Right-Wing ‘Bibliophile’ Falsely Claims Michelle Obama Filled WH Library With Socialist Books
February 21, 2010
(ChattahBox)—A right-wing blogger and self described “bibliophile” started a furor in the blogoshhere last week when he falsely attacked First Lady Michelle Obama for stacking the White House library with books extolling Socialism. And since conservatives have consistently painted President Obama, as a Socialist, Marxist, Communist and Nazi, the right-wing blogger and North Dakota radio talk show host Rob Port, while on a recent guided tour of the White House, went into wing-nuttery overdrive when he spotted two history books on Socialism sitting on the White House bookshelves. Port immediately snapped a photo of the offending tomes and posted it on his blog with the title: “Photo Evidence: Michelle Obama Keeps Socialist Books in the White House Library.” But as pointed out by the Washington Post, there is one tiny problem with Port’s attacks against the First Lady: The books in Port’s surreptitiously obtained snapshot have been in the library since 1963, during the tenure of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
It’s unclear why Port found well regarded history books so offensive, even if Michelle Obama had actually chosen them. The titles, “The American Socialist Movement, 1897-1912″ and “The Socialist Party of America,” were chosen for the White House library by a committee led by Yale University librarian James T. Babb at the request of Jacqueline Kennedy.
Babb noted at the time that the titles were carefully selected to provide an overview of American history. “It is intended to contain books which best represent the history and culture of the United States, works most essential for an understanding of our national experience.”
But clownish right-wing ideologues like Port are on some sort of McCarthyism campaign of Socialist hysteria, as they desperately try to paint Obama as a dangerous usurper and secret Manchurian candidate.
When touring the White House, Port claims that the tour guide told the group that the books are chosen by the First Lady, so he immediately came to the conclusion that Michelle Obama personally selected those two volumes on the history of Socialism:
“Now, according out (sic) the person who guided our tour, the library is stock (sic) with books picked out by the First Lady, Michelle Obama. Being a bit of a bibliophile, I started to peruse some of the books on the shelves…and lookie, lookie what I found.”
Port then concluded that the two history books taken in “context” with other evidence of Obama’s Socialism were a smoking gun proving that the White House has been taken over by a couple of dangerous Commies and Socialists:
“By itself, this wouldn’t be that big of a deal. But in the context of Anita Dunn saying Chairman Mao is her favorite political philosopher? In the context of the Mao ornament on the White House Christmas tree? In the context of Obama’s economic policies? Well, I’ll let you make your own call.”
Port’s Mao balls scenario has been debunked here. And the Mao smear against Dunn has been disproved here. Regarding Obama’s economic policies. He came into office with the entire economy about to collapse. The bailout of Wall Street, which began under the Bush administration, halted the total destruction of our economy and prevented a major depression. The stimulus program provided tax cuts for 95 percent of all Americans, extended the safety net to the unemployed and reduced job losses and created new jobs. Those are the Socialist policies Port speaks of.
After the Washington Post story came out, Port posted a half-hearted correction acknowledging that Michelle Obama didn’t chose the two history books, but insisting that the Mao Christmas balls and his other false claims still proved that Obama was a Socialist. Port also seemed to blame the White House tour guide for his idiocy:
“Update: According to the Washington Post it was First Lady Jackie Kennedy who oversaw the placing of the books in the White House library, and they’ve been there since 1963. Apparently no administration since has changed the contents of the library. So the guide I was with didn’t give me the whole story. Either that, or we misunderstood one another. The Chairman Mao Christmas ornament, the Obama adviser who idolizes Mao and the nationalizations of the banks, car companies and attempted nationalizations of student loans and health care are all, unfortunately, still very true.”
When the conservative bibliophile was questioned on his false smear of the First Lady, he defended his post as fitting within the Socialist “narrative” about President Obama, which the right has invented.
“But obviously there have been question about the Obama administration’s politics. You see a few socialist books sitting in the library and, well, that fits in the narrative,” said Port.
Port’s original post was picked up by numerous conservative blogs and received over 200 comments, ranging from approval, condemnation and a smattering of conspiracy laden birtherism.
The following comment however, made my top ten list:
“Anonymous [Moderator] 02/18/2010 06:10 PM
Fortunately, most of us live in a world where we’re allowed to have books besides the Bible and a sticky copy of “Going Rogue”. Maybe future Minister of Propaganda Beck can start a book-burning club in 2012…”