Do you know who Mao Tse Tung is?
In a nutshell, he was a Chinese revolutionary leader who established communism in China in 1949. He executed people who opposed or were suspected to be disloyal to his beliefs, an estimated 50-70 million. Citizens of the People's Republic of China were required to own, carry, and read a book of his writings and essays. Students were required to study it, and all writing (including scientific essays) were required to quote the book. Strict loyalty to his regime was demanded.
So, should it bother us that the White House Communications Director, Anita Dunn, regards him as one of her "favorite political philosophers"? This she admitted in a speech at a high school graduation on June 5th (by the way, her other favorite political philosopher is Mother Teresa... whom I didn't realize was considered a political philosopher). She then states that these are "... the two people that I turn to most."
After receiving criticism for this comment, she dismissed the statement as irony that "fell flat", even though she goes on to describe his ability to defeat the odds and overthrow the nationalist party as an example that we can use as inspiration for our lives: "You don't have to accept the definition of how to do things, and you don't have to follow other people's choices and paths, OK? It is about your choices and your path. You fight your own war. You lay out your own path. You figure out what's right for you."
Mao may have defeated the odds, but if that's the point she wanted to make, why would she choose this example in history? Why not the Revolutionary War, or any other example in history that is not linked to a communist leader? She would have been strung up if she had cited Hitler. To me, Mao is no different.