John Podesta — a senior Democratic party functionary who ran the Clinton administration and the Obama transition and was re-hired this month by the Obama White House — says that the Republican party is “a cult worthy of Jonestown” (and that’s why Obama should rule by executive fiat).
The unmitigated gall of this guy to liken the Republicans to Jim Jones’s death cult. Jim Jones was a Democratic party power broker.
He had close ties to the Democratic Party in San Francisco, committing voter fraud to help get George Moscone elected mayor and Harvey Milk elected supervisor. (Whether Jones’s fraud was decisive can’t be known, since the Democratic district attorney terminated the investigation without any charges against Jones’s people and destroyed the election records.) Moscone rewarded Jones by appointing him the chairman of the San Francisco housing convention. Jones did not give up the position until after moving to Guyana. (He resigned by shortwave radio.)
During the 1976 presidential campaign, Jones met personally with VP candidate Walter Mondale and First-lady-to-be Rosalynn Carter. Mondale later wrote, as Jones moved his movement to Guyana, that “Knowing of your congregation’s deep involvement in the major social and constitutional issues of our country is a great inspiration to me.”
At a dinner honoring Jones at his “People’s Temple”, Willie Brown — long-time Democratic speaker of the California Assembly — likened Jones to a combination of Martin Luther King, Angela Davis, Albert Einstein, and Mao Tse-Tung (two out of four ain’t bad!). Also in attendance at the dinner was California governor (then and again today) Jerry Brown, and lieutenant governor Mervyn Dymally. Dianne Feinstein (current Senator from California) also accepted Jones’s hospitality.
Jones’s cult was a peculiar one, as it had nothing to do with religion. He preached that “those who remained drugged with the opiate of religion had to be brought to enlightenment — socialism”. When he slaughtered his cult, he directed that all his assets (millions of dollars), be given to the Soviet Union:
Dear Comrade Timofeyev,
The following is a letter of instructions regarding all of our assets that we want to leave to the Communist Party of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Enclosed in this letter are letters which instruct the banks to send the cashiers checks to you. I am doing this on behalf of Peoples Temple because we, as communists, want our money to be of benefit for help to oppressed peoples all over the world, or in any way that your decision-making body sees fit.
Jones was a Democratic communist, and his work for the Democratic party still reverberates in California politics today. He was, in short, the exact opposite of a Republican. Podesta has apologized for the comparison, as he should. But the rest of us should take the opportunity to remember how the Democratic party embraced the monster.