Yesterday, on his Fox News program, Glenn Beck aired a video of White House Communications Director Anita Dunn referring to Mao Zedong as one of her “favorite political philosophers.” Rather than defend Ms. Dunn or ask further questions of what she meant when she said that, the left wing has decided to Google the words “Lenin” and “Mao” with the name of any prominent conservative. Any loose mention of these historical figures was seen as them also “approvingly” citing the philosophy of these murderous despots.
This is a typical scorched earth strategy and the Heritage Foundation was erroneously included in it. Citing a 1983 paper in the CATO Journal, co-written by Heritage Vice President Stuart Butler and CATO analyst Peter Germanis, entitled “Achieving a Leninist Strategy,” Media Matters makes the grand leap the two were approving of Lenin’s philosophy. Of course, anyone that took the time to read this paper would have seen how false this demonization is.
In the paper, Butler and Germanis briefly argue that Lenin believed that if you patiently point out the inherent flaws with a policy, the people will eventually rise up and demand reform, and that Social Security reform demand similar conditions. Much like General Patton studied Rommel, or conservative activists study Saul Alinsky’s tactics (a favorite of President Obama), this was merely meant to demonstrate how adversaries have achieved success despite what radical changes they were trying to achieve. Or in other words, the tactics of our adversaries can be studied, quoted and even replicated without endorsing the underlying philosophy. But to draw a connection between Lenin’s philosophy and that of the authors is a leap Evil Knievel could not navigate.
What Anita Dunn said cannot be so easily refuted. She did not simply reference a historical tactic in an academic exercise, but went out of her way to explain in an unqualified way how Mao Zedong is a philosopher she turns to often, and how his chosen way is only that, a chosen way. Mao Zedong was responsible for the murder of nearly 70 million people. While we appreciate Media Matters using a Napoleonic tactic to defend Anita Dunn, we will give them the benefit of the doubt that they don’t count Napoleon Bonaparte as a “favorite philosopher.”
*Note: We contacted Media Matters and offered to have them post our statement on their website, and they refused.