Joe McCarthy: Despicable Or Prophetic?

A recent column I wrote on communism in Hollywood in the 1940s elicited strong reaction toward the person of Joe McCarthy. This was somewhat perplexing, given that McCarthy was not the front-and-center figure investigating Hollywood communism. Yet, it wasn’t surprising, given that any mention of the Stalinist sympathies of American communists prompts liberals into reflexive accusations of McCarthyism.

For the record, the investigation of communism in Hollywood was led by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, which (for most of its existence) was chaired by anti-communist Democrats. The first and last heads of HCUAA (commonly but incorrectly abbreviated as “HUAC”) were Democrats: Martin Dies (Texas) and Richard Ichord (Missouri). There is much history there, but I’d like to focus here on Joe McCarthy.

“McCarthy ruined many careers and many lives,” one reader emailed me. “His name is a disgrace to America. He was a despicable human being.”

To be sure, there is no way I can here adequately resolve McCarthy’s vilification or vindication. I have colleagues I respect on both sides of that debate. My general judgment is that Joe McCarthy certainly had his failings, clearly was not always right, but also—we’ve learned—was more often right than his detractors imagined, feared, or would grudgingly concede.

Before briefly considering both sides, one thing must be understood by everyone, especially liberals: Joe McCarthy and the Senate and House of Representatives were fully justified in investigating domestic communism. (Senator McCarthy was never a member of “HUAC.”) Communist Party USA members literally swore a loyalty oath to Stalin’s Soviet Union, pledging to work to “insure the triumph of Soviet Power in the United States.” One of the Hollywood Ten, Edward Dymytryk, the only one who openly regretted joining the Party, was appalled when fellow Party members told him that in a war between the United States and USSR, they would fight for Moscow. They devotedly sided with an ideology that killed over 100 million, double the combined tolls of World War I and II.

Communist Party USA, which secretly and illegally received an annual subsidy from Moscow, was not just another political party. Its members actively worked against America and for Stalin. They were committed to overthrowing the U.S. government and replacing it with what Communist Party head William Z. Foster termed a “Soviet America.” Congress, of course, is constitutionally tasked with investigating domestic security threats. Thus, Democrats and Republicans alike believed they had to investigate this. To not do so would violate their sworn oaths—to America. Joe McCarthy was one of them.

Fair enough. The question, however, was how McCarthy then proceeded in that task.

As for his failings, liberals need no persuading. They view McCarthy as a fire-breathing monster who wrecked careers with unfounded innuendo. It is conservatives who usually need swaying on McCarthy’s failings. I would point them to the original 1954 classic by William F. Buckley Jr. and L. Brent Bozell, McCarthy and His Enemies, which listed 86 objections to the senator and his methods.

As to where McCarthy was right, I recommend the 2007 book by M. Stanton Evans, Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies. The material on China is astounding. The information on what really happened with McCarthy’s notorious list of communists is stunning. The section on Edward R. Murrow and Annie Lee Moss is maddening. The chapter, “The Caveman in the Sewer,” is infuriating. Evans listed numerous names of real communists who did terrible damage. And that’s just a brief snapshot of a 663-page book.

To be sure, Evans’ book has its critics, including Cold War historians I respect. Nonetheless, Evans marshalled a lifetime of research on McCarthy, producing the most eye-opening revisionist history on the man. If his book is only half right, that would be enough to force some major reappraisals by liberals who have long viewed Joe McCarthy as a worse demon than Joe Stalin. Liberals who refuse to read this book do so at peril to their service to truth.

Of course, the McCarthy debate will continue. Yet, information declassified and now available long after his death resolves the most important dispute: The anti-communist senator was justified in his fears that communists had indeed heavily penetrated the country. The latest research, particularly by Larry Ceplair, Steven Englund, and Allan Ryskind, estimate 200-300 communists operating in Hollywood in the late 1940s, always under concealment. And the crucial Venona decryptions yield over 350 communists in U.S. government positions during World War II, poised to do Stalin’s devastating work in Europe.

Joe McCarthy was right about this: these communists—along with the non-communist leftists they influenced—caused some serious damage. In fact, there may have been more of them causing more damage than even he feared.

Editor’s note: A shorter version of this article first appeared in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Exposed: The Clintons’ Pornographer

“When Larry Flynt is feeling righteous, he describes himself as a crusader: for civil liberties in general and free speech in particular.” So begins a profile of porn king Larry Flynt in Bloomberg. “But now Bloomberg Politics can exclusively report that the impresario behind the Hustler empire is adding a new element to his persona: Flynt is officially ready for Hillary.”

Bloomberg was present for the “bestowal of Flynt’s blessing on Clinton,” granted from the pornographer’s sprawling abode high above L.A.’s Wilshire Boulevard, which had the “look of an unholy, Hollywood Babylon hybrid of Tara and the Uffizi.”

It took little prompting to get Flynt’s enthusiastic endorsement of the feminist icon: “I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton for president!” declared the man who has made gazillions photographing nude women in every imaginable pose.

Bloomberg notes that Flynt’s backing of Clinton is “on the face of it, unsurprising.” The porn king has always been a big fan of Democrats, for whom his advocacy “has been lifelong and unfailing.” In fact, noted the Bloomberg reporter, one of Flynt’s better political pals is California Governor Jerry Brown, who, coincidentally, happened to be next in waiting to see Flynt that afternoon.

Flynt does not like Republicans. With its usual flare for understatement, his magazine proclaims George W. Bush the “A–hole of the Century.” Coming from Larry Flynt, Bush can take that as a giant positive.

Bloomberg noted the “animating impulse” behind Flynt’s endorsement: the future of the Supreme Court. “If Hillary gets in,” explains the Hustler publisher, “chances are she’s going to have an opportunity to appoint two, maybe three justices… and we could shift the balance there.” No question about that.

But Larry Flynt is not only hyped for Hillary. The Bloomberg piece includes this revealing passage on Flynt’s admiration of Hillary’s husband, which he claims is mutual:

That Flynt holds a special place in his heart for 42 [Bill Clinton] is evident, and Flynt claims that the feeling is mutual. In 2006, the two men ran into each other at a fundraiser in Las Vegas for Jimmy Carter’s son, Jack, who was running for Senate in Nevada. According to Flynt, Bill Clinton—apparently still grateful for the porn king’s role in the downfall of [Republican House Speaker-to-be] Bob Livingston, a key moment in the deflation of the impeachment bubble—walked over, shook Flynt’s hand, and said, “You’re my hero.” As I prepare to leave, Flynt shows me a photo on his desk of him and Clinton from the fundraiser, noting that the former president has denied the quote in question. “He can say whatever he wants,” Flynt chuckles. “I have three witnesses.”

Fascinating scenario, is it not? Flynt and Bill Clinton grabbing and grinning thankfully at a Vegas fundraiser for the son of born-again Baptist President Jimmy Carter, the Democrats’ moral exemplar. And Bill embraces the porn master as his hero? And Flynt even has a picture? And Clinton denies it? Gee, who do we believe in this one? Who would Hillary believe?

While he was at it, Bill should’ve asked Flynt for a donation to his and Hillary’s foundation. In fact, I wonder if Flynt ever provided one….

I’m somewhat familiar with the Clintons’ unique relationship with this political bedfellow. In my 2007 book on the faith of Hillary Clinton, God and Hillary Clinton, I detailed a scarcely acknowledged fact concerning the Clinton years—namely, that Bill’s presence in the Oval Office was a boon for the porn industry.

This was captured in an excellent 2002 PBS documentary called “American Porn,” done by Frontline. It quoted Mark Cromer, producer of the X-rated Hustler Video: “When [Bill] Clinton comes in,” said Cromer of Clinton’s arrival at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, “it’s definitely blue skies and green lights and fat bank accounts.”

The green light was directly traceable to the Clinton administration. In the 1980s, the porn industry had been on the ropes, targeted by the Reagan administration, notably the vigilant efforts of Attorney General Ed Meese. Then, in the early 1990s, federal porn prosecutions suddenly halted with the arrival of the Clinton administration and its “different priorities” under the Clinton-Janet Reno Justice Department. “Under Attorney General Reno,” noted Frontline, “federal prosecutions slowed dramatically, and the obscenity task force effectively went out of business.”

The obscenely racist—yes, not just sexist but racist—Hustler magazine was so ecstatic with the Clinton era and all its happenings, legally and symbolically, emanating both from and under Bill’s Oval Office desk, that Larry Flynt went to bat for Bill during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, investigating the sexual lives of the president’s opponents. So busy was Flynt that the late Michael Kelly, the superb Washington Post columnist, christened Flynt “the president’s pornographer.”

Flynt is the first to gratefully admit that the porn industry enjoyed a resurrection under Mrs. Clinton’s husband, until things soured again for a time under George W. Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft.

That’s another subject. As for Hillary Clinton, however, Flynt is again excited. And his excitement relates to a crucial factor ignored by Bloomberg and others: abortion. It’s the elephant on the porn set.

Larry Flynt and his industry—from performers to peddlers to consumers—need abortion badly. They must have it. And there’s no one more extreme in supporting abortion than Hillary Clinton. In my book on Hillary, I laid out at length her striking stridency on abortion, going all the way back to her Arkansas gynecologist and friend, William F. Harrison, who for decades was the state’s leading abortionist, mutilating tens of thousands of unborn babies. I interviewed Harrison several times for the book. He adored Hillary and described her as a fellow “pro-choice Methodist.”

Hillary is now well beyond “pro-choice Methodist.” Her statements in recent years, especially the horrific remarks she made on the Hobby Lobby case (click here for an analysis), reveal Hillary Clinton to be an abortion fanatic. She is utterly unhinged on the issue, radical beyond all boundaries.

Of course, that’s what Larry Flynt and the porn industry need; they crave an abortion zealot in the White House who will battle to keep the doors of the “clinics” wide open. When Larry and his friends inseminate a woman whose purpose is to serve strictly as their pleasure unit, and her contraception fails to fend off their sperm, they need abortion to discard the undesired byproduct. When one of his industry’s female performers accidentally gets pregnant, threatening to bloat the physical figure that is the object of Flynt’s customers’ desires, that girl needs Planned Parenthood. Hillary will fight to keep that spigot flowing.

Never mind, of course, that this blatant sexual objectification and exploitation of women for purely selfish male-centered reasons ought to infuriate feminists like Mrs. Clinton. For radical feminists, any man’s litany of sins is forgiven at the altar of their most blessed sacrament: abortion.

Just ask Hillary’s husband. Bill intimately learned of abortion’s reverence in the feminist church. My favorite anecdote illustrating the point was the infamous proclamation of journalist Nina Burleigh, who in the 1990s covered the White House for Time. Defending Bill Clinton’s sexual ruination of very young women (interns, no less) within the confines of the nation’s first house, Burleigh in 1998 wrote of her president: “I’d be happy to give him [oral sex] just to thank him for keeping abortion legal.” Burleigh recommended: “I think American women should be lining up with their presidential kneepads on, to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.”

Now there’s a vision of American women that Larry Flynt would heartily endorse. But for 2016, he’s content with his dream of a woman named Clinton elected to the White House. She’ll keep the theocracy off Flynt’s back—and the doors to abortion clinics wide open.

This commentary was originally published at The American Spectator and is reprinted here with permission. 

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Here’s The Man Who Could Redefine Marriage…

A recent profile of Justice Anthony Kennedy begins with this: “The Irish Catholic boy who came of age in Sacramento after World War II is an unlikely candidate to be the author of the Supreme Court’s major gay rights rulings. But those who have known Justice Anthony Kennedy for decades and scholars who have studied his work say he has long stressed the importance of valuing people as individuals.”

Well, like Kennedy, I’m also Catholic; and I likewise value all people as individuals, including gay people—as does my Roman Catholic Church and Pope Francis. But why must we, therefore, reject our faith’s millennia-old, traditional-natural-biblical teaching on marriage as between one man and one woman? That’s the question, and not just for Catholics but countless non-Catholic Christians.

For Catholics faithful to their Church’s teachings, the Justice Kennedy scenario is increasingly maddening, if not dismaying. They are looking at the prospect of marriage being redefined in America based on the swing vote of this lifelong Catholic. They’re not optimistic, especially given Kennedy’s shockingly relativistic views expressed in previous major court decisions.

The most notorious was Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), which enshrined Roe v. Wade as the law of the land. There, Kennedy led the majority with this breathtaking proclamation: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

That line was crafted by a Supreme Court majority that included three Reagan-Bush (first Bush) appointees, all of them Christians: Anthony Kennedy (Catholic), Sandra Day O’Connor (Episcopalian), and David Souter (Episcopalian). The authorship is usually attributed to Kennedy. Joining his slim 5-4 majority were John Paul Stevens and Harry Blackmun, who authored the original Roe decision, which he slowly crafted inside the United Methodist Church building next to the Supreme Court.

Of course, in truth, this is plainly not the Christian/Catholic understanding of liberty. What Kennedy and allies expressed is a totally non-Christian (arguably anti-Christian) and completely individualistic understanding. If you’re looking for a slogan for what both Pope Francis and his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, called the dictatorship of relativism, that statement is it. Kennedy’s formulation of liberty is a radical secular progressive’s understanding; a progressive would argue that definitions of liberty and everything else are always changing and evolving, and always up to the person or the culture of the moment.

If Anthony Kennedy persists in this damaging misunderstanding of liberty, next using it to justify legalized gay “marriage” on top of legalized abortion, then he could serve as a poster boy for Christian churches’ colossal failure in properly teaching the laity. We shall see.

On the plus side for faithful Catholics, the four likely votes against gay marriage are all Catholic: Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, and (perhaps) John Roberts. Tellingly, the four most probable “yes” votes for redefining marriage will come from Sonia Sotomayor—a secular, non-practicing Catholic—and Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Elena Kagan—all of which, to my knowledge, are non-practicing, non-orthodox Jews.

Who says religion doesn’t matter?

The presence or lack thereof, or level of devoutness, is at the heart of where America—from everyday citizens to justices on the high court—stand on this unprecedented cultural novelty called “gay marriage.”

Finally, an added insight into Justice Kennedy’s role at this crucial historical stage in the life of America: As noted, Kennedy was a Reagan appointee. Also nearly a Reagan appointee was Bill Clark, to whom Reagan quietly offered the Supreme Court vacancy that instead went to Sandra Day O’Connor in July 1981. Clark and Reagan were extremely close.

Reagan as governor appointed Clark (his chief of staff in Sacramento) all the way through the California court system in the 1970s, including to the state’s supreme court. There in Sacramento, Clark had a close relationship with a fellow Irish Catholic, Anthony Kennedy, who served there on the federal bench. The two had a regular one-on-one lunch together.

As Clark’s biographer, I was privy to his deep concerns over Kennedy’s decisions at the U.S. Supreme Court. He told me often that Kennedy was a man “unusually influenced” by his immediate surroundings. Clark was very humble; but he believed that if he would have accepted Reagan’s offer for the seat that went to O’Connor, he could have kept Kennedy on a path of judicial restraint and constitutionalism that (among other things) would have had Kennedy voting for the side of Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey Sr. (a pro-life Democrat) in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Clark himself likely would have authored that majority decision, which could have been a 6-3 decision.

Alas, it was not meant to be. Clark instead became Reagan’s national security adviser, where, as head of the National Security Council, he and his president laid out a remarkably bold and successful plan to defeat Soviet communism and win the Cold War. No small achievement.

For Clark, it was a great regret that he wasn’t there on the court to reverse Roe v. Wade in 1992; but, ultimately, he understood that he could only do so much. Clark’s calling—what he and Reagan called “The DP,” or “The Divine Plan”—was to win a Cold War, not to take on this element of the Culture War. The Culture War, unfortunately, was left to the likes of Anthony Kennedy.

Bill Clark died in August 2013. His old friend Anthony Kennedy is very much alive and active. For Clark, his solid Catholic education, both Augustinian and Franciscan, was central to all of his thinking. He would never have been so bold as to redefine liberty as the “right” to define one’s own meanings of human life and existence, and Clark certainly would not have rendered unto himself the right to redefine marriage. Will Justice Kennedy do so? Hey, if he has already averred that one has a right to define one’s own meanings of human life and existence, then why can’t one devise one’s own meanings of marriage?

All of America watches in anxious anticipation to see how this Irish Catholic boy from Sacramento decides. In many ways, tragically, the future of marriage resides in the hands of this one man. It should not be.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Here’s The Guy Rudy Is Talking About: Frank Marshall Davis, Communist Party No. 47544

davisobama

Editor’s note: This article first appeared at The American Spectator.

Rudy Giuliani is being roundly criticized for several recent statements he has made about President Barack Obama, including the claim that Obama in his youth was influenced by a literal communist. I cannot address all of Giuliani’s remarks, but I can certainly speak to the influence of the communist he referred to. In short, Rudy was correct; and he even had Obama’s exact age (nine) right when he was first introduced to this person.

“From the time he was 9 years old, he was influenced by Frank Marshall Davis, who was a communist,” Giuliani said.

I can’t say for certain that Rudy Giuliani read my book, which is titled The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor; but he has those facts absolutely right. If I may, I’d like to add some crucial detail:

Frank Marshall Davis (1905-87) was a hardcore communist, an actual card-carrying member of Communist Party USA (CPUSA), who spent time with a young Barack Obama throughout the 1970s, right up until the moment Obama left Hawaii for Occidental College in 1979.

Davis joined the Communist Party in Chicago in the early 1940s. CPUSA members swore an oath to “ensure the triumph of Soviet power in the United States.” They were dedicated to what CPUSA leader William Z. Foster had openly called “Soviet America.” Notably, Davis joined CPUSA after the Hitler-Stalin Pact, a time when many American communists (especially Jewish communists) had bolted the Party in disgust that their Soviet Union had allied with Hitler.

As we know from Davis’ declassified 600-page FBI file (and other sources), his Party card number was 47544. He was very active. In 1946, he became the founding editor-in-chief of the Chicago Star, the Party-line newspaper for Chicago. There, Davis shared the op-ed page with the likes of Howard Fast, a “Stalin Prize” winner, and Senator Claude “Red” Pepper, who, at the time, sponsored the bill to nationalize healthcare in the United States.

Davis left the Star in 1948 for Hawaii, where he would write for the Party-line organ there, the Honolulu Record. His politics remained so radical that the FBI had him under continued surveillance. The federal government actually placed Davis on the Security Index, meaning that in the event of a war between the United States and USSR, Barack Obama’s mentor could be placed under immediate arrest.

Frank Marshall Davis’s targets were Democrats more than Republicans, given that it was Democrats like Harry Truman who held the White House and opposed Stalin’s Soviet expansion at the time. In December 1956, the Democrat-run Senate Judiciary Committee called Davis to Washington to testify on his activities. Davis pleaded the Fifth Amendment. No matter; the next year, the Democratic Senate published a report titled, “Scope of Soviet Activity in the United States,” where it listed Davis as “an identified member of the Communist Party.”

Frank Marshall Davis would eventually meet a young Barack Obama in 1970, introduced by Obama’s grandfather, Stanley Dunham, for the purpose of mentoring. The boy’s grandfather felt that the fatherless boy was in need of a black-male role model. For that, Dunham chose one of the most politically radical figures in all of Hawaii. He introduced the two in the fall of 1970. An eyewitness, a woman named Dawna Weatherly-Williams, who knew Davis so well that she called him “Daddy,” was present the first time Obama and Davis met. She described the relationship as very influential, with Davis impacting Obama on “social justice,” on “life,” on “what’s important,” on no less than “how to use” his “heart” and “mind.”

So deep was Davis’ influence that Obama, in his huge bestselling memoir, Dreams from My Father, would cite him repeatedly over thousands of words and in each and every section (all three parts) of his memoirs—though he referred to him only as “Frank.” “Frank” is mentioned 22 times by name, and far more times via pronouns and other forms of reference.

It is extremely telling that in the 2005 audio version of Dreams, released to help package Obama for the White House, “Frank” was completely purged from the memoir. As noted on the back cover, the audio version was personally “approved” by Obama himself.

How often did Obama and Frank Marshall Davis meet?

Only Obama himself knows and could answer that question. The Washington Post’s excellent writer David Maraniss, in his acclaimed biography of Obama, writes that “Obama later estimated that he saw Davis ‘ten to fifteen times’” during their years together in Hawaii. Maraniss didn’t provide his source, but he must have gotten it directly from Obama in an exclusive interview for his book. I haven’t seen that figure cited anywhere else.

For the record, 10 to 15 times is notable, especially given the nature and duration of these one-on-one meetings—often long late-night evenings together. (Some people cite mentors who they’ve barely met or not even met at all.) The two would drink and even got drunk together. In reality, I bet the number of Obama-Davis meetings is much greater, given that Obama would be expected to understate Davis’ influence. Consider the print and audio versions of “Dreams from My Father.”

Again, one person could easily clarify the whole thing in a sentence, if he were asked by our “journalists”: Barack Obama.

Now, the billion-dollar question: What’s the relevancy of all of this? Does this Davis stuff mean that Barack Obama is today a closet communist? No, of course it doesn’t. We all know that. It does, however, explain how and why and where Obama went so far to the left, and why he’s so far to the left to this day. In my book on Davis, I quote at length a student communist leader at Occidental College who knew Obama immediately after he left Davis and knew him as a communist. I’m confident from my research that the young Obama was once a communist, and that Davis was surely an influence in that regard. The unknown is precisely how much Davis influenced Obama, and—the true big question—when and where and how and why Obama ever rejected that communist past. To this day, Obama has never, despite two pre-presidential memoirs and thousands of interviews, told us about this radical background and why he supposedly left it. And the media refuses to ask, instead dumping on those like Rudy (and myself) who bother to ask.

As I’ve said repeatedly in my interviews on the Frank Marshall Davis book, Barack Obama could have crushed all wild speculation way back in 2008 by simply being candid about the communism in his background and explaining when he (allegedly) left it all behind. My primary biographical subject, Ronald Reagan, once had been a self-described “hemophiliac” liberal duped by communists. He told us all about it. George W. Bush told us about his alcohol struggles. Hillary Clinton has told us about her shift away from being a Goldwater girl.

So, where is Obama’s conversion narrative? Again, the media refuses to ask.

All of which brings me back to Rudy Giuliani and Barack Obama. There’s a super-quick way to clear up what Rudy is raising: Instead of interrogating Rudy, just once, finally, for the first time, ask Barack Obama about the communist, Frank Marshall Davis, who he spent time with throughout the 1970s. We’re still waiting for just one question.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Do We Have A President Who Doesn’t Seek Advice?

Photo credit: Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

The Government Accountability Institute reports that President Obama continues to skip the majority of his Presidential Daily Briefings. This is a stunning fact, first reported two years ago and now updated and reconfirmed. Worse, it was also just reported that Obama likewise doesn’t consult his White House predecessor. Altogether, this paints a very troubling picture.

To recap: In September 2012, the Government Accountability Institute released a study which revealed that our president failed to attend a single Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) in the week leading up to the anniversary of 9/11, despite major eruptions in the Arab world, and despite the obvious fact that we were approaching another 9/11 anniversary (i.e., the highest level of security alert). And yet, President Obama didn’t attend a single briefing that week. In fact, Obama attended only 43.8 percent of his Daily Briefs in the first 1,225 days of his administration. For the year 2012, he attended a little over a third.

This is outrageous, unacceptable for any president. It’s not only unwise from a national-security standpoint but also politically, especially for a president often criticized for spending too much time vacationing and campaigning and dashing for the golf course and fundraisers immediately after beheadings and aircraft downings.

So, that was bad enough. Apparently, however, the problem continues. The Government Accountability Institute has now updated its report and found that President Obama has missed over half the briefings in his second term, obviously learning little (literally) since the first. The man has skipped hundreds of daily briefings. These revelations come amid stinging criticisms of Obama’s methods by former top administration officials, including Leon Panetta, Robert Gates, and others.

By comparison, President George W. Bush not only didn’t miss the PDB but actually expanded it to six meetings per week.

Speaking of Bush, the former president was recently interviewed by Brian Kilmeade of Fox News. Here, we learned that Obama apparently never calls Bush for advice. “[Bush] said he has not heard from President Obama except when the president called with the news that [Osama] bin Laden had been killed,” reported Fox. Bush told Kilmeade: “He has not [called] on a regular basis, which is OK. It doesn’t hurt my feelings. It’s a decision he has made. Presidents tend to rely on the people they’re close to … and I understand that.”

Bush was gracious. And from what I can tell from my research, what he said is accurate. Obama does not consult his predecessor.

Fox added that Bush said “that he used to speak with his predecessor, Bill Clinton, regularly while in office.”

Of course, he did. All sitting presidents speak with and consult former presidents. That’s what they do. They do so at least as a courtesy and at best as a necessity. The guy who held the Oval Office job before you has valuable perspective. If Obama had contacted George W. Bush on Iraq, he might have heard something particularly useful, especially given how badly he has botched the situation by prematurely pulling U.S. troops and smoothing the way for ISIS.

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