Why do all of you rubes think Obama is a socialist?
Well, according to the AP, it is because you are a racist:
This is far from a new phenomenon — the use of “socialist” as a political epithet in the U.S. dates back to pre-Civil War days when abolitionist newspaper editor Horace Greeley was branded a socialist by some pro-slavery adversaries. In the 20th century, many elements of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal — including Social Security — were denounced as socialist. So was Medicare when it was created in the 1960s.
Bernie Sanders, an actual Socialist, thinks so:
“Branding someone as a socialist has become the slur du jour by leading lights of the American right from Newt Gingrich to Rush Limbaugh,” Sanders said in 2009. “If we could get beyond such nonsense, I think this country could use a good debate about what goes on here compared to places with a long social-democratic tradition like Sweden, Norway and Finland, where, by and large, the middle class has a far higher standard of living than we do.”
So does Rutgers professor, Norman Markowitz:
The roots of socialism in America can be traced to the arrival of German immigrants in the 1850s, according to Rutgers University professor Norman Markowitz, who teaches the history of socialism and communism.
After the Cold War’s end, use of “socialist” as a political insult also receded. Markowitz believes its recent revival relates directly to the animosity toward Obama that is shared by a certain segment of Americans.
“There’s this hysterical outbreak of abuse to prove that the president is not American, that he’s a secret Muslim, that policies that past Republican administrations would have adopted are part of a socialist, communist conspiracy,” Markowitz said.
Racists. Birthers. Islamopobes. All of you. Nothing but ignorant rubes, you are. A newspaper reporter, the socialist Senator from Vermont and a Rutgers professor all say so. What else do you want as confirmation, you bunch of racists?
The supporters of Obama who are desperate to prevent acknowledgement of any tie to communism (because they know that Americans won’t vote for a communist at the national level), will claim that Obama does not fit the textbook definition of a socialist. Steven Hayward also notes this tendency:
Steven Hayward, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and author of a two-volume biography of Ronald Reagan, said Obama is not a socialist under the strict definitions of that term — central economic planning and government control of production.
“However, socialism has a secondary meaning that is harder to explain — government regulations, supervision of the private economy,” Hayward said. “The problem now with Obama is, ‘What does he really think?'”
As with almost everything else, things change and as they do the definitions should change to match them. When this definition of socialism was coined, to own and central plan an economy actually meant that a government had to have ownership of the “means of production” which would have been the physical raw materials, manufacturing facilities and employ the people. Today, as we have shifted away from the need for many of these physical means of “production” and toward more of an electronic society, the “means of production” has come to be more related to capital and fungible currency than a smokestack. If you control the flow of money, it is not necessary to own the physical assets because you can control the asset through money flow. I call this “checkbook socialism”.
Adherents of Keynesian economic theory are nothing but “checkbook socialists” and Obama does fit that definition.
But even if Obama is a “checkbook socialist”, you racists, he’s not a very good one…at least according to Ezra “The Constitution is like 100 years old” Klein:
Ezra Klein, a blogger and columnist for The Washington Post, tackled the issue recently in a posting headlined “Barack Obama: Worst. Socialist. Ever.”
Klein cited data indicating that the government sector of the economy shrank during the past three years.
“If President Obama is truly a socialist,” Klein wrote, “then he’s not a very good one.”
Well, Ezra’s analysis is wrong based on the Washington Post’s own charts. In the linked article, Floyd Norris lumps all government spending together, including state spending to make his case that “government” has shrunk under Obama while admitting that the federal government, the part that Obama has direct responsibility for has actually continued to increase:
Spending by the federal government, adjusted for inflation, has risen at a slow rate under President Obama.
Norris gives Obama credit for the fiscal prudence of state governors like Scott Walker, Chris Christie and Rick Perry. The idea that Obama is a frugal steward, advanced by the Democrats, has been shredded by many, including your humble correspondent, even if it was not – the idea is relegated to the dust bin with the other rubbish by simply looking at the stunning increases in the level of national debt during his administration.
There’s nothing racist about it. There are no “code words” or “dog whistle” allusions about Obama. His policies are centered on government first – private sector second policies, Keynesian economics and socialist intent.
Just a couple of little reminders:
We’re not, we’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.
– Barack Obama, April 28, 2010
My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. If you’ve got a plumbing business, you’re gonna be better off if you’re gonna be better off if you’ve got a whole bunch of customers who can afford to hire you, and right now everybody’s so pinched that business is bad for everybody and I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.
– Barack Obama speaking to Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher
Is Obama going to come out as a bearded Marxist? Not if he wants to get re-elected – but there can be no doubt that he and the Democratic party are carrying the flag for the socialist revolution dreamed of by Engels and Marx – and unfortunately also by Americans like Woodrow Wilson, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Eugene V. Debs, Norman Thomas and Bernie Sanders.