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Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Obama the socialist" -- has the meme backfired?

It suddenly occurs to me that the Fox/teabagger propaganda campaign to convince America that Obama is a "socialist" has backfired.

Obama is, of course, no socialist -- not by any definition of the word that would make sense to me. He would not be given a chapter in an updated edition of To the Finland Station. Obama is a failed president precisely because he hasn't done much of anything to change the post-Reagan status quo.

Failure that he is, he sounds like a reasonable man -- especially when compared to the maniacs now vying for the GOP nomination. Obama's motto: Talk softly and carry a weak shtick.

So now we find ourselves in a strange situation: The "socialist" comes across as a moderate, decent fellow, even as he takes a stand only about three inches to the left of George W. Bush (and maybe one inch to the right of George H.W. Bush). Meanwhile, the anti-socialist candidates sound like Jack the Ripper on laughing gas. Even Mitt Romney, the establishment candidate, has dangerous ideas about Social Security.

The end result is to make socialism seem benign -- non-threatening. 36% of Americans favor socialism, which means that socialism is now more popular in this country than is the Tea Party. This development is unprecedented. I don't know how many Americans favored socialism back in the 1970s, but I doubt that the figure was larger than ten percent.

The propaganda campaign has backfired: The Fox Newsers have managed to make socialism seem respectable.

The propagandists have tried to convince the populace that there is no middle ground between 100% Ayn-approved capitalism and Godless Bolshevism. As long as Social Security remains popular, that false dichotomy will only serve to make Godless Bolshevism seem like the less-frightening alternative.
Back in the 70's I registered as a socialist, then a libertarian.Then I found out that I needed a job and registered differently. Of course, I never vote a straight anything. But I wonder how many secret socialists there are in America? Perhaps as many as actually understand the term?
Fascinating point. I dont know if you are right but I can see how it could happen. I do know that if you make life impossible for people they will eventually push back.

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