by Victor Davis Hanson
NRO’s The Corner
I am not a big fan of saying that officials should resign for stupid remarks. But interim White House communications director Anita Dunn’s praise of Mao Zedong as a “political philosopher” is so unhinged and morally repugnant, that she should hang it up, pronto.
Mao killed anywhere from 50 million to 70 million innocents in the initial cleansing of Nationalists, the scouring of the countryside, the failed Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, Tibet, and the internal Chinese gulag. Dunn’s praise of a genocidal monster was no inadvertent slip: She was reading from a written text and went into great detail to give the full context of the remark. Moreover, her comments were not some student outburst from 30 years ago; they were delivered on June 5, 2009. Her praise of Mao’s insight and courage in defeating the Nationalists was offered long after the full extent of Mao’s mass-murdering had been well documented. Mao killed more people than any other single mass killer in the history of civilization.
So where do all these people, so intimate with our president (Dunn is the wife of his personal lawyer), come from? A right-wing attack machine could not make up such statements as those tossed off by a Dunn or a Van Jones. There seems to be neither a moral compass nor even a casual knowledge of history in this administration. And now we have the avatars of the “new politics” claiming it’s okay to praise Mao’s political and philosophical insight and his supposed determination (“You fight your war, and I’ll fight mine.”) because Lee Atwater supposedly once evoked Mao too.
Ms. Dunn should simply duck out of her D.C. suburb and ask any Tibetan or Chinese immigrant in his 70s and 80s what life was really like in Mao’s China.
©2009 Victor Davis Hanson