Tim Kaine Commends Hillary with a Communist Poet

Hillary Clinton’s concession speech the day after her stunning loss to Donald Trump was a historic moment. She was gracious and remarkably strong and poised given the political and emotional enormity of what had happened to her. But surely the weirdest part of the moment was her introduction by her running mate and comrade, Tim Kaine, the left-wing Catholic and “social justice” warrior.

In a brief preamble to Hillary’s big moment, Kaine tried to set the stage by invoking an unlikely pair of sources: the New Testament and Langston Hughes, a celebrated early-twentieth century communist poet, a fact that 99 percent of those listening to Kaine wouldn’t know.

The New Testament remark was fairly simple, though it was mentioned in a silly way by this man whose formation came from liberal Jesuits and Latin American theologians. It was the classic parable of the laborers in the vineyard, which Kaine explained to his wide-eyed audience of admiring secular progressives as “a beautiful and kind of comical parable in the New Testament.”

Comical? Leave it to a liberal Catholic to scratch his head and find levity in this rather profound parable that one of Kaine’s popes, the great Pope St. John Paul II, referred to as an exhortation to “improve the lot of man in his totality, and of all people.”

For John Paul II, that included “all people” in the womb. They are the segment of humanity that Hillary Clinton has doggedly excluded from her compassionate umbrella of government care and protection, and which Tim Kaine as vice president would have been bent on assisting her in her exclusion.

But much stranger than that was Kaine’s invocation not of the words of Jesus Christ but of Langston Hughes. Kaine said he was “proud of Hillary Clinton” because, “in the words of Langston Hughes,” she had “held fast” to her dreams.

The quoting of Hughes by Kaine in this situation is especially rich for a number of reasons.

First, Langston Hughes was a loyal Soviet patriot—devoted to the Soviet Union of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin of the 1920s and 1930s. He wanted America to be part of the USSR, quite literally so. That devotion was evident in one of his most infamous line: “Put one more ‘S’ in the USA to make it Soviet,” declared Hughes. “The USA when we take control will be the USSA.”

Hughes was a faithful son of the Soviet Comintern, which Lenin and the boys created in 1919 as the vehicle and headquarters to launch and manage the global worldwide revolution that they spearheaded. Lenin partner Leon Trotsky called the Comintern the “general staff of the world revolution.”

Langston Hughes saluted that flag. He urged his fellow Marxist faithful to rise up and fight for the “great red flag … of the [Communist] Internationale.”

Hughes went there himself; that is, he went directly to Stalin’s USSR. There he found his god. In fact, like Tim Kaine, Hughes curiously paired his thoughts with those of Christianity. “There,” wrote Hughes of his Moscow pilgrimage, “it seemed to me that Marxism had put into practical being many of the precepts which our own Christian America had not yet been able to bring to life.”

Moved by the Soviet spirit, Langston Hughes proceeded to pen his worst poem:

Goodbye Christ, Lord Jehovah,
Beat it on away from here, make way for a new guy with no religion at all,
A real guy named Marx, Communism, Lenin, Peasant, Stalin, worker, me.

Beat it, Christ. Move over for someone real: someone like Marx, like Lenin, like Stalin. This was Langston Hughes.

I could say much more about Langston Hughes, but one fact about him seems especially ironic in light of him being tapped by Tim Kaine on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s grand historical moment:

Hughes was admired by Frank Marshall Davis, the card-carrying member of Communist Party USA who was a mentor to the teenage Barack Obama in Hawaii in the 1970s—the very Obama that Hillary was poised to succeed in the White House in order to hoist the flag and further carry the secular-progressive torch for Obama’s fundamental transformation. I know this because I wrote an entire book on Davis, where I mentioned Hughes many times. Hughes actually had an important early influence on Davis moving toward communism.

From my research, I think Davis probably first met Hughes at Spelman College in December 1931, an appearance that Davis wrote about for the newspaper he worked for. We do know for certain (thanks to Davis’s memoirs) that Davis acknowledged meeting Hughes in 1935 in Chicago, where Davis would ultimately join the Communist Party. This led to a long-term correspondence and friendship between Davis and Hughes. Thereafter, Davis referred to Hughes as “Lang.”

As for Barack Obama, he was aware that Davis was a fan of Hughes. In Dreams from My Father, Obama wrote about Frank Marshall Davis throughout, with numerous references. Among them, he noted the Chicago-communist influences of Richard Wright and Langston Hughes, who, as Obama surely knew, were both well-known African-American communists.

So, how ironic was this? How fitting? That Tim Kaine would be invoking Langston Hughes in this historic instance for Hillary Clinton, the student of Saul Alinsky who would have carried forward Obama’s fundamental transformation on everything from redefining marriage and gender to suing nuns who don’t want to be forced by Caesar to fund abortion drugs?

Tim Kaine is not shy in showing people that he’s one devout liberal who’s also a devout Catholic. For Kaine, that Catholicism is indeed closer to Hillary Clinton, to Barack Obama, to Langston Hughes, and to the Catholic left’s mistakenly socialistic and perverse perception of “social justice.”

Paul Kengor

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Paul Kengor is Professor of Political Science at Grove City College, executive director of The Center for Vision & Values, and author of many books including The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor and Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage (2015). His new book, A Pope and a President explores the extraordinary relationship between Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and their joint effort to defeat Soviet communism.

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