Now that the ACORN drum beat has been muted by the arrest of Republican agents who were arrested in Ontario, California for allegedly engaging in voter fraud, the GOP attack machine has lept from the cliffs of its Joe the Plumber spin into the depths of calling Obama a Socialist.
Socialism, just for those born recently enough to have only heard of it in a history or political science classroom, is a political ideology that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned by the community as a whole.
An idea popularized by the only Marx not to appear in a movie, Karl, Socialism has come in many political styles, from Hugo Chavez' nationalization of key industries in Venezuela, to more extreme flavors of the Communist Party like Really Russian Red, Maoist Mint, Coconut Castro, and a North Korean fave, Kimchee Jung Il.
I have found, over time, that people will accuse others of the things that they themselves are guilty. A preacher who rails against sin and then is found in a hotel room doing crack with a male prostitute would seem to be in a pretty weak position to judge others.
This week, Senator McCain and his minions amped up their Joe the Plumber rhetoric to let loose a volley of accusations of "socialism" leveled at Barack Obama. They told their eagerly booing fans on the stump that Obama wants to "spread the wealth around," a gross distortion of his conversation with ol' Joe.
It may have just been me, but all of that rhetoric seemed to ring a bit hollow.
The Republican Bush Administration and the United States Congress have both engaged in the single biggest act of socialism in United States history, on an economic scale far bigger than the recovery plans of FDR between the Great Depression and World War II.
The bailout of Wall Street, which has now extended to include our government back-stopping money market funds, and buying stock in major banks to shore up their shattered credibility, is the very definition of socialist policy: The state owning the means of production and exchange.
Not that the bailout was not wholly necessary. The Republicans could have stuck to their free-market guns, and let banks fail, and let the chain reaction of calamity that followed that roll out, destroying decades of growth of American enterprises large and small. That would be to thine own capitalistic self, being true.
Bush could not apparently bring himself to let Joe the Plumber become Soup Line Joe or Hobo Joe. Both sides of the aisle, Democrat and Republican, factored that economically holding the heads of hundreds of thousands of people under water in a vast Depression seemed to be a bad thing in general, let alone a hard sell in an election year.
Still, the Republicans hold the White House, and enough of the Congress to strangle-hold policy, making the Grand Old Party the biggest socialist movement since Mao Tse Tung packed off philosophy professors to pick parsinps.
Senator Obama has not called them on this yet, and probably will not. We will all have to work together after this is over, and the challenges of turning the other, very bloody cheek after weeks of having it bludgeoned with the McCain-Palin team's kitchen sink, will be daunting enough.
You have to love, though, the irony of seeing McCain's minions calling Barack Obama a Socialist in one news segment then viewing a story about the Treasury Department spending several hundred million of your tax dollars to back-stop the broken engines of Capitalism.
People living in damaged economic theories should not be casting stones, Mr. McCain and Mrs. Palin.
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