In the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision establishing a right to same-sex marriage, WND talked to Paul Kengor, professor of political science at Grove City College in Pennsylvania and author of a new book, Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage.”
WND: Professor Kengor, let’s get right to the point: Do you believe that President Obama was not truthful with Americans when he once claimed that he was against same-sex marriage?
Kengor: Here is what Obama said in 2004: “What I believe is that marriage is between a man and a woman. … What I believe, in my faith, is that a man and a woman, when they get married, are performing something before God, and it’s not simply the two persons who are meeting. … We have a set of traditions in place that, I think, need to be preserved. … I don’t think marriage is a civil right.”
Compare that to his extraordinary statement at the White House in support of the Supreme Court’s gay-marriage ruling on Friday, June 26. There’s no way that you can reconcile those two statements. I think his June 26, 2015, statement has been the true Obama all along.
WND: One of the most significant things you report in “Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage” is that Obama has supported gay marriage not since 2012, when he first announced his support, but way back in the 1990s. If that’s true, then this would suggest he has lied for many years. Explain this and your sources.
Kengor: The main source is an unimpeachable one. It is David Axelrod. Axelrod has known Barack Obama better than any adviser other than perhaps Valerie Jarrett. Axelrod shaped the Obama “hope and change” message. He is the man responsible for making Obama president.
According to Axelrod, Obama supported gay marriage as far back as the mid-1990s, when he was an aspiring Chicago politician. He publicly suggested otherwise, however, in order to get votes, especially from African-Americans who rejected gay marriage in higher numbers than white Americans.
According to Axelrod, in 1996, as a candidate for state senate from left-wing Hyde Park, Obama signed a questionnaire promising his support for legalization of same-sex marriage. “I had no doubt that this was his heartfelt belief,” states Axelrod today. By 2011, adds Axelrod, President Barack Obama was “champing at the bit to announce his support for the right of gay and lesbian couples to wed.” In May 2012, a year after his Justice Department announced it would not support the Defense of Marriage Act, Obama summoned ABC’s Robin Roberts to the White House to publicly make his support of redefining marriage clear to all of America.
Axelrod’s account is quite remarkable. Even the most liberal Democrats were not supporting gay marriage as far back as 1996. We’ve always known that Obama is a radical leftist, and this would be further proof.
WND: OK, let’s now go deeper than Axelrod, to another figure in your book – Frank Marshall Davis. If Obama was indeed for same-sex marriage at that point, then was there something earlier in his ideological formation that might have been a factor? Was it Frank Marshall Davis? You’re an expert on Davis. Tell us who he was.
Kengor: Frank Marshall Davis (1905-87) was an actual card-carrying member of Communist Party USA, who spent time with a young Barack Obama throughout the 1970s, right up until the moment that Obama left Hawaii for Occidental College in 1979. Davis was very active in party circles. In 1946, he became the founding editor-in-chief of the Chicago Star, the party-line newspaper for Chicago. As we know from his declassified 600-page FBI file (and other sources), his politics were so radical that the FBI had Davis under continued surveillance. More than that, the federal government 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.
By the way, ironically, David Axelrod had mentors in Chicago who knew Davis in Communist Party circles. For Axelrod, it was the Canter family, which knew and worked with Obama’s mentor in the 1940s. I know that’s wild, but it’s true.
WND: How and when did Obama meet Davis?
Kengor: Frank Marshall Davis met a young Obama in the fall of 1970, introduced by Obama’s grandfather, Stanley Dunham, for the purpose of mentoring. An eyewitness, a woman named Dawna Weatherly-Williams, 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.” Her account, and Obama’s own, reveals a Davis who affected Obama on social-cultural matters, from attitudes on race and America, to education and women, to much more.
So deep was the impression that Obama, in his huge bestselling memoir, “Dreams from My Father,” would cite “Frank” dozens of times over thousands of words and in each and every section of his memoirs. Obama wrote about drinking whiskey with Davis. Davis would get so drunk he would pass out.
WND: You said you’d prefer not to talk about this, and you avoided the subject in your biography of Davis, but tell us about the many questions regarding Frank Marshall Davis’s sexuality.
Kengor: My biography of Davis outlined in great detail his Communist Party work, membership and prodigious propagandizing. It was mainly an intellectual-ideological history of Davis. One aspect of Davis that I barely mentioned, but which others have dug into quite a bit, was his sexually adventurous lifestyle, both during the time he was married to his wife and later after their divorce, when Davis was in his 60s and 70s but was nonetheless vigorous, promiscuous and decidedly non-traditional.
WND: The Internet is rife with scandalous accusations of various sexual escapades and preferences of Davis, including how those choices might have impacted his literal relations with Obama and Obama’s family.
Kengor: Absolutely. It’s unavoidable. Some have done articles, books and full-fledged documentaries arguing that Davis is Obama’s real father, a question that I have been asked thousands of times, and which I have always said that I have no conclusive evidence to support. Even more scandalous, some have gone so far as to consider whether Davis had sexual relations with a young Obama, a bold assertion that has been out there for years and which I certainly cannot substantiate. This kind of sensational material is often the first information that pops up in Web searches on Davis and Obama.
WND: Quoting you from your book, “Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage,” you state that “liberals offended by speculation on Davis’s sordid adventures and how they might relate to Obama need to understand that the thoughts are not totally unjustified. Davis himself is at least partly responsible.” Explain that.
Kengor: At the height of the sexual revolution in the late ‘60s, when Davis was in his 60s, the old communist penned a quasi-pornographic novel called ‘Sex Rebel” under an alias, “Bob Greene.” Bob’s sexual exploits, from bisexuality to seducing barely teenage girls – including a 13-year-old named “Anne,” which, as many have noted, happens to be the name of Obama’s mother – are revealed frankly and boldly. They are shared without shame; they are boasted about. Davis’s own memoir, ‘Livin’ the Blues,’ conceded his authorship of “Sex Rebel.” He happily admitted that he “could not truthfully deny that this book … was mine.” The only question is to what extent the exploits are fictional or non-fictional, desired experiences or actual experiences, partly or fully autobiographical.
WND: In “Takedown,” you cite one expert who notes that in “Sex Rebel,” the Davis persona, the narrator, insists that the protagonist’s sexual adventures are all “taken from actual experiences.”
Kengor: Yes, the narrator also concedes that “under certain circumstances I am bisexual.” The mock introduction to the book, written by an alleged Ph.D. named “Dale Gordon,” goes further still, describing the pseudonymous author, Bob Greene, as possessing “strong homosexual tendencies in his personality.”
WND: You note that the book was conceived, documented, written, published and perhaps lived while Frank Marshall Davis was still married.
Kengor: That’s correct. Davis and his wife, Helen, divorced in 1970, after 24 years of marriage and five children together. That marriage was a struggle for years. Helen, too, it should be noted, was a communist, who Davis met at the communist Abraham Lincoln School in Chicago in the 1940s, where he taught and she was a pupil. Helen’s Communist Party USA number was 62109.
WND: You note that Davis’s “Sex Rebel” is a graphic and disturbing book and that “it is important to understand that Davis’s sexual life and practices were not unrelated to his communist philosophy.”
Kengor: Yes, that’s a consistent theme of “Takedown.”
WND: OK, then here’s the big question, especially in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling. So, did Barack Obama, our first gay-marriage president, learn any of these unconventional notions of sex from Frank Marshall Davis?
Kengor: The short, honest answer as a historian is that I cannot say. I really can’t. I’m not trying to titillate, or sensationalize, or be unnecessarily provocative, or close the door. I can imagine that Davis might possibly have influenced a more open view toward sexuality by Obama, but it’s unimaginable, I think, that the old communist would have touted gay marriage – an idea that’s pure madness in any era beyond our own. It’s possible, however, that step one (a more permissive view of unconventional sexuality) could have helped lead Obama to where he now stands on gay marriage.
WND: And what of the many pro-gay policy changes by Obama between the time he knew Davis and June 26, 2015? You lay those out in “Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage” in your chapter “The Gay Marriage President.”
Kengor: Barack Obama’s pro-gay overtures as president have been unprecedented, and they long precede his 2012 statement to Robin Roberts. We should maybe save that discussion for the next interview.