Monday, October 27, 2008

Dictatorship of the Obamatariat?

Apparently unaware of the Marxist threat posed by an Obama presidency, the Financial Times has endorsed the Illinois senator.

US presidential elections involve a fabulous expense of time, effort and money. Doubtless it is all too much – but, by the end, nobody can complain that the candidates have been too little scrutinised. We have learnt a lot about Barack Obama and John McCain during this campaign. In our view, it is enough to be confident that Mr Obama is the right choice.

Alternatively, the paper might have been infiltrated by a radical socialist cell. How else are we to explain this?

We applaud his main domestic proposal: comprehensive health-care reform. This plan would achieve nearly universal insurance without the mandates of rival schemes: characteristically, it combines a far-sighted goal with moderation in the method.

The long list of conservatives who have publicly backed Obama should make it apparent that the "He's a Scary Radical/Muslim/Socialist Who Associates With Terrorists and Hates Real America" line is a delusion and can die the quiet death it deserves.

But that's unlikely.

It seems it is all the McCain-Palin team and their increasingly troglodytic fan base have left.

As Thers points out:

This class of stuff, you'll note, comes from people who argue that a 3% increase in the income tax rate for people making over $250K is "Marxism" and anyone who says otherwise is a Red. This is what makes the "Bill Ayers" stuff so bizarre. By Corner standards, Marxism starts at, well, Ben Bernanke. Stanley Kurtz thinks "conventional-seeming Democratic liberalism" IS "radical politics."

'The Corner', for those of you who don't lurk in that sector of the blogospheric gutter, is a group blog at the National Review.

Thers sums up:

The Corner is a porn site for the resentfully ill-educated.

And I couldn't agree more.

Indeed, it's fascinating to watch the extent to which the right-wing is taking on precisely those characteristics for which they have long condemned the left, such as whining about exclusion (see the harping on about the media's liberal bias) and retreating into identity politics (real-v.-fake-America, pro- v. anti-America, Joe the Plumber, etc., etc....).

And, yes, that's fun to watch.

Even Ann Althouse (and I am no fan of hers) recognises the absurdity of the paranoid claims about Obama's 'socialism'. Speaking of McCain's appearance on Meet the Press yesterday, she summarises:

Whenever he found the chance, he would stress that Barack Obama has a far-left ideology, and whenever he needed a different argument -- such as when Brokaw confronted him with his own statements in favor of making the rich pay more taxes -- he would resort to the argument that different times require different solutions. How can you use these two rhetorical strategies alternately? It's incoherent.

(Full transcript here, video here. Althouse has selected some of the relevant sections of the transcript in her post.)

Of course, if you're one of those people who believes that proposing that wealthy people pay a somewhat higher percentage of their income in taxes is enough to make you a 'socialist' or a 'Marxist', then perhaps you think that McCain, too, is a fellow traveller.

And, I am sure, there are such people, since I've met a few. I had a lengthy semester-long debate along these lines with a former student of mine way back in the mists of time when I taught British history in the US. It reached the point at which she, of a pronouncedly libertarian persuasion, asserted that both John Major and Winston Churchill were socialists.

I betcha didn't know that!

Yes, it was a trying semester. It was at about that point where the discussion ended, as no further communication is possible with people who live in alternate universes.

You know, maybe we should take a closer look at the sources of McCain's possibly radical views.

Such as his hero, Republican president Teddy Roosevelt.

As Timothy Noah notes, Roosevelt was often labelled a socialist, and he advocated progressive taxation as a way of addressing inequality:

Our aim is to recognize what Lincoln pointed out: The fact that there are some respects in which men are obviously not equal; but also to insist that there should be an equality of self-respect and of mutual respect, an equality of rights before the law, and at least an approximate equality in the conditions under which each man obtains the chance to show the stuff that is in him when compared to his fellows [italics Noah's].

It's probably fruitless to hope for a return to semi-sanity after the election, isn't it?


It occurs to me that anyone who continues to make the 'Obama is a dangerous radical/Marxist/Socialist' argument in the face of widespread support for him from moderates -- and even from conservatives -- has to therefore also be saying at least one of the following:

1) Large numbers of politically moderate or conservative people who are either in politics themselves or who closely observe politics have been duped by the liberal mainstream media into ignoring The Truth.


2) These moderates and conservatives are not really moderates and conservatives, but are actually quite radical people themselves and have just been pretending to be moderates and conservatives (perhaps a variation on the 'no true Scotsman' argument).

Given that either of these is fairly improbable they are more likely simply demonstrating something else: how radical their own points of view are and how disconnected they are from the mainstream America that they so loudly (and tiresomely) proclaim to be defending.

Which seems obvious, but I don't imagine that you'll find many of them admitting it.


The Wife said...

To quote the dumb media blondie who "interviewed" Biden the other day:

Dangerous Marxist wealth-spreader Obama will turn America into a socialist country ... like Sweden.

Exactly: Free saunas for everyone - especially in Alaska!

Which brings me to my Monday Rap:

Scandinavian sauna, Sarah,
So good
for your skin, Sarah,
So good
for your immune system,
and it keeps out the fruit flies, Sarah,
and other Muslims, Sarah,
and I betcha
will dig

Dig, baby, dig

wef said...

You were ahead of your time.