Mitt Romney’s underwear, Ron Paul’s newsletters and Barack Obama’s grades

What did Barack Obama do in college?

That’s the question I had when reading “Now that we have dirt on everyone,” a recent piece by Jack Shafer, the media critic for Reuters. “Each day, the morning editions bring us additional sleaze, flip-flops, and embarrassments from the candidates’ pasts,” Shafer writes. “We learn about our candidates’ legislative histories, their leveraged buyout histories (that would be you, Mitt and Newt), their adventures on K Street (take a bow, Newt and Rick #2), the filth and fury discovered in their back pages (hello, Ron!), the casual racism of a parent (Rick #1), and their military resumes. … And if they’ve generated any sort of paper trail from tax liens, divorce proceedings, campaign-finance filings, or civil actions — or if there is a reusable disgrace from past campaigns — we read and re-read all about it, too.” Shafer’s point is that there is so much of this stuff, that ultimately it is ineffective. It just reveals that the candidates are flawed human beings, as we all are.

So why doesn’t anyone know what Barack Obama did in college? The answer is more complicated than you think. Obama did indeed become a socialist during his college years, but not the kind of socialist you might expect. It’s a fascinating story that the White House has buried and the media’s gatekeepers have dutifully ignored — including Shafer. (I mean, Jack Shafer is the guy who got monkeyfished. He’s not exactly going to pick up on something as complex as American socialism in the 1980s, when Obama was in college.)

One man who does understand those years, and Obama’s conversion to a particular form of socialism, is Stanley Kurtz. Kurtz is the author of the book “Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism.” The book was published in 2010, and will be released in paperback in October, right before the election. If I were the publisher, I would get it out sooner.

Perhaps between now and the election Shafer and the rest of the media can find the time to read a copy of “Radical-in-Chief.” Kurtz’s book is shocking, but not because President Obama is a Stalinist who wants to roll tanks through the streets crushing the opposition of free people. Obama formed his political consciousness when socialism was split (as it always seems to be) between factions. One side advocated the violent overthrow of the America system. The other, led by a man named Michael Harrington, was more incrementalist. That’s the side Obama choose — socialism stealth, socialism lite. Its goal is to quietly infiltrate the Democratic Party through “community organizing,” and drag the DNC to the far left, thus causing a class conflict that will trigger revolution. From there the left would “fundamentally transform” America by slowly changing her institutions. One way the change would come is by spending so much money that there is an economic crisis that causes the system to collapse. Another is by slowly driving the objections of the human conscience out of the public square and underground. Thus the recent Justice Department litigation attempting to force religious institutions to hire people who disagree with their core missions.