Obama’s Secret Dinner With Lefty Historians

Warner Todd Huston | July 21, 2009 

Is it any surprise that the historians that attended a secret White House dinner with President Obama last month are nearly all well known for a leftist outlook on history? Is Obama programming his “historical” coverage already?

Was there a Richard Brookhiser in attendance or a Larry Schweikart? Was there someone like Forrest McDonald at Obama’s secret dinner? Nope. Except for one attendee, the invited historians have all used their status as historians to make all sorts of ahistorical proclamations about modern politics which is quite un-historian of them.

The fact is, no real historian would comment as an expert on contemporary events. A real historian knows that it takes decades of time to go by before history can be written. It takes decades for records to become available, generations of biographies and autobiographies need to be written and much time must pass before actions made in one decade can bear their ultimate fruit. All this information has to be reviewed and weighed before history can be written and very often the words of participants cannot be taken for gospel. Any real historian will know that commenting on contemporary events can only be opinion and guesswork not FACT.

But that is not the stripe of “historians” that Obama invited to the White House, the sort that wait for due time to pass so that the proper research can be done to determine what really happened in a given era. No, what Obama sought out were activists that pretend at the historian’s art.

So what lefty “historians” were invited to the super-secret dinner? Here’s a list.

Michael Beschloss – Mostly a slavish John Kennedy aficionado, Beschloss once wrote a ridiculous piece in 1993 for The New York Times in which he predicted that the Republican Party would engage in all manner of extremist behaviors once President Clinton and “President” Al Gore left office. It featured an ex-president George H.W. Bush being lambasted by history as a troubled president dogged by his “pardoning of Casper Weinberger.”

Douglas Brinkley – Is well known as the hack writer that belched out a wholly uncritical take on John F. Kerry’s life during the Senator’s doomed run for the White House against George W. Bush in. The book was little else but a sunny campaign hagiography that was worthless as a work of history. Before that, Brinkley prostituted himself all over TV as the chief mourner for John Kennedy, Jr. when he flew himself to his death in 1999. Brinkley’s over-the-top celebration of Kennedy and his ubiquity on TV during those days we so bad that Kennedy’s George Magazine even removed him from their masthead as a contributor. Brinkley was so ridiculous that even the lefty Slate.com said, “Even amid this week’s staggering hyperbole, Brinkley’s emotional profligacy has distinguished him.”

Doris Kearns Goodwin – The “woman” of the bunch, Goodwin is another Kennedy sycophant. Goodwin also has tackled Lincoln and LBJ. She was seen all over TV during the last few presidential elections punditizing for Democrats. She has also been caught in a few embarrassing plagiarism scandals where she was caught lifting work from others. Why this literary thief keeps getting praise as a premiere historian is beyond logic. But she is good for the left party line, so I guess that is all the qualifications she needs to stay the darling of the Old Media.

Garry Wills – This guy is a truly devoted lefty. Wills long ago went from being a mere historian to being an activist that uses his reputation as cover for his activism pretending that he knows better than anyone else because he knows some history. He has written castigating the Catholic Church for its stance on abortion, he excoriated the Bush administration proclaiming that Bush had somehow become a theocrat, and he has been outspoken in many other contemporary political fights. One of the worst works of history I ever read was by this hack. “Negro President” was supposed to explain why Thomas Jefferson was elected because of the three-fifths clause in the Constitution. But, after reading the thankfully short thing one will quickly realize that Wills never addresses his own point and doesn’t prove a thing to settle the thesis. It is truly a horrible book.

Robert Dallek – Dallek never met a Kennedy or Roosevelt he didn’t revere and hasn’t found much of interest in any Republican to write about… except, unsurprisingly, Nixon and then only because he hates him so much. Dallek signed his name to a letter of support for Obama back in 2007 during the late campaign and wrote a piece for The New York Daily News that said that Obama’s lack of experience didn’t matter and we should elect him anyway.

Robert Caro – Chiefly known for his multi-volume bio of Lyndon Johnson but he also wrote that George W. Bush was a “dangerous” president. He also has praised the socialist, mess that is the Great Society as LBJs “great achievement.”

H. W. Brands – Brands also wrote disparagingly of the Bush years while IN the Bush years. He is also a proponent of big government taxes, high spending and Barack Obama. Like many of his leftist ilk, he was sure that we had lost the Iraq war.

Kenneth Mack – Mack is a “race identity” guy, whatever that is supposed to mean. I suppose that Mack was Obama’s token black historian at this dinner because he is not even close to the league the others are playing in. I guess it didn’t hurt that Mack supported Obama heavily during the campaign.

David M. Kennedy – OK, I don’t have as much trouble with Kennedy. So, I haven’t too much to say negative about him.

In short, nearly every last one of these historians violate the very core of an historian’s art; research. They have all made pronouncements with the color of “fact” about current events when they each know darn well that the “truth” of what will become history cannot be known for a long time after events are set in motion. They may be rightly celebrated for their work on the past. But their biased notions of what IS now can and should be discounted as mere opinion and should not be given the color of “history” merely from the fact that those that claim to be historians are involved in the saying of it.

In the end, when each of their biased notions is reviewed, a simple liberal perspective is revealed. And if they were real historians, they’d know modern liberalism is a failed notion in and of itself. Historians or no, it seems they are true believers and fellow travelers all.


Contributor's website: http://thenma.org/blogs/index.php/huston
Filed Under Barack Obama, History



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3 Responses to “Obama’s Secret Dinner With Lefty Historians”

  1. James Amelang on July 22nd, 2009 4:34 am

    As a historian I am somewhat alarmed by this screed. First, there is the offense to English grammar, beginning with the first sentence (“historians that”?) Above all, there is the bizarre argument that historians have nothing to say on current issues, or rather, history. This would have given quite a shock to Thucydides. Perhaps he was a closet leftist? I believe the author would profit from better acquaintance with his writings.

  2. Carl Dunn on July 22nd, 2009 5:48 am

    Sooo … you can’t actually refute anything that Mr. Huston said?

    Thanks for your shoot the messengers, protect Obama rhetoric. I’ll file this properly under “ignore.”

  3. www.buzzflash.net on July 22nd, 2009 9:23 am

    Obama’s Secret Dinner With Lefty Historians, American Conservative Daily…

    A rant found at the American Conservative Daily Web site, self-described as "Full frontal conservatism for all American freeman and women," blasts the nine historians who attended a private dinner with President Obama at the White House last …

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