Grove City College historian Paul Kengor had the good fortune this year to release “The Communist,” his biography of President Obama’s early mentor Frank Marshall Davis, just as director Joel Gilbert started promoting “Dreams From My Real Father,” a mysteriously well-funded film claiming that Davis was in fact Obama’s biological father. Gilbert has not only helped boost interest in Kengor’s object of study, he has succeeded in making Kengor by far the most reasonable person on the Right’s Frank Marshall Davis beat.
In an interview with Phyllis Schlafly on Eagle Forum Radio this week, Kengor declined to comment on the veracity of Gilbert’s “real father” hypothesis. But like Gilbert, Kengor is convinced that Davis was a bigger influence on Obama’s thinking than the mainstream media will admit. One example, he told Schlafly, are Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan of “Change” and his 2012 slogan of “Forward,” in which he sees “remarkable” similarities with Davis’ writing. He points to a 1946 column by Davis which contains “almost verbatim the Obama platform for 2008”:
Schlafly: I want to be clear about this, Paul. Nobody’s saying President Obama is a Communist, but there’s no question about the man who had the biggest influence on his life, Frank Marshall Davis. He was a real, honest to goodness Communist who had a membership card issued by the Communist Party. And in those days, a certain number of people actually did that. But today, when you read and hear Obama’s speeches, it’s kind of like it’s an echo of the many things that Frank Marshall Davis wrote in communist publications. What are some of those, and do they remind you of Frank Marshall Davis and you kind of think those are wordings that, goals that kind of hung around in his subconscious for years?
Kengor: They do, Phyllis, they remind me very much so of Frank Marshall Davis. And I have to say, as a scholar, I can’t say that, ‘Well, Obama said A and that’s because Davis believes in B.’ But, well, you look at these things and they’re remarkably similar. The constant use of class warfare, of class rhetoric. Some of these seem to be beyond the sort of standard similarities that you would see, just because Obama and Davis are both on the left. I’ll give you just another example. Obama, of course, ran under the mantra of ‘Change’ in 2008, ‘Hope and Change.’ Well, the very first column that Frank Marshall Davis wrote for the Chicago Star…
Schlafly: A Communist paper.
Kengor: Yes, a Communist paper. This is the kick-off column, and he wrote a piece, this was July 6, 1946, and it was called “Those Radicals of ’76.” And in that column, Frank Marshall Davis talked about the importance of advancing, quote, ‘fundamental change,’ unquote, in America. America needs to be ‘transformed through fundamental changed.’ And that’s almost verbatim the Obama platform for 2008. And Obama’s 2012 campaign slogan, which is simply, ‘Forward,’ I found on the front page of the Chicago Star, very top, right below the masthead, Frank Marshall Davis using that same slogan. One of them says, ‘Bravely Forward!” exclamation mark. So, could this just be a coincidence? Yeah, sure I guess it’s possible that it’s a coincidence. But you look at all the long list and the rhetoric and you look at that and you say, ‘Well, it seems like it might be more than just a coincidence.’