Over at Politico on Friday, Ben Smith did a trifecta of denial: 1) Barack Obama never belonged to the New Party, a short-lived, allegedly socialist third party formed out of far-left opposition to Bill Clinton’s centrist “New Democrats” (before 1992, no New Party; after 1998, no New Party); 2) besides, the New Party wasn’t really a political party, so in that sense, there wasn’t any such thing as a New Party; 3) and even if there was, the New Party wasn’t really “socialist” but just kind of “progressive.” The difference between “socialist” and “progressive” is that socialists want the government to own the means of production and progressives merely want the government to control completely the means of production.

So, said Smith, there go those nutty conservatives again! Trying to prove that Obama’s a socialist just because he said he wants to “spread the wealth around.”

That sent me scurrying to the entry on “New Party” in a neutral source, Wikipedia. Here’s what I read in the very first sentence:

“The New Party was a third political party in the United States….”

Ooo-kay. So much for Ben Smith’s denial No. 2.

Then I read on, about how the New Party worked:

“The New Party was a third political party in the United States that tried to re-introduce the practice of electoral fusion as a political strategy for labor unions and community organizing groups. In electoral fusion, the same candidate receives nomination from more than one political party and occupies more than one ballot line. Fusion was once common in the United States but is now commonly practiced only in New York State, although it is allowed by law in seven other states.”

In other words, in New York and other fusion states, if you were a far-left Democrat, you could run both as a New Party candidate and as a Democratic Party candidate. Voters could vote for only one name on the ballot, but since your name appeared twice, they could decide whether to vote for you as a New Party man or woman or as a conventional Democrat. The aim, of course, was to push the Democratic Party to left-away from the dread Clintonian centrism.

Here’s more from Wikipedia:

“The party could best be described as social democratic in orientation, although party statements almost invariably used the terms “small-d democratic” or “progressive” instead…..”

“After a false start in New York, the New Party built modestly successful chapters in several states. Some of these chapters – such as those in Chicago and Little Rock – had their main bases of support in the low-income community organizing group ACORN, along with some support from various labor unions (especially ACORN-allied locals of the Service Employees International Union).”

ACORN, ACORN-isn’t that the group for which Obama trained organizers and directed a vote drive, represented as a lawyer, and channeled hundreds of thousands of dollars to as a board member of a charitable foundation-all back in those very 1990s when the New Party was being “modestly successful” in Chicago? And the same ACORN that’s currently in a jacuzzi’s worth of hot water in the form of voter registration-fraud allegations and possibly improper transfers of funds between its tax-exempt and non tax-exempt affiliates? Yes it’s that ACORN, the same ACORN that endorsed Obama during his very first political race, for the Illinois State Senate back in 1996 and is endorsing Obama for president even as we speak. In apparent gratitude, the Obama campaigned channeled $830,000 to an ACORN affiliate for its services in helping him beat Hillary Clinton in the primaries. (See my article in this week’s Weekly Standard for the lowdown on the Obama-centric ACORN and its various legal troubles.)

As for Smith’s denial No. 1, I’ll leave it to you, dear readers, to decide whether there’s a bucket of spit’s worth of difference between a socialist and a progressive.

And as for Smith’s denial No. 2-the one about Obama’s actually belonging to the New Party, I suggest you click here (Tammy Bruce), here (Conservative Punk), and here (Trevor Loudon’s New Zeal blog). Loudon has photocopies of yellowed New Party newsletters boasting that Obama ran successfully in 1996 on the New Party ticket. And here’s a link to the newsletter of the New Party’s Chicago chapter from 1995 detailing Obama’s appearance at a meeting of the party’s inner circle in order to seek its endorsement. Now, it may be possible to run on a party’s ticket without belonging to the party-although isn’t there something about walking like a duck and talking like a duck?

BTW, the New Party may no longer be in existence, but it still has a website, which links to the site of the Working Families Party in New York, founded by New Party co-founder Daniel Cantor, described in Wikipedia as a veteran of Jesse Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign, and a close ally of ACORN. Guess who’s running fusion-istically as the Working Families candidate in New York? His initials are not J.M.