Chris and Jason's feeble protests notwithstanding, it looks like Obama is in fact a closet Marxist. The right-wing nut-o-sphere has apparently sussed this out on the basis of an academic paper Obama's father wrote back in 1965 (via Politico)--see, for example, this barely coherent parsing of the paper from the blogger who unearthed it. Absolutely pathetic.

According to the development expert Ben Smith and Jeffrey Ressner consulted for their Politico piece, the paper is an artifact of an esoteric debate about the right way to implement a set of Kenyan economic reforms back in 1965--and absolutely can't be understood outside of the historical/economic/political context in which it was written. In other words, no one with more than well-below-average intelligence or a shred of integrity would conclude from it that Obama Sr. was an ardent Communist.  And no one who met a quarter of those criteria would make the additional, preposterous leap between this paper and the worldview of Barack Obama the presidential candidate. Sadly, that doesn't appear to include the right-wing hacks spreading this nonsense. I await the forthcoming Bill Kristol column...

--Noam Scheiber