Mao and Mother Teresa

October 26th, 2009

Yes, Mao Tse Tung and Mother Theresa. Not two people you often hear coupled together, right? Or at least, that’s what Anita Dunn, White House Communications Director said when she listed them as two of her favorite political philosophers:

The third lesson and tip actually come from two of my favorite political philosophers: Mao Tse-tung and Mother Teresa. Not often coupled with each other. But the two people I turn to most…. [emphasis added]

Anita-DunnThis is an excerpt from a speech (watch the video here) that Anita gave at a high school graduation on June 5, 2009. She then went on to explain that the reason she was linking them together, and admired them so much, was that they both pursued the things they wanted in spite of the odds or what other people thought. “Everybody has their own path,” she said, and you should never let other people define that path for you. When criticized by Glenn Beck for looking up to a mass murderer, she then went on to defend herself by saying that, “The use of the phrase ‘favorite political philosophers’ was intended as irony…” and that the Mao quote was “one I picked up from the late Republican strategist Lee Atwater.”

In short, she was only kidding. And anyway, a Republican did it first.

So let me get this straight. We’re supposed to believe that somebody in the position of White House Director of Communications thought it was a good idea to state in a prepared speech (she was shuffling notes in the clip) that mass murderer Mao Tse-Tung was one of her “favorite political philosophers,” that he was one of the people she “turned to most,” and that she honestly believed that anyone, anywhere would find this funny?

Here’s a tip Anita. Try horrifying. In fact, the only thing that is more horrifying than the fact that you said it is that there are actually people out there who are trying to defend you for it. Not lunatic fringe revolutionaries, but mainstream bloggers and news media. Only Fox seemed willing to unequivocally condemn you for your idolization of a mass murderer. Wow, what a horrible news organization. Can you believe that bias? No wonder you and the White House have been having issues with them lately.

You do not admire dictators for “taking their own path.” You do not look up to them for “refusing to bow down to what other people think.” You certainly do not quote them to high school students as role models. Mao was a mass murderer. Communism is evil. Not just, “it has noble ideals in theory that get badly carried out in practice.” Not just, “it’s never been done right.” It is evil and vicious and wrong, and so was Mao.

When people like Anita say things like this, they’re counting on people to assume that they were joking. True to Hitler’s concept of the “Big Lie,” they’re expecting the sheer magnitude of their insanity to protect them from censure. Most people would never dream of admiring someone like Mao Tse-Tung, so they can’t believe that anyone else ever would. Anita had to be joking, precisely because the alternative seems so unthinkable to any thinking human being.

Anita Dunn is expected to leave the White House by the end of the year. She was only ever an interim director anyway. But now her husband, Bob Bauer, is being considered to replace Greg Craig as White House counsel, which basically means that he’s going to be the White House’s lawyer. He was also one of Obama’s top advisers during his presidential campaign. Let’s hope he doesn’t share his wife’s taste in political philosophers.


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12 Responses to “Mao and Mother Teresa”



  1. larry |

    Amen Brianna
    Well put to say the least.
    I’m delighted to see that someone else can also see through the “Clap Trap” of the Obama camp. The “Big Lie” analogy is especially good. Americans don’t want to accept the fact that bad things can come from one of their own. There will be several that will try to counter your piece with the excuse that it’s still to early to tell or some other nonsense. Far to many prefer not to believe the reality of what’s happening.


  2. Brian |

    I can add nothing except “Well said, Brianna.”


  3. Tom |

    I was gobsmacked* when I heard what Anita Dunn had said about Mao and Mother Teresa. Even if she’s loony enough to think that way, she ought to be smart enough to keep it to herself. Or maybe she’s just so far off on the left that she didn’t think anyone would take offense.

    Obama ought to have Rahm send her a dead fish wrapped in newspaper because I suspect she’s headed under the bus very soon. Or, maybe Obama should send the fish to Rahm for failing so badly to vet the White House staff.

    *Don’t you just love the word gobsmacked?


  4. Brian |

    Shut your festering gob, you!!! (trying to remember which Monty Python bit I heard that in).

    There is the possibility that Rahm knew and just didn’t care or possibly even quietly agreed with her.

    I wonder how she’ll look with cement shoes.


  5. Jenn |

    Going to say this straight out. I agree with 95% of what you’ve said. She is an idiot for saying what she did.

    But where are you from? Just curious because you have a horribly closed mind.
    Do you know anything real about communism? Lenin made a pretty decent version of communism. It was Stalin who took it too far. Communism itself is not evil at all. It is supposed to give the power to the people. Is that not what democracy is meant to do? I am not saying that is how it goes, in fact it has never been properly implemented.
    The point I’m trying to make is that you cannot call an ideology evil. The people who supposedly employ the ideology and turn it into something else are the evil ones. Stalin, Mao, the Viet Cong, they made their own versions of communism. And by the way, you calling communism evil is the same as the Taliban calling democracy evil


  6. Brianna |

    Jenn – please open your eyes and start judging philosophies by their results, not by how pretty their speeches are.


  7. Tom |

    Jenn, you’re right that no idea is evil per se. I agree with Brianna, however, that what counts is how ideas work out when put into practice. Ideas like communism and fascism have failed miserably everywhere they’ve been tried because they’re fatally flawed, and there’s no reason to expect that they could ever be successful.

    It’s a very old idea that Lenin’s version of communism was good but was transformed into something bad by Stalin. That’s normally heard from apologists for communism who either don’t know the history or assume that others don’t. It always becomes totalitarian and is based on personality cults to important degrees, and it has never benefited the “masses” it purports to serve. The most interesting, and humorous in some senses, example is in China today, which has somehow transmogrified itself into something like a communist free market system. That’s an oxymoron, of course, but it shows the ultimate power of free markets.


  8. Brianna |

    Tom, I would argue that what’s going on in China is not economic rights, but rather economic permissions. They’ve let up slightly on Communist economic principles in order to keep the system from collapsing entirely, ’cause nobody cares about disobeying government anymore if they’re starving. They’ve also let up on political dissent slightly, provided you do not organize, and on religious epxression, provided it is Party approved. In other words, the Chinese Communist party is allowing some wealth accumulation, private enterprise, and freedom of thought as a way to garner enough support for themselves that they can disregard the billion peasants who are NOT benefiting from the liberalization. If you’ve ever looked at Howard Zinn’s A People’s History, you’ll understand what I mean.

    http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/zinntyr4.html

    Basically what he accuses the Founding Fathers of, the Chinese Communist Party has actually done. Also, read Empire of Lies, by Guy Sorman, if you want to see what I mean.


  9. Brian |

    Lenin was every bit the murderous thug that Stalin was, he just didn’t live long enough to rack up the impressive numbers that Stalin did.


  10. Tom |

    Brianna, I agree about the difference between rights and permissions in the way the Chinese system is working today. I’m somewhat confused, though, when you seem to equate the Founding Fathers and the political system of the U.S. with the Chinese Communist Party. Notwithstanding what anyone may have written on the subject, that’s sophistry pure and simple.


  11. Brianna |

    Errr… no, you completely misunderstood me. What I said was that what Zinn wrote about the founding fathers, while it WAS NOT TRUE with regards to America, I consider it a valid point about the Chinese. As in, what Zinn wrote was complete and utter nonsense, but if he’d written it of the Chinese, it would have been much truer and made much more sense.


  12. Tom |

    Yes, I did misunderstand. The reason I said it was confusing was because it looked like you were saying something completely uncharacteristic. And now I agree with you.


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