What was the New Party? In some states, smaller parties are allowed to nominate the candidate of a larger party, and that candidate's name appears on multiple lines on a ballot line. The New Party was another one of these "fusion" parties and went about endorsing candidates, mainly Democrats, who were running for office. One of them was Obama in his race for State Senate in 1996. As for the party's politics, co-founder Daniel Cantor explained to reporter Micah Sifry in 2002, "The shorthand strategy for accomplishing all this is to get the Bruce Springsteen, Lauryn Hill, and Pete Seeger vote united in one party." The New Party shared a lot of connection with labor unions, and the idea was to use its party-line as a pressure on liberal candidates to support union-supported ideas like living wage laws. In 1998, Cantor left the New Party and went on to start another fusion party in New York state called the Working Families Party which still exists today and endorses most of the state's Democrats including Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
Undermining the notion that Obama's unvettedness is that all of this was much discussed when Obama first ran for president. That great quote about the New Party threatening to turn the United States into a socialist dystopia controlled by the members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Kurtz dug it up for his National Review story about the New Party… in 2008. Conservatives trying to breathe new life into this story are using a familiar tactic to turn an old issue into a new scandal. As Breitbart's Joel Pollack points out, in 2008, the Obama campaign said that Obama "has been a member of only one political party, the Democratic Party." It's been well established that Obama received the party's endorsement in 1996. But now Kurtz says he's uncovered New Party meeting minutes from back then that say:
Barack Obama, candidate for State Senate in the 13th Legislative District, gave a statement to the membership and answered questions. He signed the New Party “Candidate Contract” and requested an endorsement from the New Party. He also joined the New Party.
If it's true, what does it mean? A 1999 version of the New Party of Illinois' "Candidate Contract" -- which is three years after Obama signed his, so it may not be the same one -- requires candidates requesting an endorsement to "Be publicly identified with the New Party" and "Join the New Party as a dues-paying member." So if Kurtz is correct, the possibilities are that Obama's campaign was not telling the truth or Obama broke his word.
Both are kind of crummy, but let's see what Rush Limbaugh has to say about the issue:
What do you think the whole "green energy" thing is about, Mr. Crary? You realize these people can't make the giant power grab all at once. What do you think buying General Motors was all about? You buy General Motors and then you force people to go out and buy electric cars. You fund the solar industry business and the wind business, and then you fund them right into bankruptcy.
Controlling the means of production.
Wait, huh? How do you get from living wages and labor unions to a Marxist revolution. Paul Mirengoff of the conseravtive blog Power Line, please explain:
I consider Kurtz’s evidence clearly relevant. One of Mitt Romney’s central campaign themes is that Obama wants to move the United States steadily closer to the European “social democracy” model. Obama, though, does not admit this. Evidence that, just 16 years ago, Obama joined a political party with precisely that goal tends to confirm Romney’s view.
You see, this is where the vetting obsession gets so weird: if you object to Obama's dealings with G.M. and the passage of Obamacare, why not just say that instead of conjuring fantasies of shadowy past dealings with the international socialist conspiracy? Solyndra, General Motors, Obamacare -- these are all things that happened while Obama has been office and are amply documented. You don't need evidence that Obama has a secret plot with socialists to attack any of them. And what's really bizarre is that the conservatives don't seem to ultimately care about those policy differences. The bailout of G.M., Solyndra, and Obamacare are rather means to the end of proving that Obama is actually a secret socialist -- as if that's the more important issue than what he's done in office.