Tuesday, March 17, 2009

'The Lady Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks'

by Smitty

Billy Wharton served a jolly steamer disclaimer in the Sunday Washington Post. He spends a few paragraphs being amazed at having wandered in obscurity these years, only to be a celebrity once the question was raised during the campaign last year: Is BHO a, you know, [whisper]Socialist? He then attempts to proffer objections to the label being applied to the POTUS:
The funny thing is, of course, that socialists know that Barack Obama is not one of us. Not only is he not a socialist, he may in fact not even be a liberal. Socialists understand him more as a hedge-fund Democrat -- one of a generation of neoliberal politicians firmly committed to free-market policies.
OK, I can buy "meat puppet of the plutocrats".

The first clear indication that Obama is not, in fact, a socialist, is the way his administration is avoiding structural changes to the financial system. Nationalization is simply not in the playbook of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and his team. They favor costly, temporary measures that can easily be dismantled should the economy stabilize. Socialists support nationalization and see it as a means of creating a banking system that acts like a highly regulated public utility. The banks would then cease to be sinkholes for public funds or financial versions of casinos and would become essential to reenergizing productive sectors of the economy.
So, you'd support more authority for the likes of Franks and Dodd? What could possibly go wrong?

The same holds true for health care. A national health insurance system as embodied in the single-payer health plan reintroduced in legislation this year by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), makes perfect sense to us. That bill would provide comprehensive coverage, offer a full range of choice of doctors and services and eliminate the primary cause of personal bankruptcy -- health-care bills. Obama's plan would do the opposite. By mandating that every person be insured, ObamaCare would give private health insurance companies license to systematically underinsure policyholders while cashing in on the moral currency of universal coverage. If Obama is a socialist, then on health care, he's doing a fairly good job of concealing it.
Yeah, because the Romney plan was such a big win for Mass., right? Your national health insurance system promises to be as smashing a success as Fannie and Freddie. If only it focused on smashing your utopian visions, sir.

Issues of war and peace further weaken the commander in chief's socialist credentials. Obama announced that all U.S. combat brigades will be removed from Iraq by August 2010, but he still intends to leave as many as 50,000 troops in Iraq and wishes to expand the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. A socialist foreign policy would call for the immediate removal of all troops. It would seek to follow the proposal made recently by an Afghan parliamentarian, which called for the United States to send 30,000 scholars or engineers instead of more fighting forces.
So you seem to imply that socialism has pacifistic overtones by definition. When did that change from the last century? National Socialist Workers Party, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics...

So, other than saying that BHO doesn't agree with you, Mr. Wharton, you don't say much. In fairness, this was a brief newspaper treatment where you're simply trying to establish a gap between some convenient definition of Socialism and the POTUS. I get that. You just keep those little pom-poms protesting vigorously, Lady.

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