Socialist Party USA Leader: Obama Isn’t A Socialist

While many conservatives continue to refer to the President as a socialist, actual Socialists seem to disagree:

Full-fledged U.S. socialists are relatively scarce these days — three socialist-oriented presidential candidates received about 21,000 votes among them in 2008. And current socialist leaders don’t share the right-wing view that Obama is a fellow traveler.

“It makes absolutely no sense,” said Greg Pason, national secretary of the Socialist Party USA. Obama’s health care overhaul “is anything but socialist. It’s bailing out for-profit companies.”

So, well, there’s that.

H/T Andrew Sullivan

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Politicians, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    It’s official now: The only people who believe that Obama is a socialist are Republicans.

    Basically, Obama is what we used to be cal a “liberal Republican.”

    Really, substantively, how different is Obama from guys like Jacob Javits, Mark Hatfield, Jim Stafford, Lincoln Chaffee or Olympia Snowe?

  2. David M says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Really, substantively, how different is Obama from guys like Jacob Javits, Mark Hatfield, Jim Stafford, Lincoln Chaffee or Olympia Snowe?

    His actual policies and actions matter much less than the “D” instead of an “R”.

  3. JKB says:

    Well, then there you go, a socialist has never been known to deny someone to be a socialist in order to further the cause.

    But, we must look at the fact that socialism was narrowly defined to make fellow travelers less alarming. It was defined popularly as the state ownership of the means of production. But after that failed so miserably in Britain, till Thatcher threw it off, they abandoned socialism as a name to progressive and economic determinism. All are just chameleon to hide the underlying agenda.

    But Obama is ” the man who, in general, distrusts the effects of individual initiative and individual enterprise ; who is easily convinced of the utility of an assumption, by the State, of functions which have hitherto been left to personal choices and personal aims ; and who, in fact, supports and advocates many and large schemes of this character.”

    And before the third graders chime in, I acknowledge that Obama trusts his own individual initiative and enterprise as well as being eager to profit from such. It is the individual initiative and individual enterprise of those other people he distrusts. Those others being ones who do not accord him his expected fealty. Although, it does increasingly seem he doesn’t trust those who thought they bought indulgence either.

  4. Ah, but that’s what they would say.

  5. mantis says:

    @JKB:

    a socialist has never been known to deny someone to be a socialist in order to further the cause.

    If Ayn Rand came back from the dead and declared Obama a capitalist, JKB would see a plot by zombie Marx.

  6. mattb says:

    @JKB: And… other than your own gut beliefs, what *facts* are you exactly basing your assertion on.

    You get extra points for actually demonstrating where we can find socialist tenants or ideas within Obama’s Policies.

    Of course, you also lose points if you cite policies begun under the previous (Bush) administration, unless of course — GASP! — GWB was a closet socialist. Man the conspiracy runs deep.

    I wait with baited breath.

  7. Anonne says:

    News flash: water is wet.

  8. anjin-san says:

    And before the third graders chime in

    Somebody has to try and get you and the other first graders up to speed…

  9. Franklin says:

    Well I think the thing here is that labels like these just aren’t black and white. Even if you generalized “socialism” to basically mean the opposite of unfettered capitalism (unfettered vs. full-fettered, if you will), the difference between Republicans and Obama would be almost nothing. Any sane Republican might register as a 12% fetterer, with Obama more like a 14% fetterer. And hence my fetter index is born.

  10. george says:

    It’s pretty easy – look up the definition of “socialist” in a standard dictionary (Webster’s, Oxford etc), and see if Obama fits the definition.

    As far as I can tell, he fails on all the major tenants – whatever he is, it’s definitely not a socialist. To make the label fit him, it has to be warped to the extent where 99% of Americans are declared socialists.

    I’m guessing that the latter is what some in the GOP are doing – they’ve got their own private definition of “socialist” that is independent upon what the rest of the world means by the word. Same sort of thing as when some folks called Bush a “fascist” – private definition aimed at getting the connotation despite a completely different denotation.

  11. Ben Wolf says:

    It was defined popularly as the state ownership of the means of production.

    No, it was defined that way by the people who developed socialist economic theory. Dupes like yourself have attempted to expand the definition to “anything which impacts corporate profits or anything I don’t like”.

    When you start decrying the police and military as socialist, then you might have a shred of credibility.

  12. Jeremy says:

    As much as I dislike Obama and his policies, he isn’t a socialist. Or a communist. That much is clear.

    What he is is an old style cronyist. Instead of letting the free market actually function, he chooses winners and losers and forces the taxpayer to support his choices. Although one can easily see elements of socialism in his policies (particularly in the rhetoric) when it comes down to it, its just typical political management and corruption.

  13. An Interested Party says:

    Well, then there you go, a socialist has never been known to deny someone to be a socialist in order to further the cause.

    Ahh yes, it’s all part of the not so secret grand plot! You’ve really figured it all out…

    And before the third graders chime in…

    Projection from someone who writes ridiculous statements like the one above…

    What he is is an old style cronyist. Instead of letting the free market actually function, he chooses winners and losers and forces the taxpayer to support his choices.

    Certainly not to defend Obama, but who was the last president that this description didn’t apply to…

  14. Jeremy says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Certainly not to defend Obama, but who was the last president that this description didn’t apply to…

    That’s fair, but I think Obama has been doing it more than most. (Nixon definitely outranks him on just pure, general, overall corruption, though.) Obama also took the debt that Bush left behind, and instead of shrinking it like the first “Honey, I…” movie, went to the sequel instead. That counts.