A Onetime Hate-Spewing, Red-baiting Neocon for Obama

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


This was first posted at DavidCorn.com at CQPolitics.com….

The latest neocon to turn tail on John McCain is Kenneth Adelman, a former foreign policy official in the Reagan administration. Adelman is most famous–or infamous–for having predicted in February 2002, 13 months before the invasion of Iraq, that “demolishing Hussein’s military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk.” Explaining his decision to vote for Obama, Adelman recently told The New Yorker:

“When the economic crisis broke, I found John McCain bouncing all over the place. In those first few crisis days, he was impetuous, inconsistent, and imprudent; ending up just plain weird. Having worked with Ronald Reagan for seven years, and been with him in his critical three summits with Gorbachev, I’ve concluded that that’s no way a president can act under pressure.”

And he said of the Sarah Palin pick:

“That decision showed appalling lack of judgment. Not only is Sarah Palin not close to being acceptable in high office — I would not have hired her for even a mid-level post in the arms-control agency. But that selection contradicted McCain’s main two, and best two, themes for his campaign — Country First, and experience counts. Neither can he credibly claim, post-Palin pick.”

He sounds so reasonable, right? But I remember the days when Adelman sounded more like the mad McCainiacs I recently encountered at a McCain rally. In fact, I once wrote about Adelman’s use of extremist rhetoric, and that kept him from obtaining a spot on the board of a prominent Washington advocacy group.

From a Nation magazine column (not on-line) I penned in 1988:

The board of the National Endowment for Democracy recently considered the pending nomination of Kenneth Adelman, a protege of Jeane Kirkpatrick and head of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency through many of the Reagan years. As the NED brass discussed Adelman’s nomination, submitted by NED president Carl Gershman, someone distributed a Nation article reporting on Adelman’s speech to a conservative conference last February [see Corn, “Fear and Loathing in Washington,” March 5]. Adelman had pandered to the approving claque at the Conservative Political Action Conference, suggesting that liberals are communists and describing House Speaker Jim Wright as a “traitor” for his work on the Central America peace plan. Those remarks didn’t go over well with the Democratic members of the bipartisan NED board, according to our sources in the organization. Adelman’s nomination, the sources say, was placed on hold, pending verification of the Nation story.

The slippery Gershman, himself a former aide to Kirkpatrick, listened to a tape-recording of Adelman’s speech and blithely assured the NED board there was nothing disturbing on it. “It looked like the Adelman nomination would go ahead,” according to a high-ranking NED source. But one Democratic board member took the precaution of personally reviewing the tape and came away outraged by Adelman’s comments. Other board members were notified and had similar reactions. The Adelman nomination now seems to be dead

Adelman never got that appointment.

Calling Democrats communists and traitors? Wouldn’t Adelman fit in with the crowds at a McCain-Palin event? But now he sees which way the wind is blowing, and he’s tacking toward the center and endorsing a secret Black Muslim socialist who pals around with terrorists. And who’s next to disavow McCain and back Obama? Paul Wolfowitz?

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate