marshall Ganz in The Washington Post on Aug. 30, 2009, in which he is described as an advisor to the Obama campaign. Kurtz, who can speak for himself, writes that Dreier’s “vision bears an uncanny resemblance to the overall direction of Obama’s presidency,” and he argues that his work is “useful for piecing together his views and then comparing them to the direction of the Obama administration.”

I should also note that in 2010, Princeton historian Sean Wilentz wrote an article for The New Republic in which he wrote “The dream of the Obama presidency based on a movement model of politics was devised by Marshall Ganz, a veteran union organizer and lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School, hired as an Obama campaign official and charged with training Obama volunteers — and articulated by Ganz’s ally, Peter Dreier, also an Obama adviser, a member of Progressives for Obama, and a politics professor at Occidental College.” Wilentz refers to Dreier as a “publicist” for Obama who regularly heralded the “new age” of America that was coming into being with Barack Obama.

So on this issue, I would suggest that Professor Dreier protests a bit too much.