Obama is a Socialist? – This Conservative Meme Needs to be Retired
“Well, the stimulus package passed and look at the stock market.”
Senator, Lindsey Graham (R – SC)
What an absurd statement. Sen. Graham is probably aware of its absurdity, which leads me to ponder: why would he say such a thing? Of course, he would love us to believe that Obama is responsible for the lowly state of the stock market. I suspect from what he said next on Sunday’s Meet the Press, Graham’s motives for the insinuation were even more misleading.
Graham finished, (emphasis added) “I think the president has quite frankly, in his budget, told us a lot about who he is and what he believes, and it’s scary.”
The implication that we should fear Obama’s beliefs is nothing but a backdoor accusation of a “socialist” agenda represented in the president’s budget. In effect, Graham has found a way to accuse Obama of such a program without actually saying it.
The senator should leave such tripe for the conservative pundits who, incidentally, have received far too much press as of late. For that reason they shall remain unnamed in this post.
Calling Obama a socialist is every bit as pointless as holding him responsible for stock prices. The inherent silliness of the “socialist” meme was recently given hilarious treatment in a OpEdNews.com post, by Steven Lesser:
… It is impossible to be a Socialist or a Communist if one is not calling for the nationalization of entire industries… If a government or a leader of a government is not taking over complete ownership and control of every business that has a certain function (i.e. does similar things), then you do not have a government or government leader that is Socialist or Communist. There is a similar relationship with property rights. If a government or leader is not advocating or actively taking private property rights away from people, you don’t have a Socialist or Communist government or leader.
The closest we are coming to doing anything remotely like this right now is with banking. There are people out there who are advocating temporary Nationalization of the banking industry, including some Republicans. Obama is an opponent of this idea…
The above quote was edited for the sake of disagreeing without being disagreeable. Lesser tends to treat Obama’s Republican critics harshly in his post. It’s hard to blame him for his incredulous tone. After all, his post was written in response to a letter to bloggers on the extremely conservative website, FreeRepublic.com from the site’s owner, Jim Robinson. He began his letter with this “gem”:
Unfortunately, we are saddled with a communist sympathizer in the White House. I don’t know whether or not he’s an actual card carrying commie, but he’s definitely an America-hating, anti-capitalist Marxist leftist who thinks communism is the way to go…
As I recall, FDR faced similar accusations back in the day.
Roosevelt shut down the banking system for the eight days following his inauguration in 1933. He restored a modicum of public confidence in the banks over those eight days with little more than a public tongue-lashing of bank operators, at the same time portraying an overwhelming sense of optimism regarding the American economy. While FDR is accused of a socialist agenda to this day, New Dealer & American journalist, Raymond Moley remarked, aptly in my opinion, that through Roosevelt’s efforts, “Capitalism was saved in eight days.”
What do you think Sen. Graham is getting at when he says “scary” in the above context? I think Graham, and others afflicted with his political disposition, are engaged in a losing strategy. They’re invoking the “Obama is a socialist” message intending listeners to somehow associate the president with Soviet communism and the latent anxiety left over from the Cold War.
I’m old enough to remember the Cold War. More recently I’ve spent more than a little time studying the period. It is that combined experience that has led me to the conclusion that Americans’ Cold War fears, were appropriate at various short periods during the tense era; however, they were too often overblown, sometimes irrational, and occasionally they were exploited by politicians. The present conservative invocation of such fears strikes me as one or all of the latter examples.
At the very least, assigning blame for falling stock prices to the Obama administration — and here’s why it’s not — is a sword that cuts two ways. Sen. Graham surely understands that blaming Obama for the down market means that he’ll also have to give Obama credit when prices rise. If the today’s market bump (+373 NYSE today) is an indicator of anything, it will mean that we’ll find out if he does soon enough.
Even if he doesn’t, the “socialist” meme needs to be challenged for the nonsense that it is. The Obama budget is, admittedly, ambitious, but it’s nothing to be afraid of.
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