Barack Obama: Can we call him a Socialist now?

Posted by: Phineas on May 25, 2012 at 12:01 pm

**Posted by Phineas

Oh, my. Take a look at this:

It’s a reminder that the President presented himself as much more progressive during his time in Chicago. In this little-seen advertisement that ran in the Hyde Park Herald in 1996, Obama was listed on a panel sponsored by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), University of Chicago Democrats, and University of Chicago DSA. He also supported gay marriage back then.

Click through to see the image of the flyer.

Of course, long-time readers know that I’ve been certain Obama is a Socialist of one form or another for quite a while. Stanley Kurtz did the CSI: Politics work, and I found the argument convincing. Moreover, there’s never been a whit of evidence that Obama has abandoned or renounced his Socialist politics. At most, he’s given up the revolutionary radicalism he favored in his college years and migrated to an incrementalist, gradualist Socialism that seeks to change the system from within.

But, regardless, he’s still a Socialist.

PS: For those wondering if this really matters, it does. Understanding Obama’s political core gives us an idea of where he would like to take the nation in a second term, and forms a handy point of contrast to Mitt Romney. Also, Socialism has never worked wherever it’s been tried, something to keep in mind to tell people who say they don’t care about ideology, they just care about “what works.”

via Jim Hoft

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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27 Responses to “Barack Obama: Can we call him a Socialist now?”

Comments

  1. PE says:

    To me, the most significant attributes of Obama is that he is a lying,anti-American SOB. This recent revelation of his socialism connection is, to me, just one more of a multitude of data points that support the obvious fact that he is a truly bad person, trying his best to do terrible things to our country.

  2. rssg says:

    Basically I say no we are not allowed to call The One(termer) a socialist. The moderate/Beltway/Neecon GOP’ers balk at any such talk. Medved, Bill Bennett and such freak out if you mention the word “socialist” when speaking about Barry.

  3. Neo says:

    It’s getting hard to figure out who is “Radical Right” any more.

    First, we have this from the Southern Poverty Law Center, “30 New Activists Heading Up the Radical Right” which include known Radical Right-wingers as Malik Zulu Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP). Didn’t Obama hang with these folks ?

    Then, we have this from the World Socialists, “Behind the right-wing racial politics of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton“, the title speaks for itself .. or does it.

    Hey, it’s nice to see the Black community showing some real diversity, but is that what this really is ?

  4. Sefton says:

    These people have always been about changing their spots and then adding the (juvenile) projection to demonize the other side, because there’s that inconvenient thing called Truth that gets in the way.

    They know that most of the country recognizes “socialist” and “communist” as historically unwanted labels that won’t work, so they continually relabel themselves to get around it. But the ideology is still there and so is the goal.

    Oblamer and his Marxist staff is betting that most of the country will be either naive or stupid enough to fall for it – and, unfortunately, most did in 2008.

    We get another chance this November. And this one is probably for the whole ball of wax.

  5. Drew the Infidel says:

    At the outset I called him a mistake in judgment by the electorate. Since then I have called him everything but a child of God. Ever wonder where the idea for those hideous yellow curtains in the WH came from? The first time I saw those was in some building in the Middle East when Shrillary was visiting a head of state. Now what does that tell you? “Monkey see, monkey do”, or is that “racist” these days?

  6. Zachriel says:

    A few points:

    1st, while you may disagree with the Democratic Socialists of America, they believe in democratic change and reject communism.

    2nd, just because Obama talks with socialists doesn’t make him a socialist. He’s not.

    3rd, right-wing attempts to link Obama to the Democratic Socialists of America has increased their public exposure and membership. Good work!

  7. david foster says:

    Obama’s economics are actually closer to classical Fascism than to classical Socialism. I don’t think he has any desire to have the government OWN the factories, mines, and retail stores. He would prefer to keep them in nominally-private hands, under his thumb and beholden to him for their survival. That way he can avoid any accountability for their performance.

  8. david foster says:

    Zach…yeah, I’m familiar with Godwin’s Law. Quoting it doesn’t disprove the point.

    Also, not all Fascists were Nazis. Mussolini, for example.

    Fascists also differ from Marxists in that they prefer various forms of mysticism rather than the elaborate pseudo-logical theoretical structure preferred by the latter. (As many of our present-day “progressives” tend to be believers in magical crystals, astrology, a conscious Gaiaa, etc). And, of course, Fascists also tend to believe that an individual’s identity is largely defined by his race/ethnicity.

  9. Phineas says:

    @ David Foster:

    Obama’s economics are actually closer to classical Fascism than to classical Socialism. I don’t think he has any desire to have the government OWN the factories, mines, and retail stores. He would prefer to keep them in nominally-private hands, under his thumb and beholden to him for their survival. That way he can avoid any accountability for their performance.

    You’re quite right as far as the classical definitions of Fascism and Socialism. What this misses, though, is how “mainstream” American Socialism has changed since the 70s, something Kurtz covers in detail in “Radical in Chief,” which is one reason I often recommend it.

    Briefly, Socialism in the US went through a crisis after Vietnam, Watergate, and Nixon’s resignation failed to bring about the collapse of the government and Socialist revolution. They were shocked at the resilience of the system and the resistance of the American people (including those “oppressed groups” they were there to “help”) to bare-naked Socialism.

    That lead to nearly a decade controversy and soul-searching within the Socialist movement that, by about 1981, resulted in a broad consensus that an incrementalist working “upward” through community groups (community organizing being a Socialist profession) while working with sympathetic mainstream pols and bureaucrats was a better route to eventual Socialism. Rather than outright “social” ownership of industry, it was decided it was better to keep ownership an eventual goal and, for now, seek the same results by controlling businesses through a combination of regulation from above allied with community groups (such as ACORN) pressuring from below. The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), at whose gathering Obama spoke, was a result of this process.

    If this smells like Italian Fascism or Corporatism, I wouldn’t disagree. Let’s not forget that many early New Dealers had a great admiration for Benito.

    In the end, though, it may be a distinction without much of a difference: Fascism, Socialism, and progressivism are all points on the leftward or Statist end of the political spectrum. The first two are very close to each other, and the third not all that far behind.

  10. Carlos says:

    The other day my youngest and I were lightly discussing minor politics and she said I was “an extreme rightist.” Much to her dismay I pointed out to her that it wasn’t me who was moving rightward politically, but the left that was barreling headlong into socialist progressivism.

    “For example, dear, I am nearly dead-even with John F. Kennedy, a leftist/liberal saint, economically. I am not even that much more socially conservative than JFK, especially considering his (stated) views on contraception and abortion.”

    I told her to go home and research it. I don’t expect to hear more about it, but I know she will do the research eventually.

    I have been trying for years to get her to realize just how badly the left usurps the language to use it for their nefarious purposes. I know this will bring her to another spot of light in her mind, where she’ll realize that dear old dad really isn’t the knuckledragger she thought he was a few short years ago.

    It doesn’t matter what DUh-1 is called. What matters is he is destroying the most successful experiment in freedom in human history, all because he can’t stand the thought of others being capable of sentient thought about how to live their own lives.

  11. Zachriel says:

    david foster: Obama’s economics are actually closer to classical Fascism than to classical Socialism.

    It’s very hard to credit an argument that uses the term fascism in such a facile fashion. Fascism is defined as an authoritative government stressing absolute regimentation, forcible suppression of opposition, and extreme racial and national inequality.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fascism

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism

    Larsen et al., Who were the Fascists: Social Roots of European Fascism, Oxford University Press 1985.

    Obama is no more a fascist than he is a socialist. On the latter point, the belief that government has a role in society, such as providing universal public education, or that interventions in a collapsing economy may be necessary, does not make one a socialist.

    One might, perhaps, make a slippery slope argument, but that’s not what is being argued here.

  12. Zachriel says:

    Bill Maher: Obama ‘is a lousy socialist’
    LINK

  13. ST says:

    Right, because Bill Maher is America’s most trusted source on who is and who is not a “good Socialist” ;))

  14. Francesco says:

    Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren, and a few others in the Democratic Party, are stealth incrementalist ideological socialists. They and their political strategists know American voters would reject an open, straight up socialist platform, so they are trying to sneak it in in little bits and pieces hoping short attention span voters won’t notice.

  15. Carlos says:

    Zachriel will never admit to the fallacies (or even, possibly, the reality) of socialism.

    Possibly because he’s blinded by the goop surrounding his head stuck so far up his behind.

    For anyone who cannot see the socialist agenda of Dear Leader, that can be the only explanation, unless that person is aiding the agenda by outright lying/covering up.

  16. Zachriel says:

    Carlos: Zachriel will never admit to the fallacies (or even, possibly, the reality) of socialism.

    You shouldn’t make vague references. In any case, government control of business is inherently inefficient and subject to corruption, even when democratic. Successful modern societies are all mixed systems, with power balanced at many levels throughout, from divided governments with executive, legislative and an independent judiciary, the rule of law, corporations, political parties, individuals, including the rights of free speech and free association, and the protection of private property. This sort of division of power does require compromises, and is certainly imperfect, but provides the stability necessary to preserve rights, while allowing for robust markets and culture.

  17. Carlos says:

    Robust markets? What country are you living in? The markets are so stiflingly over-regulated now in this country by petty little bureaucratic Hitlers, encouraged by petty big bureaucratic Hitlers like Chu and Obama, with a healthy dose of blindness/stupidity by Congress and the courts allowing such, that it’s a wonder anything ever gets produced now in this country.

    “…government control of business is inherently inefficient and subject to corruption…”

    And so the answer is even more government interference? More regulation of the tiniest detail?

    Yep, that doesn’t sound like socialism to me, just egghead nonsense that’s as pertinent to reality as the Mad Hatter’s talk.

  18. Zachriel says:

    xCarlos: Robust markets? What country are you living in?Robust markets?

    Allowing for robust markets is essential for the protection of individual rights and for economic development. However, unrestrained markets are dangerously destabilizing.

    Carlos: Hitler … Hitler.

  19. Carlos says:

    @Zachriel: I used to be one of the local guvmint “regulators” (a building inspector, anything from a little garage to a high-rise, with certification that told the world I knew what I was talking about) and can tell you that the attitude of a vast majority of those who worked on that side of the counter was that they didn’t like dealing with those pesky pests who had projects that didn’t fit exactly into whatever hole they, the bureaucrats, wanted them in.

    So, would it have been better if, instead of “Hitlers” I had called them “Stalins,” or maybe “Maos,” or been quite politically correct and gone with “tyrants?”

    It’s all the same to me. “Civilization” has advanced so far with the game of governing that, instead of hanging people on crosses, governments now just put them in jail for such crimes against the state as speaking out about oppression, building without permits in areas “sensitive” to non-human creatures or drilling for oil where it is instead of wasting time, money (a lot of which is taxes) and resources on flights of fancy like wind power and solar energy.

    Regulating business is a poor excuse for “protecting” people. I wouldn’t mind so much if business practices had regulation necessary to keep owners and corporations in line, but there’s a fine line between regulating the business and regulating practices, and the more one favors the former, the more one favors regulation of people, too.

    That’s just human nature.

  20. Zachriel says:

    Carlos: So, would it have been better if, instead of “Hitlers” I had called them “Stalins,” or maybe “Maos,” or been quite politically correct and gone with “tyrants?”

    No. Comparing troubles getting a permit due to overly complicated bureaucratic rules (for instance) with a national policy of exterminating millions of people because of their ethnicity or social class is still wrong.

    Carlos: building without permits in areas “sensitive” to non-human creatures or drilling for oil where it is instead of wasting time, money (a lot of which is taxes) and resources on flights of fancy like wind power and solar energy.

    Next thing you know, they’ll make you stop when the light is red!

  21. Carlos says:

    In case you haven’t read up on the subject, Zachriel, very little (if any) energy is saved by wind “farms” or solar power. This is not due to the unreliability of the producing generators specifically, but due to the enormous unreliability of those producers. It wouldn’t make any difference if solar and wind produced 100% of what is needed any given hour or even day. The coal- and gas-fired plants, the nuclear plants, the hydro dams – they still have to stay on line producing 100% of what is required.

    In other words, “clean energy” is a scam proportional to anything Madoff or Wall Street has ever produced.

    And as far as using Hitler, Stalin, Mao, “tyrant” or any other term to describe petty bureaucrats: the power of such beasts starts with such locals and is fed into by such locals because they know from whence their power comes. Take away the head of the beast, and all the littler beasties start running around without direction or purpose because their “purpose” is to keep the people from exercising sound judgment and personal choice, unless that judgment or choice falls in line with their petty, provincial rules and regulations.

  22. Zachriel says:

    Carlos: In other words, “clean energy” is a scam proportional to anything Madoff or Wall Street has ever produced.

    Perhaps, but not equivalent to a national policy of exterminating the Jews.

  23. NC Cop says:

    So difficult to take someone seriously who actually quoted Bill Maher as a reference.

    Wow!

  24. Zachriel says:

    NC Cop: So difficult to take someone seriously who actually quoted Bill Maher as a reference.

    Heh.

    In this case, though, Maher does represent views typical of many well to the left on the political spectrum, such as pulling the troops out of Afghanistan, universal health care, cutting defense, and ending the drug war. As such, it provides a benchmark as to Obama’s position on the same spectrum. By that standard, Obama is a ‘lousy socialist’.

  25. Carlos says:

    Pay attention here, Zachriel: I had two separate thought lines in #22 there. One was about energy scams in response to your last line in #21, the other in response to your first response, same post. Try to keep them separate in your mind and responses, thank you.