CNN’s Wolf Blitzer played the role of wise guy during a segment last Thursday on Rep. Allen West and communism. West “sounds like McCarthy,” Blitzer said, referring to his allegations of communists in Congress. The comment was designed to ridicule West, a combat veteran of the Iraq War and a man considered by many Republicans to be vice-presidential material. Blitzer urged West to issue a public apology.
But Blitzer is the one who should apologize, for he did not offer West’s comments in context. Blitzer also ignored clear and convincing evidence that the Communist Party USA, once funded by Moscow, regards the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Democratic Party as allies in the “struggle” for socialism in the U.S.
“What’s the difference between the CPUSA and progressive Democrats?” asked CPUSA writer Dan Margolis. “The CPUSA has worked to get Democrats elected, fought for health care reform with the public option, and embraced most of what organized labor has been doing.”
In the article, described as part of the discussion leading up to the Communist Party USA’s 29th National Convention in 2010, he goes on, “The strategy is pro-active, as well. Having looked at the current troubles, and the demoralization that has occurred since the 2008 elections, our line is even more important: Obama and the Democrats are not the enemy; they represent better possibilities for working people than the Republicans.”
If anything, then, West understated the problem. The CPUSA is working through the Democratic Party as a whole, as well as the Obama Administration. And we have their admission of all of this.
Taking the usual liberal line—that communism is dead and that talk of a communist threat today is just plain nuts—the CNN host of “The Situation Room” displayed his ignorance and bias.
Addressing West’s remarks about communism, Blitzer said, “There’s virtually no,” before cutting himself off in mid-sentence and referring to the collapse of communism in Russia. He must have stopped, knowing that it would be foolish to say communism itself was dead when the world had been transfixed by the spectacle of the communist North Korean regime launching another missile.
It would also seem preposterous to talk about the collapse of communism internationally when, in addition to North Korea, there are communist regimes in China and Cuba. Plus, Russia is run by a former Soviet intelligence officer who is the president-elect of that country and starts a new six-year term on May 7.
In addition, we have cases like that of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, a Marxist aligned with Cuba and Russia.
And if there is no communist presence in the U.S. today, then why did a spokesman for the Communist Party USA give a quote to the left-wing paper Politico denouncing West?
In a story headlined, “Communist Party slams Allen West,” Politico reporter Darius Dixon quoted a CPUSA spokesman as saying about members of the party in Congress: “There aren’t any now and if there were in the future does that mean that the voters don’t have a say?”
Blitzer showed his guests, Democratic strategist Maria Cardona along with Republican strategist Bay Buchanan, partial footage of West’s remarks: “I believe there are 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party.”
Buchanan said, “He has not chosen the best of words. This is a man who is clearly a great American hero, a war hero, but this is a statement I couldn’t agree with.”
Buchanan added, “I would almost like to see what he said following that and did he explain it?”
Well, of course he did. And Blitzer would finally acknowledge that the West quote was about the progressive caucus in Congress. But Blitzer wasn’t convinced: “But you agree, when he says members of the Communist Party, members of the—he should apologize. He should take it back.”
As AIM has reported, West was referring to members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He later issued a statement more fully explaining what he meant. Still, one cannot subject West’s remarks to scrutiny without analyzing why members of the caucus like Rep. Danny Davis accept awards from the Communist Party USA.
Cardona commented, “He seemed pretty sure of himself in that quote and that sound bite. It was almost as if he had seen the cards, Wolf, of the card-carrying members” of the party.
This was the time for Blitzer to provide a history lesson, but he failed to do so. Since he was not interested in bringing forth the case of Davis, he could have mentioned Hugh DeLacy.
A Democratic member of Congress from 1945 to 1947, DeLacy was a CPUSA member, but his party membership was only confirmed after he left the House. After he left Congress, he moved from Washington state to California and lived in a congressional district served by then-Rep. Leon Panetta. Back in 1983 Panetta inserted a tribute into the Congressional Record recognizing DeLacy and his wife Dorothy, another communist, for their commitment to “social justice” and resisting “the dark forces of McCarthyism.” Panetta had provided DeLacy a sensitive congressional document dealing with military affairs.
Challenging “the dark forces of McCarthyism” is interesting language for an official who is supposed to be able to recognize enemies, foreign and domestic. Panetta has served as CIA director and now Secretary of Defense in the Obama Administration, presiding over massive defense cuts. Paying homage to DeLacy helps clear up the mystery of how and why he was selected by Obama to occupy these sensitive national security positions.
The case of Hugh DeLacy, whose membership in the party was later confirmed by CPUSA lawyer John Abt, may help explain why the party spokesman told Politico that there aren’t any party members in Congress “now.” But that technical correction of West’s remarks doesn’t undermine his final point about what the Congressional Progressive Caucus represents. Communists like to call themselves progressives.
If there is any doubt, put the word “progressive” into the CPUSA search engine and see how many times it comes up. I found 68 references.
Although Blitzer used the phrase “sounds like McCarthy” in order to mock West, it bears repeating that the communist threat was much greater than even Senator Joseph McCarthy had feared. The Venona transcripts of communications among Soviet spies in the U.S., many recruited by the Communist Party, and Moscow, demonstrated as many as 350 infiltrators, including numerous high–level government officials.
With some prominent exceptions such as Democratic Rep. Danny Davis, members of Congress do not advertise their work or affiliations with the CPUSA these days. However, as West noted, the party has referred to “our allies in Congress, the Progressive Caucus, and John Conyers,” the Congressman from Michigan who participated in events sponsored by the U.S. Peace Council, the CPUSA front.
The problem is actually much worse than that.
In 2008, CPUSA members such as Joelle Fishman, chair of the political action commission of the CPUSA, openly campaigned for Barack Obama. She wrote, “It was enjoyable to knock on doors and find voters who were enthusiastic and inspired by Obama’s historic candidacy…” They were inspired because they knew that Obama was mentored in Hawaii by CPUSA member Frank Marshall Davis. This was the open secret our media concealed during the 2008 campaign. Professor Paul Kengor will try to bring it back into public view with the release this summer of a book on Davis.
Fishman gave me an interview six months ago talking about the party’s direction in this presidential campaign. It took place at a “progressive” conference that featured Van Jones. The CPUSA is not fielding its own presidential candidate this year, out of deference to Obama.
Trevor Loudon points out that “Joelle Fishman is the daughter-in-law of Soviet spy Victor Perlo. Her role within the Communist Party involves coordinating efforts to elect ‘progressive’ Democrats to state and national office and seeing that the Democrats adopt Communist Party inspired policies.”
Communist writer Dan Margolis himself noted, “…the fact that people confuse us with progressive Democrats is good; it means that we’ve tapped into mainstream sentiment; we’re not off in left field.”
But now that Rep. West has made that same point in a public venue, the CPUSA and the Congressional Progressive Caucus are crying foul. The media echo the party line.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org.