Claims that Obama is overtly or secretly a socialist — a socialist canard — started in the long presidential campaign 2007-2008 and gained serious traction among the anti-Obama mob when McCain called him a socialist. Later, in talking with Joe the Plumber in Summer 2008, the anti-Obama mob blatantly misconstrued and took out of context one sentence made by the Obama during the exchange, a quote you can see in the quote-loop here in The Waterglass 3.0. The anti-Obama mob jumped on the sentence, seeing it as the smoking gun to Obama’s secret socialist agenda.
While the anti-Obama mob remembers only that sentence — sucking it in through their selectively-permeable brain-membranes like life-giving bacteria — the rest of America saw Obama explaining to Joe a system of tax-cuts that would apply for the majority of Americans. Tax-cuts means taking money out of possible government control and keeping it in private bank-accounts of Joe and 95% of America. That’s socialism?
If you think Obama is a socialist you are confused. let’s define socialism as a way of organizing the economy in which the State, as representative of the citizenry, owns and controls all the things that makes economies run: all businesses of all kinds (whether industrial or service sector, including health), the system of labor contracts, employee benefits, educational institutions, tax and tariffs on imports and exports, and regulations on foreign direct investment, as the major things. Let’s define extreme capitalism as a way of organizing the economy in which the State does not intervene at all in the economy.
Did you know that the governments of every single industrialized country in the world intervenes in their economies? Did you know that the U.S. government’s huge system of regulations strongly intervenes in all aspects of the economy, and that this American capitalist system predates Obama by over a hundred years?
Let’s properly think about the relationships between governments and economies as a continuum from extreme captialism on one end to extreme socialism at the other. Thus far, there has never been a case of extreme capitalism. The USSR came close to extreme socialism, but never quite got there because they allowed for some small-scale ownership of land. Poland during their socialist era allowed for private ownership of some businesses and most of agriculture. Not all socialisms are alike.
It appears that the anti-Obama mob wants to portray themselves as bulwarks against Obama’s socialist policies. If so, the anti-Obama mob are little more than a cavalry of Don Quixotes, tilting their lances at initiatives for growing small businesses and Obama’s tax-cut-happy policies they see as Stalinist-dragons. Did you know Obama wants to strengthen the school-voucher system, a policy right out of Milton Friedman’s playbook? Did you know that the only thing that never changed from Obama’s health care reform ideas is that people must be allowed to keep their private health insurance? Did you know that Obama’s Recovery Act is designed to boost not only the incomes of privately held real estate and construction companies but also their working and middle class employees? Do you know how much mega-corporation money went into Obama’s coffers during his presidential run?
Think of it this way, anti-Obamamites: do you really think that the big corporate capitalists are so stupid that they would give campaign donations to a socialist? Do you not realize that they thoroughly background check these candidates to see if their views are compatible? Do you really see CEOs who spent a lifetime as the real bulwarks of American capitalism as willfully blind to Obama’s so-called socialist wiles?
To me, the socialist canard reveals not only a deep misunderstanding of what socialism is, and how economies function, but an astoundingly naive worldview. Obama is as much in bed with the capitalists’ captains of industry as any past American president. Obama is so clearly not a socialist, and America is so clearly far from socialism, that the very idea is ridiculous.