He is a communist, but describes himself as progressive. He expects Christians to support his ideas and vision for America, but advocates philosophies and policies often antithetical to Christian doctrine.
This is not a description of President Barack Obama, but it does describe one of Obama’s most influential mentors, according to Paul Kengor, author of “The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, the Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.”
Speaking Friday morning at Heritage Foundation headquarters in Washington, D.C., Kengor told the audience that the anti-American and racist worldview of Obama’s other mentor— the controversial Reverend Jeremiah Wright— “is tame” compared to what Davis advocated.
“Never before has an American president ever quite had a mentor like this,” Kengor said.
Davis, whom Stanley Anne Dunham—Obama’s mother—had introduced to her young son, was, quite literally, “a card carrying member of the Communist Party.”
Indeed, Davis was founding editor-in-chief of the Chicago Star, a communist publication. Davis later moved to Hawaii to help run a party publication, the Honolulu Record. His associations with people having a “direct connection to the Kremlin”—which sought to agitate anti-imperialist sentiments on the islands—is the reason “why the FBI listed him on the security index.”
“Davis was constantly, on and on, bashing the American way,” Kengor said.
As indicated in Obama’s memoir, Dreams from My Father, Jeremiah Wright probably had his greatest influence on Obama in the 1980s; Davis, however, had about “a good ten year period” to exert such influence during Obama’s formative years, Kengor said.
“I can’t imagine Davis not going on diatribes” against corporations, against Harry Truman and Winston Churchill—both whom Davis hated— in front of Obama,” Kengor said. “Davis was purely political,” and every facet of his life reflected his radical politics.
Davis’s involvement with the Communist Party is well-documented by the FBI, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the House Un-American Activities Committee, Kengor found out in his research.
Davis, it was discovered, worked for some of the most seditious communist groups imaginable, according to congressional reports.
He noted that when Davis was investigated by the Senate Judiciary committee, “Democrats led the inquiry about his Soviet connections” rather than Republicans such as Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R. Wis.
“He was pursued by anti-McCarthys, not by Joe McCarthy,” he said.
Kengor said Democrats—some of whom have been the biggest critics of his research—“need to realize that guys like Davis were not their friends. This guy was brutal to Democrats.”
Davis would play the race card anytime, he said. He called congressional investigators racist, claiming they were simply opposed to his civil rights work.
But according to Kengor, there is not a single reference in the voluminous congressional documents that investigators had shown interest in his civil rights work—though there are, on the other hand, “volumes on his communist connections and advocacy.”
He acknowledged that Davis later in life went “underground,” and then in the 1960s started running for office as Democrat. According to Kengor, there is a strategic explanation for that apparent change in loyalties.
Communists like Davis always saw Democrats as “useful idiots,” he said.
That’s the kind of radical left background Obama comes from, according to Kengor.
No wonder, then, that the Obama memoir mentions Davis twenty-two times, but not once uses his full name, Kengor pointed out.
Obama’s publisher must have recognized the “the political sensitivity” that would have been generated by documenting that Obama got “his greatest influence from a communist. “
No editor would allow an author to leave out a person’s full name—twenty-two times, no less—without asking who this person was. It must have been addressed at some point, according to Kengor.
“I’d like to hear that conversation with the editor,” he said.
Kengor discussed how he had interviewed Obama’s former schoolmate John Drew, who headed Occidental College’s campus communist organization. Drew, who became a conservative later in life, told him that Obama “was introduced to me as one of us – a Marxist.”
Kengor acknowledged that it is possible for people from radical backgrounds to change as they get older.
But Obama, who has written two memoirs before becoming president, has never indicated such a change from his former Marxist-leaning days. Kengor said he does not believe Obama is communist, though he is certainly far to the left of the political spectrum—even farther left than liberal such as the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“If Obama changed, where is that conversion story?” Kengor asked.
Kengor said he expects to be completely ignored by the mainstream media for his research.
“I’m going to be attacked in all sorts of ways… I’m really going to get hammered for this,” he said. “When you call Davis a communist, people will call you a racist.”
Kengor pointed out that it is critical for people to make distinctions between liberals and communists—a distinction he took seriously when writing The Communist. When people carelessly mislabel, they risk being accused of calling everyone a communist.
But he stands by conviction, based on thorough research, that President Obama’s key mentor indeed was a communist. Having confirmed that fact, according to Kengor, “it would be irresponsible” if he had not written this book.