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A Real Socialist Explains Why Obama Isn’t One of Them…

CNN’s John Blake posted an article the other day that is just too rich to let pass without comment. CNN, certainly very Obama-friendly, was probably trying to do our President a solid by posting this piece in an effort to prove to the Tea Party activists and others who are not fans of Mr. Obama’s policies that he is not — yikes — a Socialist! So Blake interviewed an authority on the matter…

According to CNN, when it comes to the passage of the new health care bill…

[Billy] Wharton, co-chair of the Socialist Party USA, sees no reason to celebrate. He’s seen people with bumper stickers and placards that call Obama a socialist, and he has a message for them: Obama isn’t a socialist. He’s not even a liberal.

“We didn’t see a great victory with the election of Barack Obama,” Wharton says, “and we certainly didn’t see our agenda move from the streets to the White House.”

Obama’s opponents have long described him as a socialist. But what do actual socialists think about Obama? Not much, says Wharton.

And here is where CNN shares a doozy and my second favorite line of the entire article. According to Mr. Wharton:

“He’s the president whose main goal is to protect the wealth of the richest 5 percent of Americans.”

Ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding !!!! Bingo! You win the prize. Corporate bailouts. Crony capitalism. “Too big to fail policies” that encourage Wall Street thugs who have been reckless to continue said behavior knowing they will get bailed out when they fail again. A health insurance plan to benefit Big Insurance and Big Phrma, bailing out mis-managed car companies….

Mr. Obama is a corporatist.

One of his biggest economic advisors is Austan Goolsbee (um, the guy who wants to privatize Social Security). I said it when President Bush was trying to do the same thing – do you want some of these Wall Street ganeffs (crooks) managing your hard earned dough and playing Ponzi schemes with your retirement?

The following should be of interest:

[Wharton] and others say the assertion that Obama is a socialist is absurd.

“It makes no rational sense. It clearly means that people don’t understand what socialism is.”

Definitions of socialism vary, but most socialists believe workers and consumers who are affected by economic institutions should own or control them.

Not all socialists, though, want to confiscate personal property. Democratic Socialists are more interested in protecting ordinary people from unregulated capitalism through regulation and progressive taxation.

Some of the socialist agenda is already part of American life, according to Wharton and others.

Social Security, Medicare, unemployment benefits — all reflect socialistic values, says Van Gosse, an associate professor of history at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who has researched socialist movements in the United States and Latin America.

The widely accepted notions of public education and Pell Grants for college students are socialistic in origin, Gosse says. They fit well with the socialistic premise that government should provide basic security from the cradle to the grave to all of its citizens, he says.

“We assert that education should not be left up to the private market — where those who can pay, get it and those who can’t, don’t get it,” Gosse says. “It’s a common good and in that sense it is a socialistic institution even if the U.S. remains a capitalist nation.”

Socialists are not happy with the recent 2,700 page health insurance reform bill…

They don’t applaud the passage of the recent health care bill either. They wanted a national “single-payer” health insurance plan with a government option. The bill that Obama championed didn’t have any of those features.

Wharton said the new health care bill only strengthens private health insurance companies. They get 32 million new customers and no incentive to change — something a socialist wouldn’t accept.

“Most of it was authored by the health care industry,” Wharton says. “I call it the corporate restructuring of health care.”

BINGO!! And in regard to The Obama administrations actions re the banks, just like Bush before him:

Other critics point to Obama’s Wall Street bailout — which actually had its roots in the Bush administration. Critics say it’s socialistic for government to assume control of private industry.

Frank Llewellyn, national director of the Democratic Socialists of America, says the bailout had nothing to do with socialism.

Llewellyn says a socialist leader would have at least nationalized some of the troubled banks.

“He gave them [the banks] too much with no strings attached,” Llewellyn says. “Banks that were too big to fail are bigger, and they can still fail.”

How about Obama’s bailout of the Detroit auto industry? During the bailout, the federal government assumed partial ownership of General Motors.

“It’s not socialism,” Llewellyn says. “The mere fact that the government owns something or has a stake in it, doesn’t make it socialist. If that was true, you would say that we have a socialist army. The government owns the army.”

Here’s where it gets interesting:

Defining socialism is complex, Llewellyn says, but it starts with a simple goal: Socialists want to introduce democratic features into the economy to reduce inequality.

The economy has “to be run for the overall benefit of the entire population, not for the benefits of a very few people.”

By that measure, Obama’s economic policies are not socialist, he says.

Many here at NoQuarter have long maintained that Presidents Obama and Bush are mirror images of each other. Mr. Llewellyn’s comments go some distance in making that point.

A tea party member had this to say in response:

“The role of government is to provide a safe environment to conduct business, not to take from one and give to the other,” says Quagliaroli, a financial planner who lives in Woodstock, Georgia.

Quagliaroli was not persuaded by the arguments of other socialist leaders who reject the idea that Obama is a socialist.

“He’s just not socialist enough for them.”

Quagliaroli says he doesn’t like socialism because it breeds mediocrity and encourages people to “live on the dole.” Capitalism “breeds excellence” because it encourages initiative, he says.

I have likewise heard other heretofore compassionate people becoming judgmental over the lifestyles of others, particularly if they are reckless, since we are now going to have to subsidize them. If “spreading the wealth acround” means I have lived by the rules my whole life and now have to bail out those who haven’t — no, I don’t like that either.

And now we come to my favorite line in the entire article – this ought to have heads exploding all over the country:

The argument over Obama’s ideology may rage on, but at least one socialist says another prominent politician ought to be inserted into the debate.

Llewellyn, the national director of the Democratic Socialists of America, says he was struck by one player in the 2008 presidential elections who displayed more socialistic leanings than Obama.

This candidate raised taxes on the big oil companies, and sent the revenue to the people.

If you want to learn something about spreading the wealth, Llewellyn says, don’t look to Obama.

“To be honest, the most socialist candidate in the 2008 election was Sarah Palin.”

Hmmm. Well, at least that gives the lie to lefties claiming Sarah Palin is some sort of reactionary.

I think the reason so many keep calling President Obama a socialist is that they don’t know how to term his political philosophy. Perhaps because the only one he seems to have is the one that is going to get him re-elected – namely putting money in the pockets of the groups who have the most dough to spend on his campaign.

His supporters didn’t want to admit it, but he got more money from Wall Street than any other candidate. Fannie and Freddie, Unions, Big Insurance, Big Phrma likewise helped put him over the top – burying all comers in an avalanche of money. His policies most seem to benefit them. Not us. Even the rumblings we are hearing about proposed regulatory reform in the banking industry leave me doubtful anything will be imposed that has real teeth. This health care plan was more or less written by insurance companies for their own benefit. How can we believe anything else that comes out of this administration is going to be for the benefit of those on the street?

Frankly, I’m not sure what name to give what is coming out of this White House but it sure seems to continue the idea that an elite few create policies that most benefit themselves, and we are told to sit down, shut up and take what’s left over.

What would you call it?

  • Enrique Vela

    Obama himself, the Times explained, has been “longingly” telling his inner circle that what he’d really like to do is what Sen. Jay Bulworth, played by Warren Beatty in his 1998 movie “Bulworth,” did: to go public as an unabashed, angry and admitted socialist.

  • Eat liberals words are free

    It’s amazing that you speak of texans as if you know something. I guess you can hate on us small town people. We chose to live by our roots, follow the law, we don’t all drink, but most of us do own guns. We own horses, ranches, and beef on the hoof. Have you eaten beef lately? Or bought some veggies? They may have come from Texas. Did you fill up your car the last couple weeks? Well thank God texans Have let them upset our quiet little towns. Letting them tear up what’s been in our family for 100 years so that we can help pull this country out of debt. Or do you think we are all just sitting around here kicking cow patties? No we are all working all te time. Maybe that’s why our state is so great, our medical is fine, and when old people get old guess what we do? We go out of our ways to help them. If small towns in Texas were America, America would be fine. Bunch of lazy people is what I think when I see people with their hands out to government. Anyone can work right now, just means you might have to make some sacrifices. Like pride, pay, and job feild change.

    • Brett

      Hey, I’ve never been to Texas. I’m sure there’s some wonderful people there, and some jerks… just like everywhere else. But your state is just not “so great,” if you go by the numbers. Your “medical” is not “fine.” Texas is one of the most unhealthiest states in the entire country. Texas is one of the fattest states in the entire country. Texas has the most uninsured people in the entire country. The child poverty rate is 26.2%, 3 percentage points higher than the national average. Texas has the third highest percentage of low-wage jobs in the entire country. 59% of Texans don’t have access to preschool. 60% of 8th graders were seen to not be proficient in Math in 2011. 21% of High School students in 2009-2010 failed to graduate on time.

      I don’t have anything personal against Texas, but their policies suck for human growth potential. They’re exactly what the government (with the help of both the Democratic and Republican parties) wish to see the entire country turn into. A country of fat, unhealthy, uneducated, poor people. The only difference is they would also prefer to take away the guns…

  • Fuck republicans

    Dude, Go back to Mastribating in the barnyard, or bitching about outdated textbooks or somthing you small town republicans do on their spare time.

    I dont see an Anti-American lying scumbag, I just see an African American president who is cleaning up the shit laying all over america from the last two idiot texans.

    I hope you do notice a trend that has occured in history. When bush was elected… the economy did bad under the first Bush. then Clinton came in and got the econom in the black…that is until George W. Bush came in and — given 9-11 did happen, however similar events (note terrorist events such as the uni bomber’s rein of terror, Oklahoma City bombing, and events like that) the 9-11 attacks hit the twin towers, yes, and our economy did kind of a barrel roll, but what Bush did in responce, instead of working with the police, we just went in guns-a-blazing, and caused civil unrest in some Middle Eastern countries that ‘coincidentally, had oil’.

    Although you might just be too buisy giving Texas Breathalyzers to give a fuck about what is right

  • texasvetgal

    Ok, he’s not a Fabian Socialist in the classic sense of the word, What he IS, is a anti-American, leftist, race-baiting lying scumbag, who never misses an oppurtunity to divide this country along ,Race, Economic, Gender, and Political lines,  just like the rest of the far left party of demoncraps  thats left over from the 2010 election. These asshats hate this Country and Constitution, and want to replace it with a European Style Welfare State. Our Free Market, Capitalist form of Government has lifted more people out of poverty than Socialism has EVER achieved, regardless of its flavor.

    • Brett

      What this country is moving towards, and has been since the Reagan era, is what’s called “State Capitalism.” State Capitalism is not to be confused with Socialism. Libertarian Socialism is, by far, the only thing that will get this country back on track. Capitalism, specifically State Capitalism (or Crony Capitalism, the worst kind) continues to put millions in poverty every year. Not just in this country, on a global scale our capitalist means have demolished every, what we would call, “third world countries.” These countries are not inherently poor, they are rich in resources, yet by means of Capitalism large scale corporations (the ones who control both parties in this country) have raped and pillaged these nations, leaving them starving and homeless.

      Libertarian Socialism (look it up, it exists) is the only answer. Capitalism, almost by definition, can only end at State Capitalism. As a philosophy, and as a reality, it can only lead to State Capitalism (look that one up too) with no exceptions.

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  • Jonathan

    Obama is about as socialist as my butt. The Americans that claim this make me laugh out loud. Come over to Europe and see the socialists that are everywhere. Obama would be far on the right of most conservative parties over here. To call him or the Democrats socialist is utterly absurd, that is correct, to call him and them liberal well just maybe there is a case for that… 

  • Jubeju

    Well written and backed up with facts…bravo, sir.  Meet the new boss…same as the old boss.  See ya in the Camps in 10 years…

  • Carlaforhillary

    Thank you. 

  • beachnan

    Carla for Hillary, I like what you had to say.  It is all about Obama, and how his policies will affect him.  If he really cared about health care for everyone, he wouldn’t have allowed the health care providers
    to write the bill.  The media is trying to put out the meme that the tea party is calling him a “socialist”, so that they can pigeon hole the tea parties.  I just call him an arrogant, self-serving man, that doesn’t know what it means to care about others, unless those people can promote him, or give him their complete adoration.  Thanks Ani for the great post as usual. 

  • elaine

    Don’t get too confused.  Rules for the Politburo are always a few rungs above the masses.

  • beachnan

    Hate the term Slick Willie.  I call bullshit on your comment.  I think his comments were fair and reasoned.  He said that people had a right to disagree with their government.  He said they have a right to protest.  If the media wants to take his comments and make them into something else, then that is the media.  He is the first big Dem to come out and say that he thought political discussion was a good thing.  I think you will agree that Bill went out of his way, not to say anything negative about George Bush either.  I do not like the current crop of Dems, Obama, Reid, Pelosi, etc, but I don’t like the way everything is painted in big broad strokes.  If seems as though everyone wants to sweep out all the Dems, and I will probably be voting for Republicans this time, so that Obama will not be able to push his agenda any further, but not all Dems are bad, and not all Republicans are good-far from it.   

  • starburst

    Me too, Sassy.

  • starburst

    Ooops, i.e. “that scar”.  

  • starburst

    Yeah, sowsear, that scare is about four inches long.  What’s up with that?

  • Carlaforhillary

    Great Post Ani.  I don’t think that there really is one term to define Obama’s ideology.  From what he has said himself, (“seeking out the Marxist professors, etc..”) I do think that Socialism/Marxism was his ideological base.  Remember back when that Newspaper clip? was floated around on the internet with him as a socialist democrat party member?  But, then I think when he went back to Chicago and started his political career, – he knew he wouldn’t be able to get far without the backing of the Unions, etc..he is basically a  self-serving individual hiding under the guise that he is here to help us. He wouldn’t have been able to get elected his image wasn’t that he was here to help us. That is the deal that so many of his supporters wrongly bought.  I don’t think Obama knows what he is – he is what he needs to be at that moment to get where he wants to go. The reason for that is because it worked. He is the president.

    “Security, Medicare, unemployment benefits — all reflect socialistic values, says Van Gosse,” – I do think these are socialistic values, and many Americans are now realizing this and also that they really don’t benefit Americans as much as they should. That is why you have the Tea Party people revolting against any more type of entitlements. 

    As Maragret Thatcher said “The problem with Socialism is eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

    Of course there are different definitions of Socialism, etc. Everyone defines things based on how they want or need it perceived.

    Again, this was a great post. It is great to be informed about what and how other people think.

  • starburst

    Yttk, exactly!

  • Obama: Dubya 2 Electric Boogaloo

    Most likely the brain….

  • Hokma

    I agree. The United States cannot be radically transformed overnight and Obama’s plan is to set it on the path.

    Socialism is government control of all aspects of the economy and society. The government is supposed to be “the people” but in actuality it is an authoritarian oligarchy. 

    Under Obama nearly 50% of the private sector is now under government control. He is trying to quickly redistribute wealth. His healthcare overhaul set the industry on a path to be controlled by by the government. He intends on doing the same thing with education and energy.

    There is nothing in this man’s history that would lead you to believe he is anything but a socialist. How he gets the USA there is clearly in incremental stages, but there is a definite path.

  • Rosa

    I would bet the teachers are not so happy with him now…..

  • kenoshamarge

    Why on earth would a free American Citizen care what the hell Hillary Clinton approved or disapproved of? We support or approve or whatever of whomever we choose as free citizens. The fact that so many people seem to find some celebrity’s or politcian’s endorsement a reason to support this candidate or that is something I find appalling.

    Hillary Clinton is responsible for her vote. I am responsible for mine. She probably voted for Obama because she is a Democrat and that seems to come first with her.

    I voted for McCain/Palin because my country comes first with me and I thought then and believe now that John McCain and Sarah Palin are both more concerned with their country. I did not then and do not now agree with all of their issues. But I respect both of them. I have no respect for Obama or the Democratic Leadership. Their subsequent actions have proved that I was right.

    I only regret all the years that I was a partisan pinhead. I probably voted “for” some and “agin” some when I should have done the opposite. Being a partisan is so much easier than thinking for yourself. Probably explains why so many just go with the party flow.

  • ~~JustMe~~

    Royalist gives a good impression of “Thee One” Working towards sitting on his throne donning a magnificent crown. The“O” regime! He’s probably practicing the royal wave so he has it down pat!

  • ~~JustMe~~

    Royalist gives a good impression of “Thee One” Working towards sitting on his throne donning a magnificent crown. The“O” regime! He’s probably practicing the royal wave so he has it down pat!

  • arabella trefoil

    Real pictures of Obama’s scars. It seems to be a kind of “T” shape. In other photos ( which I can’t find right now) it looks as if his skalp had been lifted up and away from his cranium and then replaced.

    There are no references to any childhood accidents that would account for this.

    Gotta go, I have a Microbiology exam.

  • Breeze

    OT-

    From Riverdaughter:

    Today is Patriots’ Day, a holiday in Massachusetts that commemorates the the initial Revolutionary War battles in Lexington and Concord. On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere
    …was sent for by Dr. Joseph Warren and instructed to ride to Lexington, Massachusetts, to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British troops were marching to arrest them. After being rowed across the Charles River to Charlestown by two associates, Paul Revere borrowed a horse from his friend Deacon John Larkin. While in Charlestown, he verified that the local “Sons of Liberty” committee had seen his pre-arranged signals. (Two lanterns had been hung briefly in the bell-tower of Christ Church in Boston, indicating that troops would row “by sea” across the Charles River to Cambridge, rather than marching “by land” out Boston Neck. Revere had arranged for these signals the previous weekend, as he was afraid that he might be prevented from leaving Boston).

    On the way to Lexington, Revere “alarmed” the country-side, stopping at each house, and arrived in Lexington about midnight. As he approached the house where Adams and Hancock were staying, a sentry asked that he not make so much noise. “Noise!” cried Revere, “You’ll have noise enough before long. The regulars are coming out!”
    On the morning of April 19, 1775, the “embattled farmers stood and fired the shot heard ’round the world.”
    At the Concord North Bridge, a small group of militia battled a force of British soldiers. At this point, the British commander decided to retreat back toward Lexington, as it became evident that more and more Minutemen were arriving from all of the local villages and farms.

    During this retreat, the British kept to the road, while the American farmers fired at them from behind trees, walls and any obstacle they could find. When the British force returned to Lexington, they were met by a relief column. The combined British units then headed for Boston. The Minutemen continued to harass them the whole way.

    By the end of the day, British casualties numbered 273, while the colonials suffered only 94, 18 of which fell during the initial clash at Lexington. The American Revolutionary War had begun

  • oowawa

    Right on Breeze–my favorite so far . . .

  • Ani

    Pink fluffy bunny, you are the best!  :)

    Great musical choice…

  • Ferd Berfle

    A real socialist would live in a kibbutz.

    That One isn’t Jewish
    That One doesn’t share
    That One doesn’t care

    He isn’t a socialist or anything resembling what I would call a good man. He’s nothing more than a shyster.

  • oowawa

    You know, this is really a very old problem.  Every time a new Messiah shows up, there’s a tremendous amount of initial enthusiasm, but eventually His worshippers just don’t quite know where He, or they, fit into the overall scheme of things.  Is he a Socialist, a Populist, or a Corporatist?  Is he Robin Hood or the Sheriff of Nottingham?  What is a devoted follower to make of this inspiring new phenomenon?

     

     

  • oowawa

    You know, this is really a verfy old problem.  Every time a new Messiah shows up, there’s a tremendous amount of initial enthusiasm, but eventually his worshippers just don’t quite know where He, or they, fit into the overall scheme of things.  Is he a Socialist, a Populist, or a Corporatist?  Is he Robin Hood or the Sheriff of Nottingham?  What is a devoted follower to make of this inspiring new phenomenon?

  • Ferd Berfle

    Thank you, Ani. I could not have said it better.

  • Ferd Berfle

    I concur, jwrjr. See below.

  • Ferd Berfle

    I know I’ve posted this before but That One is an entirely new type of autocrat. He combines the very worst of both the extreme right and extreme left, primarily because he doesn’t care about the ramifications of his “policies” as they will not have an effect on him. He apparently knows he won’t be reelected so he will go full-bore with his “vision” of the new America. In so doing, he will leave behind his many bots to languish under the bus, will destroy the American dream (because he wasn’t given credit for it), and not lose a bit of sleep. All the bloggers and regular commenters here predicted this. Somehow, I don’t feel any better about it.