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Is Obama more of a Maoist, or more of a Stalinist? You decide!

@ National Review Online, they're busily debating whether Obama is more of a Maoist or a Stalinist. (Andrew Sullivan: "Yes, they're that crazy.")

Second, and relatedly, Obama's radicalism, beginning with his Alinski/ACORN/community organizer period, is a bottom-up socialism.  This, I'd suggest, is why he fits comfortably with Ayers, who (especially now) is more Maoist than Stalinist.  What Obama is about is infiltrating (and training others to infiltrate) bourgeois institutions in order to change them from within — in essence, using the system to supplant the system.  A key requirement of this stealthy approach (very consistent with talking vaporously about "change" but never getting more specific than absolutely necessary) is electability.  With an enormous assist from the media, which does not press him for specifics, Obama has walked this line brilliantly.  Absent convincing retractions of his prior radical positions, though, we should construe shrewd moves like the ostensibly reasonable Second Amendment position as efforts make him electable. [sic]

This is why Ayers is so important:  it is a peek behind the curtain of Obama's rhetoric.  When he talks about "education reform," that sounds admirable and, given the state of the schools, entirely reasonable.  But when you look at what the Obama/Ayers program really tried to do to the schools (see, e.g., Stanley's work on this), it is radical.  With a guy who speaks in euphemisms — "change," "social justice," "due process," etc. — it is vital to have concrete examples of how these concepts are put into action.

What's interesting to me is how simply and cleanly this translates to "any change from within that we don't like is socialism." Because you know damn well that if they were talking about infiltrating government with radical conservatives, as was done during the Bush and Reagan years, it would be regarded as righteous.

Even though, in socialist terms, it would still be an infiltration of bourgeois institutions. Most of these radical conservatives have never really understood that they, too, were struggling against the bourgeoisie.

Of course, this totally leaves aside the fact that he hasn't actually established either a) an ideological or policy connection between Ayers and Obama, or b) provided any of the "concrete examples" he thinks would be helpful (despite citing Stanley Kurtz's content-free "work").

Sullivan's right: These guys are crazy.

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