October 6th, 2010
Dr. Paul Kengor, National Review
When you write a book, particularly one that requires several years of research, you tend to encounter a bunch of unexpected information. Sometimes you find things that, if reported, will undoubtedly prompt partisans to demand you explain yourself. For me, this begins that process of explaining, given that one of the major characters in my new book on American Communists, Dupes, is Frank Marshall Davis.
Allegations regarding Davis’s Communism are sure to infuriate the Left because of the influence Davis once had over our president. He was a drinking buddy of Barack Obama’s maternal grandfather, Stanley Dunham, and spent time with young Obama. He turns up in the president’s memoir, Dreams from My Father, shrewdly identified only as “Frank”: “I was intrigued by old Frank, with his books and whiskey breath and the hint of hard-earned knowledge behind the hooded eyes.” Recently, a U.S. Communist-party official confirmed the relationship, bragging in a speech of the Communist Davis’s formative influence over Obama. And yet when the allegations surfaced during the 2008 campaign, they went virtually unreported in the mainstream media.
After an almost four-year-long sojourn in which I tried to ascertain whether Davis was a progressive duped by Communists, or, conversely, a Communist who duped progressives, I determined the latter. No doubt, this conclusion — which means the leader of the free world was strongly influenced by a Marxist — will bring the unholy wrath of liberals. Yet, they should brace themselves for another kind of anger. Once they read what Davis did and wrote, they might redirect their rage. In truth, Davis’s targets were mainly Democrats, and especially a Democratic icon, Harry Truman. What Davis said about Truman was unbelievably outrageous. Worse, he said it because it was the Moscow line.