web analytics
November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



The Truth About Obama’s Political Roots: An Interview with Historian Paul Kengor

Paul Kengor

Paul Kengor

Arguably, no previous U.S. president has had as many disconcerting friends and associates as Barack Obama. Many Americans know of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and Rashid Khalidi, but few have heard of perhaps the most important figure in Obama’s life: Frank Marshall Davis.

Who was Frank Marshall Davis? In The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor, historian Dr. Paul Kengor writes, “[He] was a pro-Soviet, pro-Red China, card-carrying member of Communist Party. … He did endless Soviet propaganda work in his newspaper columns, at every juncture agitating and opposing U.S. attempts to slow Stalin and Mao in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He favored Red Army takeovers of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Central and Eastern Europe as a whole. … He [also] wanted communist takeovers in Korea and Vietnam.”

Kengor, a professor at Grove City College and a bestselling author, recently spoke to The Jewish Press about The Communist.

The Jewish Press: Your whole book is about one relatively obscure man, Frank Marshall Davis. Why should anyone care about him?

Kengor: Well, if you want to understand any president, you look at his mentor or mentors. I’ve done several biographies of figures as diverse as Ronald Reagan and Hilary Clinton, and it’s just a no-brainer.

So for people who want to know how President Obama can be so clearly on the left, I would argue that a mentor like Frank Marshall Davis, who was a member of Communist Party USA, helps explains that.

Is it clear that Davis was Obama’s mentor?

Yes, and it’s not only my opinion. In the very start of the book, I quote about a dozen different Obama and Davis biographers – people who are sympathetic [to Davis and Obama] – and they all describe Davis’s relationship with Obama in a mentor-like way.

Obama met Davis in Hawaii in the 1970s. Why did Davis move to Hawaii when he was so successful writing columns for a communist newspaper in Chicago?

That’s a mystery. In his memoirs, Davis makes it sound like he moved to Hawaii in 1948 almost on a lark.

But I believe, and the FBI file on Davis makes this pretty clear, that the Communist Party was behind Davis’s move to Hawaii. The Soviet Union had been agitating in Hawaii throughout the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s. They were trying to keep Hawaii from becoming a U.S. state; they wanted it to be a communist country.

Remember, it was precisely at this time – in the 1940s, and 50s – when communism was spreading to China, Korea, Vietnam, and the whole Pacific area. Hawaii was a major target. If you want to know Hawaii’s strategic importance, just look at Pearl Harbor.

In discussing Davis’s long-term effect on Obama, you mention a former Marxist, Professor John Drew, who went to college with Obama and maintains the president was a Marxist at the time.

Yes, Drew claims Obama was introduced to him as “one of us.” He says Obama had this Frank Marshall Davis fantasy of immanent revolution in America. Drew actually disagreed with Obama; he was a more realistic Marxist and tried telling Obama he was naïve – that America was not going to become a communist country – but he said Obama actually believed he could do that.

Now, I don’t argue in the book that Obama’s a communist, but I do think that at one point he might have been, and if so, Frank Marshall Davis, more than anybody else, explains that.

What would you tell people who might argue that everything you’re talking about happened a long time ago and therefore has no bearing on who Barack Obama is today?

That’s a fair question. I mean, when I was in college, I was an agnostic, borderline atheist, and now I’m a devout Catholic. So people change. But with Obama, if he’s changed, we should know how and where and when and why.

In my last book, Dupes, I talk about how Ronald Reagan joined communist front groups at one point, but Reagan wrote all about how he left that. Where’s the conversion narrative for Obama?

Stanley Kurz has produced documents that show that in 1996 Obama joined the socialist New Party. So I can picture Obama on the Marxist left in 1980, on the socialist left in 1996, and today somewhere between socialism and liberalism. I can accept that, but if so, tell us about it. Say, “Okay, I was raised by some radical forces, but I’ve moved away from that.” If that’s the case, say it.

About the Author: Elliot Resnick is a Jewish Press staff reporter and author of “Movers and Shakers: Sixty Prominent Personalities Speak Their Mind on Tape” (Brenn Books).


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

9 Responses to “The Truth About Obama’s Political Roots: An Interview with Historian Paul Kengor”

  1. Mark Davis says:

    Despite gross misrepresentation of the Obama-Davis relationship, there is NO evidence that Davis was Obama's "mentor," as claimed throughout the conservative blogosphere.

    Although Obama's book indicates "Frank" was a family friend who offered him advice on racial issues, Obama wrote that Davis "fell short" and his views were "incurable." Obama's book proves that Obama did not consider Davis to be a "wise and trusted counselor," which is the standard definition of "mentor." By what creative definition can Davis be considered his "mentor"?

    Further, according to "Dreams," Obama visited Davis only twice on his own after visiting with Gramps: once to discuss his grandmother's bus stop incident, and three years later before leaving for college. When could any "communist" training occur?

    Correlation does not imply causation. There is no evidence that Davis discussed politics or economics with Obama, much less any evidence that he discussed socialism. There is no evidence that Obama or Gramps were even aware of Davis's CPUSA involvement. Such propaganda is par for the course in the Conservative Disinformation Network.

  2. Rhonda Ellis says:

    Mark Davis you are the son of Frank Marshall Davis and you are a disinformation specialist for the CIA. You are not credible. Your daddy was a communist and is likely not only the mentor of Barack Obama but also your half brother too. It is quite obvious Obama is a Marxist and is intentionally destroying the free-market capitalist system of the greatest country in world history. He is best buddies with George Soros and all the Union leaders. His actions speak louder than words.

  3. Milt Cross says:

    President Obama in Roanoke Virginia July 13, 2012 ‘If You’ve Got a Business — You Didn’t Build That. Obama to Joe the Plumber, “I want to spread the wealth around.” Obama: “I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students, the foreign students, the Chicanos, the Marxist professors." ~ Barack Obama (Dreams From My Father.) Obama, Commie mother, commie father, commie grandparents, commie mentor, commie friends…… commie Barack. Not too difficult to figure this out.
    Election2012 Capitalism or Socialism. Your choice.

  4. Jason Lipstein says:

  5. Eric McCay says:

    Obama is probably a CIA employee (John Pilger). I think we can assume that Bill Ayers and Ronald Reagan were COINTELPRO insiders.

  6. Tom Hallock says:

    Surprised to see such McCarthy like slurs in this media!

  7. Philip Turner says:

    Unfortunately, this paper is a regularly right-wing outlet.

  8. it has no place. but anything to disparge Obama

  9. Mark Davis says:

    My, what an ACTIVE imagination! Such delusions are par for the course in Right-Wing Fantasyland. My condolences!

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Lutfu Turkkan, Turkish legislator, introduced legislation into Turkish parliament to label Israel a terrorist state
Turkish Legislator Pens Bill Naming Israel Terrorist State
Latest Indepth Stories
Red Line Obama

“What’s a line between friends?”

West_Bank_&_Gaza_Map_2007_(Settlements)

Unrest in YESHA and J’m helps Abbas and Abdullah defuse anger, gain politically and appear moderates

Thousands of rabbis pose in front of Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters in Brooklyn on Sunday during the annual International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries.

A “Shliach” means to do acts with complete devotion and dedication in order to help bring Moshiach.

Arabs create opening for terrorists to walk the security wall between Ramallah and Jerusalem and Ramallah.

The pogroms in Chevron took place eighty five years ago, in 1929; the Holocaust began seventy-five years ago in 1939; the joint attack of Israel’s neighbors against the Jewish State of Israel happened sixty-six years ago… yet, world history of anti-Semitism did not stop there, but continues until today. Yes, the primitive reality of Jews […]

“We don’t just care for the children; we make sure they have the best quality of life.”

“Why do people get complacent with the things they’re told?”

Arab opposition to a Jewish State of any size was made known by word and deed in the form of terror

Operation Moses: First time in history that non-blacks came to Africa to free blacks from oppression

As Arabs murder and maim Jews, Jordan’s leaders bark the blood libel of “Israeli aggression.”

Perhaps attacking a terrorist’s legacy broadly and publicly would dissuade others from terrorism?

R’ Aryeh yelled “Run, I’ll fight!” Using a chair against terrorists to buy time so others could flee

Riot started when Muslim students wore the Pal. kaffiyeh and Druze students demanded them removed

The “Media” didn’t want us to know what a kind, giving, loving young woman Dalia was.

A “Palestine” could become another Lebanon, with many different factions battling for control.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

Having a strong community presence at the polls shows our elected officials we care about the issues

More Articles from Elliot Resnick
Daniel Jonah Goldhagen

You can’t say “Jewish French,” “Jewish British,” “Jewish Italian.” They are “French Jews,” “British Jews,” and “Italian Jews” – because they’re seen as Jews first and residents or citizens of their countries second.

Joshua Klein

Another thing they have been covering up is the nature of the building that was attacked. To this day people refer to it as a consulate or an embassy, but it wasn’t.

The reality is that civility is less important than clarity, and right now only very few people on the Left are interested in having a civil conversation about the merits of particular policy solutions.

Rabinovich is the author of several popular books on Israel’s wars, including The Battle for Jerusalem, The Yom Kippur War, and The Boats of Cherbourg.

I think Seth Lipsky is amazing, but it just drives home the point that newspapers have a lot of moving parts.

Can teenagers seriously be expected to behave properly when they are surrounded by so much suggestive material? Is it fair to expose them (and ourselves) to so much temptation and then tell them, “Just say no”?

If you remember, in 2006, a Jewish kid in Paris, Ilan Halimi, was abducted, beaten, and held hostage for three weeks… These are the kinds of people attending these Gaza solidarity rallies.

King Solomon said it long ago: “Cast your bread upon the waters” because you don’t know when you’ll hit something. Our job is to do.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/the-truth-about-obamas-political-roots-an-interview-with-historian-paul-kengor/2012/08/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: