A new book due out Tuesday makes the case that Frank Marshall Davis, a card-carrying member of the Communist Party, mentored Barack Obama when he lived in Hawaii.
In researching “The Communist,” Kengor combed over Davis’ recently released FBI profile and his voluminous writings to show something many other authors and journalists have either ignored or failed to grasp: Davis was a communist who had an early hand in shaping the future president’s political beliefs.
Davis’ influence was apparent when Obama was in his late teens. John Drew, who knew him at Occidental College, told Kengor that “Obama was already an ardent Marxist when I met him in the fall of 1980.”
Kengor is careful not to accuse Obama of being a closeted communist or Communist Party member. But he notes that Davis’ influence would explain why Obama was so well versed in Marxist orthodoxy so early in his college days.
“[W]hat — or, better still, who — explains Obama’s Marxist political thinking at the time, fresh out of Hawaii?” Kengor asks in his book. “The obvious answer is Frank Marshall Davis.”
Since that time, Obama has never spoken of a “conversion” from these convictions.
“If Obama was on the Marxist-Leninist left, we have no accounting, from Obama or anyone, of a switch,” Kengor writes. “Quite the contrary, in Obama’s memoirs, we hear about him attending socialist conferences and ‘hanging out’ with Marxist professors, but never any repudiation of those conferences, professors, or even a tiny, passing comment suggesting these were fanciful musings from a politically misguided youth.”
Instead, Obama still seems to eerily echo his former mentor’s economic beliefs, Kengor argues. He writes that Davis “suggested economic recovery ideas hauntingly close to what President Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress pursued in 2009 and 2010.”
Like Obama would advocate years later, Davis believed “the goal was not for business or Wall Street or individual businessmen and corporations to stimulate the economy, but for ‘taxes’ to be redistributed by the federal government.”
Davis wrote that “tax money should flow into shovel-ready ‘public works projects’ and be redirected and redistributed into ‘increased social security benefits, health insurance, education and low cost housing.'” This, Kengor writes, along with Davis’ suggestion of “using tax money for ‘health insurance,'” now has a familiar ring.
Despite policy similarities, media accounts have largely ignored Davis’ communist political philosophy. For example, Kengor calls David Remnick’s definitive biography on Obama, “The Bridge,” entirely “scandalous in its omissions” about Davis beliefs.
“In Remnick’s section on Frank,” Kengor writes, “the words ‘communist,’ ‘Marxist,’ ‘CPUSA’ [Communist Party USA], ‘Soviet Union,’ ‘USSR,’ ‘Russia,’ or a host of other words that established the dominant extreme-left themes in Frank’s political writings across multiple decades … appear just once: Remnick concludes his discussion of Frank with a shot at the ‘right-wing blogosphere,’ which, when Obama was running for president, allegedly smeared Frank as (in Remnick’s words) ‘a card-carrying Communist, a pornographer, a pernicious influence. The attacks were loud and unrelenting.'”
Kengor’s answer, in part, is “27544.” That’s the number on Davis official CPUSA membership card.