Sunday, March 1, 2009

‘Socialism!’ Boo, Hiss, Repeat

TALKS THE TALK Representative Mike Pence, Republican of Indiana, is one of the detractors of “socialism.”

Conservatives might be seeking a spiritual leader, organizing principle and fresh identity, but they at least seem to have settled on a favorite rhetorical ogre: socialism.

Rush Limbaugh seems to be their leader these days, and liberals could hardly be happier.

As in, Democrats are intent on forcing socialism on the “U.S.S.A” (as the bumper sticker says, under the words “Comrade Obama”).

Union of Soviet Socialist Americas? Perhaps they meant Union of American Socialist Republics? UASR?

It seems that “socialist” has supplanted “liberal” as the go-to slur among much of a conservative world confronting a one-two-three punch of bank bailouts, budget blowouts and stimulus bills. Right-leaning bloggers and talk radio hosts are wearing out the brickbat. “Earlier this week, we heard the world’s best salesman of socialism address the nation,” Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, said on Friday, referring, naturally, to a certain socialist in chief.

Socialism? These folks don't even know their history. Echoes of Herbert Hoover's credo of leave the system alone and it will right itself. What they want is for Ronald Reagan to come back and rescue them from the hell of oblivion.

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas decried the creation of “socialist republics” in the United States. “Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff,” Mr. Huckabee said, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference here over the weekend, a kind of Woodstock for young conservatives.

Another dolt. Stalin and Lenin and Obama in one breath? What an ass.

The contemporary era of socialist demonizing dates to the general election campaign between Mr. Obama and John McCain. Mr. McCain and his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, repeatedly accused Mr. Obama of wanting to “spread the wealth,” an offshoot of Mr. Obama’s caught-on-tape exchange with an Ohio plumber (i.e. “Joe the,” last seen signing copies of his new book at CPAC). “Socialism” became a star of subsequent McCain and Palin rallies in the same way that a dead bull is the star of a bullfight — an object of slings, spears and overall bloodlust.

A dead bull; apt metaphor.

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