Obama’s Ideological Soul Mate
This past Monday, Glenn Beck introduced Americans to Deepak Bhargava, the former ACORN official who has spent the past 15 years with the Center for Community Change (CCC), where he now serves as Executive Director. CCC recruits and trains activists to spearhead leftist “political issue campaigns” – modeling its training techniques on those of the famed radical organizer Saul Alinsky, whose method of stealth revolution and infiltration deeply influenced a young community organizer in Chicago named Barack Obama. Thus it is no surprise that Bhargava’s enthusiasm for Obama’s presidency is quite profound.
Early in 2009 Bhargava, who serves as a board member for the far-left periodical The Nation and for George Soros’s Open Society Institute (which seeks to fundamentally transform American politics and culture in so many ways), was a guest speaker at an event titled “Advancing Change in the Age of Obama,” where he told an audience of supporters a great deal about what makes him tick.
Bhargava lamented, for instance, that “widely shared prosperity” historically had been difficult to achieve in America because the country “is still deeply structured by racism.” He cited the Reagan era as a low point in American history, where “we had a cultural kind of revolution in this country — the idea that greed is good, that suspicion of our neighbors at home and abroad is just and justified.”
Bhargava explained that his mindset during the pre-Obama years had been reflexively contrarian, a hallmark of the political left:
“I spent my entire career basically not having a lot of trouble figuring out what I was gonna say the next day in response to a reporter. I was opposed to it. You could pretty much name it; I was opposed to it.”
But this attitude had undergone “a pretty radical shift in orientation,” he said, with the ascension of an ally like Obama to the White House. Explaining that it “takes a dynamic relationship between political leadership and outside movements in order to produce these kinds of crucible changes, these big changes,” Bhargava described President Obama as a figure capable of bringing about the “structural changes” of “enormous” magnitude that would be “required” to set America on a proper path. Referring to Obama as “the country’s first Community-Organizer-in-Chief,” Bhargava said:
“I feel really lucky to be alive at a time when I think transformational progressive change is possible, because those moments in American history are very rare.”
“We know from history that there are at least three ingredients [required] for that transformational change to happen. We do need visionary leadership that is capable of building durable coalitions. We need big crises, economic, foreign policy and otherwise that force the breakdown of old paradigms and old ways of seeing the world. And most importantly, we need independent social movements that create public will, that generate ideas that deliver votes.”
He later said that “the economic crisis” of 2008 had provided a “great ideological opening” for the left – a statement reminiscent of Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s infamous assertion that “a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.”
Bhargava also called for the creation of an economic system that “values our collective quality of life more than the private accumulation of wealth.” In a similar spirit, he advocated “a more robust role for government” in the lives of the American people. And, anticipating the types of massive government programs (the stimulus package, cap-and-trade, health care reform, etc.) which President Obama would seek to implement with a great sense of urgency, Bhargava said: “we’re going to have to probably get better at moving fast” because “change happens in big leaps.”
Bhargava and Obama are ideological soul mates. Through his work with CCC, Bhargava is in a position to do a great deal to advance the President’s agendas with blazing speed.