I watched Mitt Romney dominate the presidential debate immediately after viewing the time travel movie, Looper. If I had access to time travel, I would use it now to leverage my role as the only person on Earth willing to testify that young Obama was a genuine Marxist socialist in 1980. Energized by Romney’s performance, I am asking myself what can I do - right now - to forestall a real life enactment of the future imagined by Rian Johnson, writer and director of Looper. After all, Johnson’s vision looked so bleak that my wife’s reaction was to say: “Looks like Obama won.”
If I had the advantage of time travel, I would go full on Bruce Willis right now. I would go to 2008 and introduce myself to the television studios of Fox News, CNN and MSNBC.
I believe public knowledge of my face-to-face confrontation with young Obama’s ideological extremism in 1980 would have helped prevent Obama’s election in 2008. My account of Obama’s anticipation of a Communist revolution would have alerted voters to the reality that Obama was not a bipartisan politician, but rather a long-standing advocate of class warfare and other hateful ideas promoted earlier by the likes of Frank Marshall Davis. My story would have highlighted the real Obama, the Obama who asserted, as he did at a at a Martin Luther King Day speech at the University of Chicago in 2002, “that rich people are all for non-violence” simply because “they want to make sure people don’t take their stuff.”
I would share with the people of 2008 that Obama is stuck in the ideological past. He is a partisan extremist who cannot imagine doing what Clinton did to save the American economy or uplift the black urban underclass. Obama is the sort of ideological purist who would never pivot to the middle. I would tell the people of 2008 that Obama’s lack of bipartisan skill would blow a perfectly good deal with House Speaker John Boehner for reducing the federal deficit. Instead of cutting the deficit in half, I would tell them Obama will increase the deficit more than all the presidents before him. I would alert the people of 2008 to the fact that Obama would be eager to weaken the previously rock solid work requirements of welfare reform. I would repeat a key line from the movie: “Trust me, I’m from the future.”
Lacking the option of time travel, I still think my story helps explain why it was fairly easy for Mitt Romney to defeat Barack Obama in an informal debate. I can report that young Obama was no genius. I saw signs of that young Obama last week when Romney pointed out that in 25 years in business he had never seen a special tax break for corporations who send jobs overseas. Obama - without his teleprompter and entourage of liberal sycophants – is apparently incapable of reacting forcefully to a verbal punch from a true business and political heavyweight.
Temperamentally, I remember young Obama treated my more accurate understanding of world history with an abrupt, even demagogic hostility. I distinctly remember young Obama’s dismissive, arrogant attitude even as I was presenting him with compelling evidence that Marxist theory was dead wrong at predicting the path of European social and economic events. I remember schooling young Obama so thoroughly in just one evening myself that he left my girlfriend’s house agreeing with my more moderate neo-Marxist perspective.
Culturally, I can report that when I debated young Obama in 1980 he talked like a white guy. I did not see a trace of the phony, accent that highlighted Obama’s shocking comments regarding the redistribution of the wealth to a conference of black ministers at Hampton University in Virginia in 2007. In fact, the young Obama I met in 1980 talked like a wealthy, privileged white guy. It never occurred to me to think of young Obama as African-American. After all, the African-American students at Occidental College were largely uninvolved in radical campus politics. They were more likely to be active in the Gospel choir than the Democrat Socialist Alliance. Instead, young Obama seemed more like a foreign prince visiting in the United States.
While I cannot enjoy the benefits of time travel, I do live within six hours of Las Vegas, NV. I suspect my Bruce Willis moment will come when I share my story of debating young Marxist Obama with swing voters in the nearby Silver State. My wife and I have signed up to spend a weekend in Las Vegas walking precincts for the Romney/Ryan campaign. We will enjoy some meals, hotel accommodations, a night on the town and an opportunity to impact this historic election. I have my tagline ready: “Trust me, I’m from the past.”
John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.