Why Obama's the Least Socialistic President in Modern History (And That's a Shame)
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Gingrich reacted to the GOP's 2010 electoral victories in his book by saying, “The American people rejected the secular-Socialist machine that had seized control of the Federal government.”
In fact, one of the reasons Republicans really won in 2010 was because they ran a series of very effective ads around a so-called “ Seniors' Bill of Rights” whose key proviso was a direct attack on “socialist” Obama's repeated attempts to negotiate entitlement cuts: “No cuts to Medicare to pay for another program,” the Republicans declared. “Zero.”
Yes, these Republicans were defending one of our country's most socialistic, and most popular programs, while accusing their “socialist” opponent of trying to cut it.
Gingrich's 2011 book waxes triumphant about recent conservative victories int Europe's three largest economies -- Germany, France and Great Britain. Within 18 months those governments' policies had plunged Europe into a deep recessionary spiral. He singles out the British election as a vote to “reverse years of socialist decay through through a dramatic, Thatcher-like policy of radically shrinking the public sector, slashing government spending, reducing welfare, and restoring public enterprise.”
What he didn't say is that Great Britain is now struggling with setbacks in unemployment, wages and growth, and recently weathered a series of nationwide riots sparked by economic conditions.
Gingrich was firm in his predictions for Obama in 2011. The president, said Gingrich, would embrace “card check” politics for unions and promote cap-and-trade to slow the ongoing destruction of our fragile ecosystem. Gingrich's predictions proved false as Obama quickly abandoned both initiatives.
Nostradamus he isn't. But Gingrich, undeterred by reality, still insists that Obama is imposing a “radical,” “secular/socialist state” on the American people.
The socialist theme was quickly picked up by the other GOP candidates. “Obama's socialist policies are bankrupting America,” said a Rick Perry TV ad. Michele Bachmann concluded her Iowa campaign by declaring she wouldn't let Obama “implement socialism” in the United States. Rick Santorum accused Obama of not doing enough to fight “ militant socialism” around the world (the first draft of his presentation used the phrase “godless socialism”), adding that Obama is a “radical.”
Front-runner Mitt Romney was the lone holdout, the only candidate not to label the president with the S-word. But he couldn't hold out forever, especially since both his rivals and the press pressed him about it repeatedly. He tried to avoid the question when he was asked directly whether Obama was a socialist, but finally allowed that the president “takes his political inspiration from Europe and from the socialist democrats in Europe.” (Romney pointedly described Europe's “social democrats” as “ socialist democrats” for maximum effect.)
And despite this year's lofty declarations against personal attacks, John McCain wasn't above a little red-baiting himself in the final weeks of the 2008 campaign. "At least in Europe the socialist leaders who so admire my opponent are upfront about their objectives," he said then. "They use real numbers and honest language.”
The Enemy Within
In time-honored fashion, the red-baiters soon began to turn on one another. Gingrich described Romney as a “Massachusetts moderate” whose campaign was studying “European socialist ideas.” And a caller to Rush Limbaugh's program even accused Limbaugh, who is above all else a Republican Party operative, of supporting the “socialist” Romney.
“If you're going to start throwing the 'socialism' term around there,” Limbaugh answered indignantly, “I'll tell you, these are times of tumult.”
Now he tells us.
Ron Paul's extreme libertarianism makes him, authentically, the least socialistic candidate in the race. Yet Paul was the only candidate who refused to call Obama a socialist. He's a “ corporatist,” said Paul, an assessment with considerably more evidence to support it.