March 14, 2009
-- by Dave Johnson
Is President Obama a "socialist?"
During the campaign this accusation was everywhere. According to Google there are currently 4,700,000 sites on the web with the words "Obama" and "Socialist." A couple of pre-election examples: Obama’s International Socialist Connections "Blogger Steve Bartin, who has been following Obama's career and involvement with the Chicago socialists, has uncovered a fascinating video showing Obama campaigning for openly socialist Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.", Is Obama a socialist? "Obama has declared that he believes every person has a "right" to health care. The Socialist Party USA believes every person has a "right" to health care."
As silly as those pre-election accusations were, now it is Republican leaders making the claim that President Obama is a socialist,
Obama's plans are "one big down payment on a new American socialist experiment," asserts House minority leader John Boehner. He's "the world's best salesman of socialism," says Republican Senator Jim DeMint.Never mind that Republicans don't even know that "socialism" means public ownership of the means of production, operated for the benefit of society and the people-at-large instead of for the profit of a select few. Of course, no one is talking about that, not even the Republicans making the direct "socialist" accusations. They mean something they call "European-style socialism,"
The five-term Republican said that he has gotten praise from his constituents for opposing the stimulus and warned that the country may succumb to "European-style socialism."
As we all know, when Republicans get on a talking point, they all get on it, almost as if someone were telling them to. Other examples of recent Republican accusations that Obama is taking us to "European-style socialism," here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and I'm only stopping because my fingers are getting tired.
So, let's take a look at whether Obama meets the Republican definition of a "European-style socialist" by comparing what we have in the U.S. to some of the things that "socialist" Europe offers to its citizens: (Note - Europe is not socialist...)
National health care system assuring every citizen has equal access to quality care? NO.
Five-six weeks mandatory vacation for everyone? NO.
Extended maternal leave for new parents? NO.
Day care provided for children? NO.
Fair(er) wages for all workers? NO.
Shorter, less stressful working hours? NO.
More even distribution of the benefits of the economy? NO.
Government services for citizens instead of a select few. NO.
Retirement at a relatively young age? NO.
Retirement with a good pension? NO.
Citizens having a say in how the economy is managed? NO.
Citizens protected from predatory corporations? NO.
So, even though the accusation was absurd on the face of it, even comparing Obama's policies to some of the "socialist" things offered to the people in Europe, Obama is not a socialist.
Posted by Dave Johnson at March 14, 2009 9:54 AM
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