Posted by: coloradokiwi | March 8, 2009

Socialism, ho!

Obviously the constant caterwauling about “socialism” in the Obama budget is, to put it mildly, quite farcical.  By world standards, Obama’s plans to monkey around with taxes and universalize health care are fairly meager.  In terms of policies, Obama himself would probably fit in nicely in a center-right party throughout most of Europe and Australasia, although he seems to have the temperament of a world class liberal.  Socialism, this ain’t (gosh, if only).  

I do begin to wonder whether all the wingnut oogedy-boogedy will be yet another instance in which the right will paint itself into a corner.  We are already seeing the fruits of their earlier labors:  like the boy who cried wolf, the right wing pundits have lost all credibility in terms of little things like “principles” in their dogged fealty to the Bush administration.  Currently, figures like Hannity would have you believe that Obama is basically some kind of cross between Mao and the Swedes, whereby the entire economy will be nationalized, nanny-stateism will run amok, and everyone will be paying crushing taxes, thereby strangling free enterprise altogether and forcing us all to be servants to (man, this should be his theme song).

Hannity, et al clearly do not want Obama to succeed in bringing about his agenda.  However, something Hannity and his ilk seem not to really consider (or possibly this is what they fear most), is that they will succeed in labeling a successful Obama agenda as “socialist.”  If this agenda is a “socialist” one, and it works, aren’t people going to start saying, “Oh hey, more socialism, please”?  What the wingnuts have effectively done, then, is rob “socialism” of its power as something to be feared.

This may be related to other sectors:  if “free enterprise” got us into this banking mess and “nationalization” gets us out of it, and so on.  Not only does this completely alter the landscape of what sorts of policies are applicable to the American context, it also effectively makes the wingnuts barometers of a different sort:  if they object to it, it must be a good idea.

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