Tom Wolfe, dean of contemporary American writers, was not quite 40 when he published two long essays in 1970 in a slim book titled Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers.
The essays were a witty, biting look into what American society was experiencing in the midst of an unpopular war in distant Vietnam and the racial/class violence in its inner cities.
In Radical Chic, Wolfe wrote about New York’s rich folks on the Upper East Side—folks with their “weekend place, in the country or by the shore,” and with their absolute “psychological necessity” to afford servants tending to their hourly needs—embracing the left-liberal politics of students and their university teachers while patronizing the leaders of radical movements who were terrifying middle America.
Wolfe portrayed Leonard Bernstein, famed conductor of the New York Philharmonic, giving a party at his home to raise money for those who posed as Marxist-Leninist-Maoists and espoused the cause of liberating Afro-Americans from “capitalist” exploitation, as did the Black Panther Party.
This was the time when baby boomers were in full flight—their heads filled with drugs, music, free love and revolution—to turn the world upside down in solidarity with peasants of the Third World.
In 1968 baby boomers crashed the Democratic Party’s convention in Chicago, and as the fever of the radical movement took its toll in riots, murders and assassinations, Bernstein and friends felt morally superior in raising their fists and opening their wallets in support of those who yelled mindlessly “power to the people.”
Forty years and a generation later boomers and the Radical Chic, whose antics doomed the Democrats in the presidential campaigns of 1968 and 1972, are back in full force, unchastened and non-remorseful, behind Barack Hussein Obama.
They are all there—the billionaire George Soros with his wallet open, the mainstream media, the Radical Chic of Hollywood, the left liberal university crowd, Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Father Michael Pfleger preaching their twisted “black liberation” theology from pulpits, the unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson with their “black” nationalist followers—cheering the horde mindlessly chanting “Yes, we can.”
In 1968 the radical left seized the Democratic Party of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy and ended the presidency of Lyndon Johnson.
They snatched defeat for America just when North Vietnam’s Tet Offensive was beaten back, and weakened America’s leadership in containing communist advances in Asia and Africa.
Middle America recoiled and seven times in the 10 presidential elections since the Chicago convention voted the Republican candidates into the White House.
In 1968 the Democrats were spooked by Richard Nixon. In 2008 they remain obsessed with George W. Bush, while turning their backs on Iraq, as uncaring and oblivious of the consequences as they were in abandoning Vietnam.
But then the politics of the Radical Chic—the upper class leftism that Wolfe bitingly portrayed—is about being morally superior, secure in the unimaginable comforts of Upper East Side Manhattan.
They are back again with a vengeance and open wallets believing they can sucker hard-working patriotic middle America this time behind the candidacy of Obama.